One of the most frequent underlying lines of rhetoric is ‘What about the children?’, is the most often used to elicit fear of some sort, but also at least as frequently, we simultaneously refuse to address the things that do harm ‘our children.’ If we want to demonstrate to the young our true dedication to them we must make sure that the schools that so much of their lives and our collective governing lives revolve around are adequately resourced, staffed with devoted professionals, committed to the neighborhoods they serve and diverse enough to handle the challenges of our contemporary times.
We must make sure that educational quality is comparable across socio-economic classes so that inner city and rural students can get the same educations afforded to suburban pupils. We must free ourselves of the dogma that constrains both curriculum and the development of “magnet,” “school-in-school” and other alternative model public programs. We must make schools more than just a place where parents drop-off & pick-up their children but strive to find programs that will engage the parents and make them participants in their children’s’ education.
But schools can be more than these ‘educational’ things. They can become core to the development of a smart-grid that thrives on renewable energies. By using these existing structures and building new facilities under current technologies, we can fix old & inefficient buildings, fitting them with solar panels and batteries capable of sustaining schools during primary operating hours and able to feedback in during non-peak periods. Updating structures have already begun at school districts as sunny as California, as cold as New York and as similar to Kansas as is Colorado; all decreasing energy cost and making money back.
How important is an education in Kansas? Let’s look at the entire population of the State, which is right around 3 Million people. Just the 25 largest school district comprised roughly 286,039 students. That is nearly 10% of our entire population.
We can bring jobs to so many people and areas, to begin the process of bringing our grid up to a 21st-century level, to engage the community directly in the vitality of their schools. Better pay for teachers & staff; we must show our children true dedication from the adults in their lives to making a sustainable future for them something real and more than just a political talking point.
If our kids are as smart as we say they are, they can clearly see through the lies we espouse to justify our failures to finance and support such a vital institution to quality and well-being of our collective futures.