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[Susan notes: It's always nice to see a few facts rebutting teacher bashing at the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. ]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

Re: The Top 10 Liberal Superstitions, op-ed, Oct. 31)

Spending on education today can't be equitably compared with spending in 1970, since we are now funding massive programs that didn't exist 45 years ago.

Spending cuts in public education hurt children, families and eventually the economy. Cuts cause shortages of school nurses, libraries, fine arts and P.E., amenities taken for granted in private schools. They result in larger class sizes. At the same time states have slashed education funding ($5.4 billion in Texas in 2011), the number of students continues to increase, especially children who are low income and English-language learners. Educators aren't making excuses when they point out that these children are more difficult to teach. Poor children suffer more toxic stress and move frequently. They have fewer books in the home (Beverley Hills's average of 199 versus 0.4 in nearby Watts) and need more support from wraparound services. Slovakia is held up as an example for spending less on education, but 25% of U.S. children live in poverty compared with only 13% in Slovakia. In Texas over 60% of all public school children qualify for free or reduced lunch.

I respect Republicans for fiscal conservatism, but cutting public-education funding isn't an investment in the future and doesn̢۪t "conserve" the tradition of our public schools.

Sara Stevenson

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