Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19, 2008—The Future is Our Children


Consider This for May 19, 2008—The Future is Our Children

I walk to my school here in Ecuador around 7:30 am each morning. That is about the same time that the entire population of Cuenca under the age of twelve is walking to school also. I come home from school for lunch at about noon exactly the same time that the same groups of school children are leaving to walk home for lunch too. It is so bad at times that I will actually change my route to avoid the crowds.

Families and children in Ecuador take education seriously and are very supportive of the system as it exists in Cuenca.

I sometimes laugh when I hear people complain about having to pay for our wonderful free public education system in the United States. People look at their tax bill and start to question the part about schools. They just don’t get it. Maybe in their case our wonderful free public education system didn’t work. They did not learn even the most basic things when they were in school.

It has nothing to do with charter schools or religious schools or private schools. It has to do with what our forefathers decided to do a long time ago to ensure that this great nation would continue to be great.

About 70% of our education bill in Summit County is paid by second home owners who do not have now or ever will have any children in our schools. They are in effect subsidizing our educational system without realizing any direct or personal benefit.

Let’s hear it for the second home owners.

I also hear from retired persons who complain about having to fund public education while, even though they live in the county, they do not have any children or grandchildren in the schools. They will tell me that is a waste of their money.

The other group that really hacks me off is the people who put their children in a religious or private school and then feel they should get their school tax money back because they do not use the system. That is the nexus of the voucher system that I fought against at the capitol for three years. If people want to not use the public schools then that is fine but not to the detriment of the children whose parents cannot afford a private education.

People with a good education will someday be able to come up with solutions to global warming and for all those poor souls stuck on I 70 in what has to be the worst transportation system in the world.

The skeleton of any sustainable community is the infrastructure. Just look at the way roads are built and maintained today and compare that with the way they were built and maintained in the 1950’s. Little or nothing has changed.

I am also reminded of a couple of old friends who aspire to a more radical approach. One would tell you that if you don’t fix the road then no one will speed and lives will be saved. I should make up a name for this approach and then write a book about the unintended consequences of that solution.

Another friend would say just stop building roads altogether. If we did that then people would stop coming to the mountains and all of the problems of transportation would be solved. No people equals no cars.

Of course there is the idea that I proposed several years ago when people were complaining about campground fees. I told several people and actually wrote about the future being very large parking lots on I 70 where you could park your car and then look into the National Forest. Yes, look into the forest and never set foot into the forest. We would have perfect forest management where you just let the forest just sit there unused.

Of course all three ideas are unworkable and the only true solution is to train up some bright minds in our schools to solve the problems today for future generations. When you truly think about the alternatives you will realize that we must continue to fund education at the highest level possible.

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