The future of Pocahontas County was once again put in question when the school levy was soundly defeated during the November 8, 2016 election. Despite many public meetings, Pocahontas County residents didn’t understand the importance of this levy and didn’t care about the implications of failure. Put into question because our school system and its product, our children, are far behind the average schools across the country. Put into question because nothing will bring business to Pocahontas County until we have a working school system. Nothing can improve our economy and make the County a thriving community without a working school system. Nothing will show our children the importance of work ethic, give people a hope for the future and allow us to feel good about ourselves without a working school system.
The levy wasn’t a cure all to our school system’s problems but it was a step in the right direction. Teachers, administrators, staff and students all know how bad our schools are and it’s difficult to develop a great teaching and learning environment when your schools are falling down around you. As a County we have little respect for education and don’t really see it as the cornerstone of our future. Times have changed. Education is no longer something that’s good to have, it’s something that is required to survive in our society, our Country and our world.
Our educational system is failing. We’re not educating our children in math and science, and we’ve completely ignored history and the lessons we’ve learned over the almost 241 years as a country. When my great-grandparents came to this country they saw a chance to be successful, to live the American dream. My grandparents, and to a certain extent my parents, also lived that dream. We weren’t well off but we had the pride of being part of this great country and knowing that we were contributing members of society and living the American dream.
Over time the requirements to live that dream have changed, America has changed, but our school systems haven’t kept up with these changes. To be successful in our country or in the world we’ve got to start with educating our children. Manufacturing jobs are gone and not coming back. Coal will be gone even if the government changes their regulations. America, just as during the industrial revolution, has to come up with its niche. Just as we were the best at manufacturing and the best at production and countless other things we’ve got to find that next big thing that we do better than anyone else. That all starts with education.
Education changes mindsets, lifts people out of poverty and can change the world. This won’t happen with government intervention. This can only happen if “we the people” make it happen.
The school levy plan might not have been the greatest or best but it was a start. We’ve got to start somewhere to ensure our children grow up in a world where they truly can do anything they set their mind to do, where they aren’t limited by a failing education system.
If you know how to fix it, step up and do it. Otherwise allow those you elected to do it for you. As citizens of this planet we’re obligated to do two things – educate our children and make the world a better place.
Right now, Pocahontas County, we’re 0-2.