To the Editor
It was President James Garfield who first defined a university as ‘Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.’ That may have been true in the 1800’s but is not the case in today’s much more complicated and sophisticated world.
We expect our schools to prepare our students to lead productive lives in a society that changes dramatically from decade to decade if not from year to year. Independent School District 883 (ISD 883) has quality staff members (just take a look at the educational and business office awards received in the last few years) but to maximize their production we must have a safe and well-maintained facility within which to operate. Why should ISD 883 students not have as well equipped and maintained classrooms and up-to-date athletic facilities as their conference counterparts?
Some critics of public education argue that schools should be run like a business. There is some truth in that concern. Both schools and businesses operate in a competitive environment. Just as a families can choose between Menard’s and Home Depot they can choose the school that their child attends. Just as to the casual observer it may be difficult to determine if Home Depot’s widgets are better than those available at Menard’s it is also difficult to determine which school is providing a better educational product (test scores do not answer all the questions). However, if one big box store is perceived to be cleaner, have wider isles or have greater range of inventory from which to choose consumers will do business at that store.
Similarly, families will consider factors such as safety, the use of technology and the quality and up-to-date athletic facilities as they decide where to enroll their children. In both cases in can be said that perception is reality. In the case of business increased sales results in a better bottom line; in the case of schools quality facilities retain and attract students.
It is essential that ISD 883 voters cast a Yes vote Nov. 6.
Allen W. Moen