Focus on the future of our children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The crying is mostly over by now. The unfamiliar is slowly beginning to become a little more familiar and a little more normal.

For thousands of area school children, another school year has begun and the first-day jitters and uncomfortable feelings of being thrown into new surroundings are over.

Things will become routine in a matter of days.

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And for the adults in the community, the same can be said. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the routine and the status quo.

It’s easy for all of us old folks to look at today’s youth and throw up our hands in disgust. They can be a text-messaging, rude, oddly dressed bunch of folks.

But they are — like it or not — our future, so we’d better find a way to help them get where we need them to be.

Rather than cast them off as unfixable, we need to think of how we might be able to make them better — and we need to do it fast.

From increasing business and industry’s involvement by helping coach pupils on how to be more successful in the real world to considering some “crazy” sounding ideas like year-round school years, something needs to be done.

Our schools — even the best ones — are not great. Most of our facilities are old and could use massive upgrades. Our dropout rates are too high.

The first part of solving a community problem is collectively recognizing there’s a problem. The next step is working toward a common solution.

If we don’t, it won’t just be the first-time students who are crying on the first day of class. It will be all of us when we realize years from now that we’ve failed to deliver the very best for our children.