A solution for school overcrowding

October 25, 2011

Your article "Baltimore Co. to act on school crowding" (Oct. 20) points out that we must deal with rising enrollments in the public schools. It seems the only solutions ever considered are to build more schools or to renovate or expand older ones — meaning we will be asked to fund more construction bonds and then raise more taxes to run the new schools.

Meanwhile, successful private and faith-based schools are closing or barely surviving with empty seats. Yet no one seems to have the imagination to realize that they offer an excellent answer to school overcrowding that could save taxpayers money and provide immediate relief.

Taxpayers are fated to fund the education of more and more of the students who now attend independent schools unless the economic model for educating children changes. Other states have found a variety of ways to expand parents' choices because governments have realized they can save money. So why not Maryland?

Developing a formula to help families afford to send their children to non-public schools could prove far less expensive than building new public schools over the long run. It would also save teachers' jobs, preserve the current diversity of school student bodies and ensure that our social fabric is woven from people educated in a variety of ways and from a variety of viewpoints.

Think that kind of diversity is not important? Look around the world — democracy may very well depend on it.

Charlton Hughes, Towson

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