LETTER: A troubled future awaits if we don’t support public schools

To Ozaukee Press:

Over the past 40 years as a children’s author, I visited hundreds of classrooms, many of them in Wisconsin. This opportunity has given me a perspective I’d like to share.

Children are in trouble and teachers are saving them. There’s deeper poverty than you can imagine in our seemingly idyllic small Wisconsin cities and towns. Many children don’t have enough to eat. A significant number are homeless. They don’t have snow pants and boots. It’s teachers who save the day, pooling their own funds to provide these things for the children they teach.

Increasingly, children are noisy and disruptive, and it isn’t their fault. I witness the herculean effort children make to sit quietly when they have a guest author (a pretty big deal for them), but their bodies seem beyond their control. My audience of pre-K to fifth graders is filled with shouts and claps and whirring activity, even flung shoes and eyeglasses. Why? I wonder, since there are so many more of these highly active children than ever before, whether it’s something in our environment. Food additives or pesticides?

Teachers tell me it’s also poor nutrition and an absence of outdoor play. It isn’t uncommon for parents to pack a three-cupcake lunch, even highly educated parents. And children’s small bodies demand freestyle physical activity. Children who aren’t given time to roughhouse outside will do so in the classroom.

It’s teachers who save the day. With patient love and firmness, they remind students to focus, calming them, holding them, working with them until they are able to control their sugar-high, overstimulated brains and chaotic bodies.

Teachers are our highest heroes and I stand in their shadow. They are our frontline defense against a generation of unemployed, addicted adults, and we owe them a debt of gratitude. But we owe more than that. We owe generous funding of public education and teacher salaries, and we owe voting for those representatives who will approve these necessities. We owe this, if not for the sake of teachers and students, then for our own sake.

We can remove our children from an underfunded public school and place them in a private school, one that doesn’t have to accept children with behavior problems. But we cannot insulate then from a country filled with chaos. Public school-educated children are our future. Let’s do it right.

Barbara Joosse
Port Washington


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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