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Letter: Invest now or pay later for education
To the editor:
I’ve been working in health care for over 10 years. During the teachers dispute I can’t help but see similarities between how our society thinks about the spending of tax dollars in these two systems.
I strongly believe that the money will be spent on one end of the spectrum or the other. Either proactively or reactively.
Our western health care system is set up to fix, or react to problems once they occur. Billions of dollars are spent each year in Canada on hospital procedures and lengthy hospital stays for chronic health conditions that could have been avoided altogether if we had a system that invested in prevention.
I think the public needs to understand we are facing the same choice in education. The government can use our tax dollars to invest in quality education today by addressing the three main issues—class size, composition and teacher wages. Or we can continue to let the education system degrade and ultimately move toward a two-tiered education system. If that occurs, I am convinced in the future we will see an increase in spending in areas such as social programming (welfare, addictions programs, correction facilities, etc.). If we want to see this system in action, all we have to do is look at the U.S. It’s not working too well for them.
As a parent to two elementary children, I would rather see my tax dollars used in a ‘proactive’ way today, than in a ‘reactive’ way years down the road. I feel the same about health care.
In life, you get what you pay for, and it usually ends up costing more to fix something after the fact, than to do it right in the first place.
The right thing to do is not always the cheapest.
The money will be spent regardless. We, as a society, need to decide which end of the spectrum we want to invest our tax dollars.