Norwalk is a diverse city on many levels, and faces the challenges any city faces when dealing with fluid financial commitments. We all believe that practical, informed decision-making is paramount when adhering to these commitments. That said, time and again, study after study have proven one thing consistently and emphatically: Robust investment in public education is one of single best sources of ROI a local government can make.
Dana Mitra, Ph.D (Penn State), in a leading study of state public education funding, writes:
“Investment in public education is a worthy investment for state government, with immense social and economic benefits. Research shows that individuals who graduate and have access to quality education throughout primary and secondary school are more likely to find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes, less likely to place high demands on the public health care system, and less likely to be enrolled in welfare assistance programs. A good education provides substantial benefits to individuals and, as individual benefits are aggregated throughout a community, creates broad social and economic benefits. Investing in public education is thus far more cost-effective for the state than paying for the social and economic consequences of under-funded, low quality schools.”
Norwalk should be Exhibit A. The challenges are real, without a doubt, but the challenges resulting from shortchanging our financial commitments to education funding will, with zero doubt, lead to far greater financial and social struggles our city will spend another generation trying to make up for.
Property values also rise directly with investment and improvement in local education. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (via Public School Review in a Connecticut study):
“There is a definite correlation between school expenditures and home values in any given neighborhood. A report titled, ‘Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending,’ found that for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20. These findings indicate that additional school expenditures may benefit everyone in the community, whether or not those residents actually have children in the local public school system.”
The moment is now. If you agree, please sign our petition and tell Norwalk city leaders that:
We remain on the precipice of exciting developments in Norwalk and we, recognize the opportunities that Norwalk presents. We also recognize its challenges. This is not political. When focusing on our kids, we are all united on the merits of smart spending. Democrat, Republican, or Independent: We want to live here. We want to work here. A full, robust commitment to its education system keeps us here.
Please amply fund our city’s education commitments to a level that wholly prepares our city and our kids for success now and in the future.
Justin Matley and Sarah McIntee