Malnutrition happens to children when they do not get enough calories and/or nutrients.
Under normal circumstances, an adult would not purposely withhold food from a child to the point of malnutrition. Yet, when it comes to education, withholding academic nutrition from our children seems to be acceptable.
The 82nd Texas Legislature, with approval from the Governor, is prepared to cut education spending by billions of dollars – withholding academic nutrition. Lost in the debate is that cuts to education need not be an option if the Texas Legislature had fully funded – as it promised through margins tax raises – its 2006 property tax cut plan.
State Senator Steve Ogden (R) was noted in a quote in a Longview News-Journal opinion piece as “chiding the Legislature for not dealing with the ‘structural deficit:’ the margins tax raises far less money than the property-tax cuts that were passed at the same time, costing the state billions of dollars.”
So, now instead of fulfilling a promise, the legislative plan is to withhold academic nutrition from our children.
In dietary malnutrition, one symptom out of many possible symptoms is stunted physical growth. Imagine a child who faced malnutrition his whole school life. How would his life have been different if he had just had the basic nutrition? It is impossible to look back and know for certain what would have been for this person. We do know that dietary malnutrition has an impact – a negative impact.
Now let’s do the same for education malnutrition. Imagine a child who faced education malnutrition her entire school life. How would her life have been different if she had the basic academic nutrition? Like above, we don’t know. We don’t know because it is impossible to look back and determine what would have been for this person. We do know that education malnutrition has an impact – a negative impact.
Why allow a generation of children to move through an academic system that is educationally malnourishing? We wouldn’t underserve children at the dinner table, so why is it acceptable to do so in the classroom?