Agriculture Plays a Vital Role in Education
Back to school!
The busses are rolling and all over the nation kids are back in school! From Kindergarten through colleges, young folks are practicing ‘going to work,’ preparing for the adult world. Amazing the investment our society makes in education!
Since the founding of our nation, education has been an integral part. Until the early 1950’s, one room schools dotted the countryside. I’ll be there are readers of this paper who went to them! The buildings remaining have been converted to homes, to the extend many of them are hardly recognizable as schools. Was Ernie Harschbarger that last county Superintendent of Schools?
Early on , real estate property taxes were established to pay for the school operation. Boards of Trustees were elected to see that money was collected to hire the teacher, pay the bills, and take care of the building. Taxing wealth was much easier then, as most wealth was in visible property. There were few stocks and bonds, and certificates of deposits didn’t exist. The economy and wealth have changed dramatically since then, but we still squeeze that same property tax system to provide the major portion of the school budget.
Many parts of the curriculum have expanded. What the kids learn in math now, what they learn in science, is impressive! Regrettably, civics education has been squeezed smaller and smaller in too many cases. A recent survey of a 6th grade class found that only two members of thirty students knew what the Civil War was.
The use of technology is experiencing a second surge. About 1980, I bought our first computer, an Apple IIE, to use for farm records and for our kids to use on school projects. Our school district had just installed Apples for the first time. Today, the capabilities of Apple ipads and smart boards (electronic blackboards) are impressive. Schools are adding more and more of them as money permits.
Farm folks pay key roles in the schools, from paying their taxes to being involved on school boards and in the classroom activities, as well as extracurricular activities. Through attending sports, music, plays and other events, parents support their families and schools.
Champaign County Farm Bureau leaders pay close attention to the funding and administration of our schools. At the monthly legislative committee meetings, Chairman Mark Plfugmacher leads discussions regularly regarding issues with schools. The topic also comes up at the monthly CCFB board meetings. If you have thoughts or suggestions on how to make our schools better, so our kids can compete on the world wide stage, please communicate with us!