I hear a lot of people complaining about having to pay higher taxes if the levy passes. They feel it's unfair because they aren't personally affected. They don't have kids in school or send their kids to a private school (like my friend who made the comment on Facebook).
But the truth is that a strong educational system, utilizing current technology, robust educational programs and well-funded public libraries, builds strong communities.
Students who receive a quality education become the work force and the leadership of the communities around us. An investment in their education now will pay off tenfold by creating employees that companies want to hire.
Economic development in West Virginia depends on a strong educational system that produces the workers that have the skills needed to do the jobs.
The quality of schools and the strength of the pool of potential employees they produce are two major deciding factors for companies considering locations. But we can't offer that unless we better fund our schools.
That being said, I am typing this on an outdated computer with a giant old monitor sitting in the back of a dusty room with a crumbling plaster ceiling and a noisy fan to cool an overheated second floor. The supplies I have for students are dismal.
I only get $500 a year to purchase art supplies for 735 students. I am teaching one of the "extra programs" that Mr. Thaw says students won't miss. And yet, in my art class, I am reinforcing math, science, technology, engineering, language arts, social studies and history knowledge that will help students raise their test scores and become better workers in the future.
I teach creative problem solving and analytical thinking, as well as help them build confidence and collaborative working skills.
I don't think there are any programs that students won't miss; every opportunity to learn is one more chance for a child to grasp a concept that they need to grow.
You wouldn't skimp on feeding your child, so why put their brains on a crash diet? Fund formative extra programs, adequate technology and libraries. Build a better future.
Rebecca Recco is an itinerant art teacher in Kanawha County Schools.