When discussing “quality education” for K-12 students what is meant by that phrase? Does it refer to the type of quality education in which students are able to learn in a school that has a well-developed infrastructure? Or the type of quality education in which the students are able to participate in enriching after school activities to support their educational experience? These are some of the many questions that can be asked after reading the latest article published by ABC 7 News regarding possible program cuts in exchange for new schools in Prince George’s County, MD. In the article, the dilemma highlights how the education system within the U.S. is constantly in a fragile state when it comes to providing quality education within our public schools.
From finally having access to schools with good infrastructure (see 2019 article from Washington Post), to having exhausted and underpaid teachers, to the debate regarding accurate course curriculum (see the 2023 article from EdSource about critical race theory), students are constantly being subjected to a sub-par educational experience because the necessary resources for a productive and safe learning environment are not going to the right places within our education system. Additionally, due to a lack of clarity around “quality education”, especially for our public schools, the dilemma in defining this phrase is causing us as a society to gamble with the lives of our youth when it involves their education. By not being able to define “quality” as well as create a path that makes achieving this type of education possible for all students, the stakeholders suffering the most from the lack of clarity are teachers, parents, local community members, and more importantly the students.
As mentioned in the article, there is a possibility that programs may be cut for the next 30 years to pay for 8 more new schools; since the beginning of the public-private partnership (P3) in 2020, six schools have been built thus far. If Prince George’s County Education and Workforce Development Committee votes to move forward with schools using their operating budget for capital expenses, it is important that we remain vigilant on how committee members will provide alternative solutions to that will provide an enriching educational experience for students.