Friday Tidings
6/30/16 at 10:11 AM 0 Comments

Today’s Classrooms Hold Our Future

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Possibly the most critical issue in this election is our children’s schools. Today's children are inheriting trillions in debt, the least we can do is equip them with the smarts to deal with it.

I’ve run out of words. It’s not exactly writer’s block. It’s more like writer’s fatigue. April through June is my grant-writing season. Think of it like begging, but with convincing paragraphs.

Goal: get money for school kids.

I love our rural school. You couldn’t ask for a more pristine setting, or for dedicated teachers with small class sizes. Kindergartners through twelve grade all on one campus—most kids say it’s like a family. But we’re a relatively poor family.

In grant writer’s lingo we’re called “underserved”. That’s a gracious way of saying we have our fair share of poverty and not enough resources to help alleviate some of its consequences.

Grant funding can bring a bit of nifty technology to classrooms, provide rural kids with the chance see the big city theater and science center, or even buy them boots and a coat for winter.

Besides summer heat, July brings polite grant rejection letters. Foundations receive hundreds of worthy grant applications, but a limited amount of money is available.

Which brings me to my point. Why can’t schools have enough money to provide kids, especially “underserved” ones, with the learning resources they need?

Rural kids, like inner city kids, deal with aging school buildings and textbooks, and they learn technology on aging computers.

Taxpayers already pay a whole lot for our schools—this isn’t about asking for more, but during this election, it’s time to discuss school funding. And what we’re getting for our money.

I may be weary of grant writing, but it comes nowhere close to the weariness parents must feel at the end of a long working day and they’re being asked to volunteer at school with hours they simply don’t have.

Or for those students spending weekends selling pizzas and washing cars just so they can participate in a school event.

Or for all the teachers grading papers late into the night, only to bear the brunt of students that fail to meet continually changing academic standards.

Or for tax payers who only read about dismal student test scores and the need for more money.

Oh, grant writing is easy in comparison—and I even get the pleasure of having enough projects getting funded that it makes it all worthwhile.

I just hope that when we think of our schools, we really do understand that the kids inside them will be making our future.

And we will have no one to blame if we haven’t equipped them for that future.

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