By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Grand Island Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Graham sounded a cautionary alarm in reaction to President-elect Donald J. Trump's recent choice for secretary of education.
At Monday's Board of Education meeting in the Professional Development Room of Grand Island High School, Graham asked Island supporters of public education to do their homework on voucher systems to support education funding.
"I think this is important for all of us who support public education in the United States," Graham said before he noted Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education.
"Betsy DeVos seems to have a track record of supporting the shift of public education funding to a voucher system that would support private education tuition," Graham said.
Graham stressed it's important "for all of us who are passionate about public education to learn, to read and understand the research that exists, or does not exist, when we have important people in the country supporting the idea of shifting public education dollars to provide vouchers for private, for-profit tuition."
"I really think that we need to take a moment, pause, and read and make sure we're educated on the research," Graham said. "I'm going to tell you at this time I cannot find research, scientific research, that says a voucher program will be successful or meet the goals. So I do encourage you all to read, to reflect and think about public education, the value and support that it provides our community, and to really consider what this is going to look like if those dollars are shifted to private tuition, because I can guarantee you that in public education we will service all children. We will service all children. But that is not necessarily true with private, for-profit tuition."
Graham asked the public to pay attention to see how this may actually impact the school budget and public education budgets "for years to come."