I’ve been closely following the international story of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Taliban militants. The young activist, was targeted because of her outspoken support for the education of girls in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
This is election season and thus in Worthington there is debate over our ballot issues 53 and 54. Residents in the Worthington School District will vote on TWO issues this November: An incremental operating levy that funds day-to-day operations. It starts at 4.9 mills and phases-in to 6.9 mills over three years, and a no new millage bond issue to maintain and repair facilities and purchase technology and buses for students. Anytime we, or any other school district, is on the ballot, there is heated debate.
Across Ohio there is heated debate on many different issues. How should schools be funded and to what level? Should students be allowed to move from the public school to charter or private schools, and if so, what money should follow students? Should special education students get a waiver or a scholarship to fund their education? How should teachers be evaluated? Should seniority be a factor in teacher reductions? Should tenure or teachers unions still exist? In Ohio these are all emotional questions that stir passions. Nationally the issues are similar.
There is a vigorous debate in Ohio and across the United States over what public education should look like. But…no one is debating whether girls deserve an education or whether all kids deserve the best possible learning environment. We often differ on the “how”, but we rarely differ on the “what”. In this case the “what” is that we believe all kids deserve a first class education system that will prepare them for a future we cannot yet predict.
As a dad of three daughters this story hits home. How blessed am I to raise my daughters in a community that cares deeply about the education of all kids and who sacrifices daily to make certain every child has what they need to succeed? How blessed are the kids in Worthington who daily walk into our schools and are greeted by dedicated caring adults who are professional educators? How blessed are we that a school bus comes to our street, picks our kids up, takes them to a school where they can often eat both breakfast and lunch while they get a first class, “Excellent with Distinction” education?
This story is a reminder of just how good we have it in Worthington.