By John Fedele
Is $110,700,000 to upgrade facilities, construct shelters and provide facilities for all day kindergarten. and anything else that may arise (called appurtenances). I read Tom Wilber’s Journal letter and was impressed. It is a typical “make you feel good” letter or make you “feel guilty letter.” It is a tactic used by supporters of anything to get your vote. (that is not to say those opposed will not use a similar tactic. This opinion may be considered as such to those who will disagree.
If the money was going to be used to improve safety and provide all day kindergarten that would be okay, but, as was the case with the last bond issue, it will end badly. The construction and repairs from the last bond issue did not solve the problems. It created some, with the loss of neighborhood schools, (resulting in more school bus traffic or parents driving their kids to school) and the discovery that the new facilities were not doing the job. One can only conclude that, back then, we rushed to judgement in order to satisfy the desires of those in charge at the time. A case of good intentions, providing poor results.
Agreed, the cost to those of us who own houses will be about $54 more a year in property taxes. That really means the majority of us without children going to school will pay for those who do not own homes but have children in school. It also means we will be paying for an all day Child Care facility( Kindergarten). That will be good for working mothers. Think of the money they will save.
This bond issue will also be good for the employment rate since more teachers will be required for the all day kindergarten. That means more property taxes to cover their wages and benefits. That $54 will grow every year for the next twenty years or so.
Lets do a Sim City project. First we get rid of the Federal Government’s involvement in education. Let’s be honest, the mandates, programs and initiatives they have come up with over the past three decades have not done much to increase learning. Let’s focus on what America needs in the form of educated people. We need doctors, lawyers(some, not all) medical staff, police, firemen, mechanics, (all types), teachers, bankers, bakers, butchers…well, you fill in the rest. The point is we need to construct an educational program that suits the needs of those workers. That means we have to provide learning facilities that will prepare the student for those jobs. K through 12 to prepare them for day to day living and prepare those who will need college education and to prepare those who will be doing jobs not requiring a college degree but a vocational one. That means we need more vo-tech high schools. More importantly, we have to provide a curriculum that is required for those jobs. We need to get businesses and companies involved in the curriculum and to provide intern positions during high school and vo tech and college years. They also need to provide funding since the majority of those students will end up working for them.
Maybe this is just a pipe dream. An educational system that supports the economy and provides opportunities to all students. But consider the following two paragraphs:Horace Mann, as secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, determined that the educational system in that state was deplorable. He personally visited every school in the state and found unsuitable buildings, unsuitable conditions, unsuitable books….well, you get the picture. He presented his findings to the state and encouraged them to standardize all buildings, curriculum and books. He called for a school for all, a “common school”, free of charged and funded by tax dollars. He got his way and public education was born.
The chaos in the public school system was at its peak during the immigration years, especially in the bigger cities on the East Coast.were overcrowded and the majority of the students did not understand or speak English. These conditions may have had an influence on John Dewey, who believed students should not be in the classroom 8 hours a day. he believed it was the responsibility of the school system to develop the student as a person. He advocated learning by doing, taking field trips, and centering the teaching on the child not the teacher. At a time when so many people of different ethnic backgrounds and talents were coming to America, there seemed to be some logic in his thinking. Many children learned a skill rather than the three R’s.
There is some similarities today. We need a Horace Mann and John Dewey type to rethink education.
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