Education shouldn’t carry economy’s burden

Amber McKenna
Dominic Baez
Thinking back on your younger years of education probably brings memories of recesses, field trips, science experiments and outdoor camps. However, for children in elementary school today, field trips and other excursions may not be an option.
According to a recent article in USA Today, public schools across the nation are cutting outings as a result of dwindling education funds.
“A growing number of schools are eliminating excursions outside the classroom because of gas prices, insurance liability and admission fees, says Jan Harp Domene, president of the national PTA in Chicago,” USA Today reported.
The Review believes that field trips were some of the most valuable learning experiences of our youth. What you see and hear at museums, interpretation centers and historical buildings is an experience that cannot be recreated in the classroom.
According to the article, “In Worcester County, Md., school officials have debated pulling the plug on field trips next year. The trips are included in their budget now but might be removed if county officials slash it, says spokeswoman Barbara Witherow.
Cutting field trips would save $90,000, she says, but this means that science classes won’t visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore or that students reading Anne Frank won’t visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.”
Going on these excursions is crucial to children’s learning experiences. These are needed especially in the public school system where many of the students’ families may not be able to afford to take their children to these places with their own funds and time.
Similarly, the eSchool News, a monthly nation-wide newsletter that focuses on technology and education, reported last year that instituting a four-day week in school districts is becoming a trend.
According to the article, this practice has become popular among rural school districts “where buses
travel hundreds of miles for student pickups, drop offs, and sporting events.”
Perks to the four-day week include limiting the school week to Monday-Thursday and having no classes on Fridays when many students would normally have to miss class for school sports. Cutting down the week also saves on energy costs for schools and has recently become a popular practice in the business world. The article also detailed how to incorporate technology in ways where students could turn in assignments and do projects over the Internet during the weekday they don’t have school.
While the shorter school week and longer weekend does have its benefits, what about parents and guardians who work all week? Not only do they have to find extra childcare, but they also have to find extra money to pay for the childcare. It seems to the Review that, inevitably, this recession will affect all Americans in all aspects of life. However, we cannot let education suffer, especially primary education.
Elementary school is where children learn ways to gain the practical knowledge and concepts they will need as a foundation on which to build the rest of their education.
As clichéd as it sounds, the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Where will we be when there is a generation of leaders who do not have as comprehensive an education as those before and after them? Bottom line: We cannot let education suffer. There are sacrifices that must be made in hard economic times, but we cannot let education be one of them.