In your Aug. 27 editorial “ Back to school,” I was struck that a Wake County elementary teacher’s request for a new pencil sharpener could be denied for lack of money. The debate over school and teacher funding has caused great criticism of our political system, but a school’s inability to conjure up such a humble sum should encourage greater scrutiny. While many of our state’s public schools are destitute, other public institutions, one example being college athletic departments, are shamefully overfunded.
As a Division I student-athlete at a major institution, I was constantly amazed how much money was spent on all, but especially nonrevenue, sports. Gear, massages and even MRIs are doled out without a second thought about the price. Millions of dollars each year are spent on a tiny percentage of the state’s enrolled students and for what? This money does little to benefit the average student. Granted, the majority of this spending power comes from private donors. But if the same boosters that sustain nonrevenue college sports gave even a fraction of their donations to the public K-12 school system, we would never have to think twice about replacing pencil sharpeners. In 21st century America, we shouldn’t have to.