Your paper is saturated with multiple sources encouraging spending millions of dollars on upgrading schools. Take a step back with me. It is 1940 and the German army rolls into our Western European country and occupies until they’re thrown out in 1945 by American and Canadian troops.

I was 6 years old in 1945 and ready for first grade. Nice school building. Gym, labs, sport fields – all were included. The Germans loved it so much that they quartered their troops there. I did not set a foot in the building until I was ready for high school. I got educated in basements, private homes or wherever we could assemble. No facilities. No tools.

I learned to speak three languages. After I immigrated to the USA (legally), I found out I was well ahead in math and science, to the extent that I got advanced standing in many areas and, in record time, got a bachelor of science degree and master of business administration from major universities. For 30 years thereafter, I ran a company employing 200-plus people.

How was it possible that my teachers were able to provide me with a first-class education without shiny new buildings and unlimited tools? Do we really think that these buildings will raise the rankings of our students from the mediocre section compared to many other countries? Is it not time to rethink the entire union-based approach and the administrative superstructures?

Spending money is not the solution. To further document the subject of immigration: I have three children, all born in the USA. One is a physician. The second graduated from Yale and has an advanced degree from Columbia. The third graduated from Stanford University and has an advanced degree from Tufts.

I have one final message for students: They often refer to Nazis. I lived under Nazi occupation. By using those references, they only demonstrate how ignorant they are.

Henk A. Pols

Cape Elizabeth

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