School choice rally 2017

Students, teachers and parents attend the school choice rally on Jan. 26 on the west side of the Capitol.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

I have always appreciated the role of public education in my life. I can recall with great detail several teachers at Southeast High School who made a lifelong impact. My appreciation of them and Lincoln Public Schools remains to this day.

What seems to have changed, however, is LPS’s somewhat vicious resistance to anything that might diminish its budget or control, even when there is sound reason to think our children would benefit. LB295 in aggregate offers a relatively small economic benefit to donors to help expand a truer version of school choice for parents and their children.

Consider that parents of students attending schools outside their home district have made large donations to public schools for many years. These very real donations actually pay the taxes to support public education while LPS is spared the expense of educating these students.

Every year, many thousands of Nebraska students attend nonpublic schools that save the public school system millions of dollars. This benefit to public schools, which has been in place for many years, would dwarf any lost revenue from LB 295.

The Journal Star recently published ACT test scores that show private schools have provided excellent, even enviable educations for their students. Therefore, private schools have provided both high quality education and directly saved the public school system millions of dollars.

Nebraskans should ask who actually benefits from keeping things the same? How many public school superintendents, administrators and others make more than $100,000 under the current system?

It’s time for LPS to set aside the politics, work cooperatively with private schools and give up their monopolistic attitude of education.

Above all else, public and private schools both offer great advantages for students and even greater if they would cooperate. The state of Nebraska, parents and, most importantly, kids benefit.

Deryl Travis Jr., Lincoln

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