The check’s in the mail. Honestly. We sent it out yesterday, and it’s a deposit on my daughter’s next life chapter, higher education. It’s a big check, as most college tuition checks are, but those dollars are one of the smartest investments my wife and I could make for our daughter. As the bumper sticker says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” We choose education, and we’re backed by some pretty heady statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which shows just how important an education is to earnings and employment. It seems our state leaders also see education as one solution to our ills.
Last week, Governor Cuomo’s The NEW NY Education Reform Commission released its eight recommendations for improving education in New York:
- Full-day pre-kindergarten for highest needs students;
- Streamline services and resources through “Community Schools”;
- Transform and extend the school day and year to expand quality learning time;
- Improve the teacher and principal pipeline to recruit and retain better educators;
- Build better bridges from high school to college and careers with Early College High Schools and Career Technical Education;
- Incentivize the smart and innovative use of technology to improve teaching and learning;
- Pursue efficiencies such as district consolidation, high school regionalization and shared services to increase student access to educational opportunities;
- Increase transparency and accountability of district leadership by creating a performance management system.
The Commission’s recommendations are exciting and relevant to improving education and student achievement, but I’m wondering where the money is going to come from? Many school districts in New York state are inching towards fiscal insolvency as state aid cuts and tax caps confound school budgets, making the costs of extended school days, Universal Pre-K for high needs students, and longer school years unfathomable for local tax payers. Wearing my rose-colored glasses, I’m hopeful Albany is considering revenues for the important work of improving education, but I’m also a realist in these tough economic times.
In any event, my wife and I will do our part and find the money for our daughter’s education (We’re fortunate to have the resources and values to support a college education–thanks Mom and Dad). Our daughter will contribute to her education as well, and student loans will be part of that contribution. Just like her parents, our daughter recognizes how vitally important an education is to her economic well-being. We know the price of ignorance, and it’s not something we’re willing to pay for.