In many cases, school funding can make or break the educations of the attending students. All over the country, schools require funds to build new school buildings, acquire technology and classroom supplies, help the teachers and students succeed in the classroom, and more. In other words, school funds are vital! Recently, the Trump administration has decided to use the $3.6 billion that was previously dedicated to various military construction projects to fund the border wall. One of these projects included forming a new middle school for the military families living on the Fort Campbell base in Kentucky.
The Loss of Funding
Fort Campbell was originally set to receive $62 million from the federal government to redevelop the old high school into a new middle school for students in grades 6-8. Without this money, the current Fort Campbell Middle School is experiencing overcrowding. (Overcrowding in school classrooms can negatively affect the teachers, students, and the entire school system.) Though this particular project has become the focal point of the relocation of government funding, other projects, including military shooting ranges, missile launch pads, and hangars, have also lost their funds.
The decision to take back the Fort Campbell funding has come as a shock and an extreme disappointment to many members of the community and several government officials. Senator Marsha Blackburn says, “Securing the Border and supporting military families should not be mutually exclusive.” In her perspective, building the border wall (to stop illegal immigrants from entering the United States from Mexico) should not be promoted at the expense of military families, and others, like Congress Representatives Jim Cooper and Mark Green, are inclined to agree. In Cooper’s view, “Our troops and their families deserve better…President Trump should not be hurting the troops with young children at Fort Campbell this way.” Unfortunately, this money is being diverted, and many Congressmen are promising to fight to get the school funding in 2020.
Military personnel sacrifice their personal lives and time with their families in order to protect our country. They deserve the ultimate respect, and I can’t believe the education of military kids living at Fort Campbell is considered less of a priority than the border wall. However, the lack of funding at this base is a smaller piece of a bigger puzzle. Everywhere, schools are being denied the money they so desperately need. How can we expect students to prosper when they aren’t always given the tools to succeed?
In my experience, it’s hard for students and teachers to be motivated to get work done in a lousy school setting. When I attended my first year of middle school, my town finally received the funding they had been pushing for to build a new one, but I had to spend the year at this building before we could move. Some days, in the winter, we would need to go down to the cafeteria, bundled in our winter coats and gloves, because our classrooms were too cold to work. We would skip our lessons and assessments for the day and warm ourselves up by doing other activities. In the spring, we would dodge the buckets in our classrooms and halls that were collecting water from the leaks in the ceiling, and in an everyday school setting, we would have to be careful to not push too hard on the makeshift walls that separated our class from another. Let’s just say it wasn’t a great experience, and that was only due to the age of the school. Overcrowding and no funds to obtain materials (technology, supplies, etc.) is a whole different story.
This post was written by one of U4SC’s Educators 4SC Research Assistants, Samantha.[Image Attribute: Bart Everson]