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February 26th, 2009 7:46 AM by David W. Welch
At some point our state legislators have to decide if education is a priority or not. Let's face it, school children do not vote, so we need someone to step up and be their voice in Tallahassee. Florida has consistently ranked as one of the lower states for educational achievement and education spending. I don't believe that throwing money at a problem is a way to fix it, but I do believe if you need to put your money where your mouth is. Everyone says that education is a priority, but we do not consistently see that in our state's budget. The bible says in Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I understand that government has to represent everyone and all interests, but the way I see it the public school system does exactly that. It may take a long term view of things, but that is exactly what government should do. Our children are going to be tomorrow's leaders, so why wouldn't we want them to be well educated. They are going to taking care of us someday. Our public schools cut across all socio-economic backgrounds they have been given not only the responsibility to educate, but to help raise some children. There are students who may not get a hot meal if it is not for their school. Students represent every facet of our culture, and our schools have to be prepared for every wrinkle in the fabric of our society. It is a daunting task. Let's at least make sure they are prepared and supported financially.
I don't ask you to do this without accountability or without expectations of results. For all it's shortcomings, the Orange County Public School system has made great strides in the last several years to achieve "A" status in the eyes of the state. The fact that it is the 11th largest school system in the country and serves about as diverse a population as any, makes that an even greater achievement. I still do not accept that any of our schools should receive below average and failing grades. Those are challenges I hope we will work together as a community to overcome. Not funding the districts financial needs will make those challenges even more difficult. Please do not make that any more difficult than it already is. Please do not shortchange our students. Please make education a priority, because everyone's future depends on it.
David Welch, Real Estate Optimist