Friday, February 21, 2014

A different kind of action

A school where I spent most of my waking hours from 1988-1997, was voted to be closed at the end of the school year. (To read more about my Marquette experience, click HERE.)

No matter where you fall on the political continuum, I believe we can all agree that it's a sad outcome for any school.

Schools, especially it seems, rural Kansas schools, are in a state of hurt. We can blame it on many things...the most popular, (lack of) state funding. 
Miss G's first day of K, at HES

But what if there's another place to focus our energies?

As part of my job at the Free Press, I proofread the majority of articles that go out in the paper each week. (And yes, I cringe when I see a mistake in print.) Included in my proofreading are Hillsboro, Marion and Goessel City Council articles, Hillsboro and Goessel School Board articles and Marion County Commission articles. I've also spent time covering USD 410 School Board and Marion County Commission meetings. 

And, when people find that out, they say: "I'm sorry."

I'm not. It is one of the best parts about my job. It makes me informed. For the last 6.5 years, I've read nearly every article about all those various political groups. 

While it was a challenge to enjoy those articles when I first started my job, I can now say that political "stretching" was vastly important to me. And know, I consider that knowledge and involvement a huge blessing.

But, in general, I feel alone when it comes to that viewpoint. Facebook gives many opportunities to like and share political viewpoints without doing much thinking...but to actually spend time reading, thinking, questioning, understanding and forming our own thoughts on a subject...well, that's much harder, and can be a long process.

I'm saddened that Marquette Elementary will close. I'm saddened that USD 400 had to make that choice. And unless things change, many other rural Kansas schools will be faced with the same burden. 

Before it's too late, we can do something. Gain knowledge. Ask questions. Read your local newspaper's report of political activity. Take in a board, council or commission meeting...they all have public forum time built in to their agendas.

That kind of involvement will be key to help our schools move into the future. Without it, that future will be grim, indeed.

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TAKE ACTION: I am on the HES Site Council's playground committee. We are working to raise funds to improve a playground that has seen better days. Right now the Together Counts organization is running a "Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes." Take a minute to enter Hillsboro Elementary every day through March 20. We would appreciate your help!

http://www.togethercounts.com/at-school/win-for-your-school/sweepstakes

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