The recent article in Mountain Xpress about pre-K schooling in Polk County highlighted an important piece of our educational system that needs to be reenvisioned [“‘Pre-K Is Absolutely Crucial for Student Success,’” from EdNC, Nov. 21]. There is also a Head Start program in Asheville. In Head Start programs, initiated in the 1960s, childhood education has shown us some of the possible benefits of early childhood education for young children.
It’s time to move forward. Preschool as part of our educational system is not just an add-on that schools have to search for funding to establish, but a bedrock program for preparing children for a healthy education and emotional life.
This includes coordinating social services, support and cooperation of our business and political leaders, pastors, spiritual leaders and all citizens in whatever capacity your lifestyle allows. We are all connected, and participating in our local communities can return us to a mature United States.
We have a huge challenge ahead of us. Today’s decisions impact future generations. For example, the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 triggered an ongoing war that cost the United States’ taxpayers billions and billions of dollars that could have been used to help out people who are struggling to care for their families and live a decent life. Change takes time, and to change our school system, we need a “culture of caring” for each other. “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Children are the future. Education is a major key. What does it take to increase the creativity, confidence and wonder to grow in our children’s development all through their schooling years? Why do we raise our children in a world system that focuses on achievement and celebrates economic wealth rather than kindness, truth, goodness and the common good? Improving the education of our children means educating all citizens starting at the local level.
Our present system stifles and trivializes much of what passes for education. Creativity is important, not test scores, because it speaks to our children’s inner self. In place of curiosity, we have a culture of compliance rather than the power of imagination, critical thinking and the freedom to create.
A typical student in American schools takes 112 mandated tests between prekindergarten and 12th grade, while most countries that outperform our students test only three times during the student’s career [“Study Says Standardized Testing Is Overwhelming Nation’s Public Schools,” The Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2015].
It is our responsibility to teach our children that the Earth is a jewel in the universe. We live in a place rich with life and potential possibilities that require us to recognize how far-reaching the consequences of today’s decisions affect our children’s future.
A local educator suggests that, in focusing on academics, we “miss a hugely important opportunity that could help in the emotional growth, not only of the individual child but also of our collective community.”
All of us can support parents, teachers and those working for peace, justice, respect and kindness as we make decisions for the future of our children and our nation.
All of us affect eternity. We can never tell where our influence stops. It is a civic duty and a sacred duty to work together to create a truly United States of America.
— Ed Sacco