By Al Cooke
Pittsboro, NC – On the Chatham Chatlist discussion group the “Chathampatriot”asks why schools are a government function. I also do not have a family member in Chatham’s schools, but when I go to the grocery or pharmacy or farm supply, I hope to have educated people to deal with; people who can read and do arithmetic. I enjoy living in a community where we can have intelligent conversation among people who are competent to question all the answers. It’s not about “my kids” or “your kids” but what kind of community we choose to be.
I realize there are those among us who seek to destroy public education as a means of tearing it down and defunding it. Would those persons prefer to live in a community known for its ignorance? Educated citizens are capable of making better decisions such as those that endear them to employees. If we are not educated, who will start and run small businesses or even large businesses. It is my understanding that when big businesses are courted to relocate to a community a good educational system is one of the things they look for, perhaps more than costs and available utilities and transportation. Businesses need an educated workforce.
In short, education just makes our community a better place to live. So I’m willing to invest in that. Not funding education to save a few dollars is simply shortsighted. And I almost said self serving. But I think not having an education system serves no one well. Some political interests seem to think uneducated citizens are easier to manipulate. For me, personally, I trust “we, the people” to act in the public interest more than many of the special interests and ideologies that show up to develop private schools. I have personally known many of the teachers in the Chatham County School System. Without exception, they have demonstrated greater commitment to their students than to any ideology of which they may have been accused. I don’t have any objection to private schools either unless they come to us with their hands out and private ideologies they want us to finance. Most of us who read and/or participate in this Chatlist can thank a public education system as well as many teachers!