Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vote For Our Future

I live in a small town. The main business of the town is education, whether it is the education of small people or relatively larger, college-aged people. Education: its Latin root means to draw out from within, or to lead forth. Given that so many of us here a) are in the process of being educated; b) have children who are in the process of being educated; c) have returned as retirees to a place where we or our loved ones were once educated; and/or d) work in the field of educating others, we ought to be especially sensitive to the laudable goal of 'leading forth' our community's children. At a time when society's burdens and challenges are acute (global warming; overpopulation; drug-resistant bacteria, among others), it would seem especially important for us to raise creative thinkers who will meet these burdens and challenges with aplomb.

In order to do that, we must have learning environments that facilitate, not hinder, a twenty-first century education. We need spaces that encourage collaboration and "out of the box" problem-solving, interdisciplinary instruction, and technological innovation. At present we have a high school that enables none of these things. The high school is far outdated. Its condition has so deteriorated that students must prepare for extreme heat in a classroom, extreme cold, and/or the possibility - very real, sadly - of flooding. Classrooms are small, isolated, and not technologically 'smart.' High schoolers must walk back and forth across a busy street multiple times in one day to attend their classes, some of which are in one building, the rest in another. What a waste of precious learning time!

On May 20th the referendum to build a new high school will come up for a vote. I honestly can't see why anyone would vote against this referendum. One visit to the aging high school should convince even stalwart opponents of the dire need for action. I have listened to naysayers' complaints: these are predominantly about increased property taxes to finance the construction of a new high school. I wish I could help such people see bigger, broader, further, help them see the need for a new high school not as a choice but as a moral imperative. It is not about the adults among us, or it shouldn't be. It is about the legacy we leave our children, our friends' children, our grandchilden, our friends' grandchildren.

For it is these children who shall inherit the earth.

Vote yes on May 20th. Vote for our future.

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