School systems can't be divorced from politics

December 11, 1997

YOUR DEC. 1 editorial "Keep schools out of election campaigns" states that education has replaced taxes as the ''political issue uppermost on voters minds" and that ''there is a huge risk in politicizing education."

Apart from the fact that these statements seem contradictory, I find it hard to believe that you really don't think education is already highly politicized.

Absorbing half or more of most local subdivision budgets, it seems to me that education has always been a highly political subject precisely because it is run by government and affects so many people -- all of whom have an opinion about it.

How would such a statewide standard be any less intrusive in local matters than the Maryland State Performance Assessment Program, which has affected every school, teacher, student and curriculum in the state's public schools? . . .

The most disturbing point in your editorial is the suggestion that public education should operate in a pristine world of its own, untarnished by political influence.

I'm not sure that's an ideal we should aspire to because it denies the basic principal of ''no taxation without representation.'' When a large proportion of local taxes are used to support the public education system, shouldn't the taxpayers have something to say about it?

John Schiavone


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