By ED FINKELSTEIN
If you want your child to get the kind of education that can lead to a good job out of high school or a future career as a college graduate, the quality of education in public schools in the state matters a lot.
Research shows the overall quality of public school systems at the grade school and secondary levels – and thus the quality of the education our children get – suffers badly in so-called “right-to-work” states. Is that the albatross you want to hang around your child’s neck?
• RTW – Seventeen of 25 states (68 percent) with the worst school systems are in RTW states.
• WITHOUT RTW – Only eight of the 25 worst states (32 percent) are without a RTW law.
• WITHOUT RTW – 15 of the 25 best states (60 percent) that have NO RTW law are considered to be the “best” states for primary and secondary education, giving kids the best shot at their future.
• RTW – Only 10 of the 25 best states (40 percent) are RTW states.
This sad outcome correlates with a previous story in this Labor Tribune series (#2: Education of our children takes a big hit in RTW states, April 19) where 23 of the worst 30 of all states (77 percent) have per pupil spending BELOW the national state average. Only seven of the worst states (23 percent) have a RTW law.
OUR CHILDREN SUFFER
When you realize that workers in RTW states earn $8,740 LESS than workers in non-RTW states, it’s clear why there is less money for education and why our children suffer in states where a so-called “right-to-work” law is on the books.
According to the report by financial website WalletHub: “… researchers have found that more resources — or taxes paid by residents — typically result in better school-system performance.”
Voters will have the chance August 7 to Vote NO on Prop A to ensure Missouri does NOT become a RTW state and make educational outcomes worse than they already are.
See previous stories in this series:
Missouri’s children are already suffering, and RTW will make things worse.
Missouri is already 20th in educational outcomes in the WORST state category. Given what’s happening in our state legislature, cutting taxes for the wealthy and cutting state education funding for all schools because fewer tax dollars are available, we can anticipate our ranking will only drop further under RTW. That’s condemning many of our children to a sad future!
“Unfortunately, most parents don’t have the luxury of placing their children in exclusive, private or preparatory schools,” WalletHub notes. “For the majority of U.S. families, public education is the only option.”
MAKING THE DETERMINATION
To determine the best and worst states for public-school education, analysts at WalletHub compared the 50 states across two key dimensions: “Quality” and “Safety” as applied to 21 relevant metrics:
• QUALITY: Presence of public schools in “U.S. News & World Reports’ Top 700 Best U.S. Schools; High school graduation rate among low-income students; math test scores; reading test scores; median SAT and ACT scores; share of high school graduates completing ACT and/or SAT; division of SAT and ACT results by percentile; pupil-teacher ratio; and share of licensed/certified public K–12 teachers.
• Safety: Share of threatened/injured high school students; share of high school students not attending school due to safety concerns; share of high school students with access to illegal drugs; share of high school students participating in violence; share of armed high school students; bullying and disciplinary incidence rates; and youth incarceration rate (measured per 100,000 population aged 20 and younger).
The WalletHub report emphasizes that a “ …child’s academic success begins with choosing the right schools.”
TWO STEPS TO MAKE MISSOURI BETTER
• STEP 1: We can Vote NO on Prop A on Aug.7, reject the phony RTW, and thus take the first step to ensuring Missouri schools don’t get any worse.
• STEP 2: Bring balance between the two parties in the Missouri Legislature in the Nov. 6 election. One party rule stifles debate and is taking our state further down the proverbial “rat hole.”
This has to stop, for the good of the state and our children. Elections have consequences. Vote NO on Prop A on August 7.