The other day, I was watching television and I saw a commercial for a certain credit card company that showed a teacher shopping for their own school supplies. I was reminded how bad our education system currently is — bad enough that it supplies teachers with a certain budget for the year but when that budget is exhausted, as it often quickly is, they have to pony up if they want to give their students crayons or colored paper or project supplies — regardless of how important those supplies may be for their education. I couldn’t imagine a bank teller being told by their employer that they could only have a certain number of pens at their station, and that they would have to pay for any others if they needed them.

In New York State alone, schools are struggling to get by as their budgets get cut time and time again — is it any wonder our children get such poor education and does so poorly compared to other countries in such critical subjects as math, reading, and science?

I was then inspired by something I saw that is apparently happening now in France, where school budgets are also being cut. Specifically, the teachers are striking. They will not accept their numbers being cut and being forced to accommodate more and more students while simultaneously being expected to give the same level of quality education to each student.

It’s simply absurd. The very reason why my parents pulled me out of Princeton High School in 1993 and sent me to The Peddie School for my sophomore through senior years in high school was because they realized that when a teacher has a class size of twelve, he or she will necessarily teach more effectively than one who has a class size of forty, with people standing up in the back because there are not enough chairs to accommodate them.

I noticed that when I was at Rutgers, I always learned more from my group study sessions — only a few of us in a group — than I had done in the classroom that day. Again — fewer people, more focused learning.

Teachers in the United States cannot accept the harsh budget cuts and, if necessary, should strike — it is not only they that are suffering but the students as well. That is simply unacceptable in the twenty-first century.