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Getting back to education
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The people who pay taxes in this county and all of us who have children or grandchildren have every right to be concerned with what is happening to our school systems.

But some people are acting like they just fell off the hay wagon and didn't see this coming.

Problems in our education funding system actually started back in the late ’60s and ’70s.

Schools before that time did one thing — they educated children. Through that education, and the complete cooperation of parents, they prepared their students to change the world. And change the world they did.

Many of you who are reading this right now are a part of that generation.

In the late ’60s and ’70s there was a major social upheaval in this country. The upheaval itself was good but the results were not as impressive.

During this upheaval, there was a clamor that kids were going to school hungry and that was affecting their learning capabilities.

Heck, I never ate breakfast and I survived, but in the ’70s many of us bought into that propaganda and school breakfast programs were started. At first this was a simple solution. Then nutritionists got involved and so on and today a simple breakfast meal has turned into full-fledged meals being served for breakfast, lunch and some cases dinner to not only students who need such services but to many whose families can afford to provide breakfast and lunch to their children.

Then there was a push to provide services for handicapped children. I actually agreed with this, as did many others, so programs were started for these children. Then programs were started for the gifted children. Again, on paper this sounded like the right thing to do. But then we made a serious mistake — we allowed academics to completely run the school systems. Most academics have little business sense; as far as they are concerned, it could just as easily grow on trees.

Today we spend so much money supporting those two programs, which in fact affect a small percentage of our children, that all children who do not fit into those two categories are almost forgotten.

The academics that have run our school systems during the past 40 years have managed to direct money that should be used in the classroom into self-supporting and self-serving bastions of power.

We have condoned this by sitting idly by and letting the schools become the catch-all for every social ill we have not wanted to address.

As parents we have turned over our kids to a system that now feeds, clothes, counsels, provides health care and indoctrinates our children.

In order to perform all these tasks, which really don't involve education, the academics who run our schools have had to hire staff and more staff to facilitate these programs. They have pushed the system to its breaking point — hence, exactly where we are now is what we have created ourselves.

Even though this is going to be a tough next couple weeks and months, we can use this experience to take back our schools and become more involved. We can elect business people to serve on the school board, we can take back our rights as parents and we can ensure that our schools get back to what they were set up to do — educate our children.

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The Rockdale News