My grandmothers were educated at home. My mother taught in one-room schools. My high school science room had one alcohol burner. The library was a corner of the study hall walled off with chicken wire and one-by-two framing. American public school education has been on a roll from the very beginning. Rolling, rolling, rolling.
No one has a clear notion of what it will be like in fifty years. Staff, buildings, teaching methods, content, school taxes, and graduation may not even go by these names or exist. What will remain for sure?
There will be children to educate, neighborhoods and communities as homes for our families, and the powerful need to come together to better our children’s education.
Taking what we know will endure, I propose a new concept of endowing our schools that goes beyond the restrictions of scholarship funds, library support funds, and support for athletic facilities. Combine all the interests into an endowment fund to support the public education of children in the community, or district if you want to keep a term that may become obsolete.
The new school endowment fund would encompass all athletics, cheer leading and dance, theatre, marching band, science organizations, library service, physical activities at every grade level, all subjects, special needs programs, and scholarships. If you think of something left out, consider it added.
Given this new endowment fund a fund committee drawn from those who contribute to the fund and live and work in the community. Ensure the fund committee is free of board of education directors and family, administration members and family. Pledge them to be open to alternative views and priorities. Pledge them to open communication with students, faculty, administration, families, and community. Pledge them to hear the lone student as well as the organized parent supporters. Pledge them to listen not only to current staff but also the retired staff.
This is a great idea with the flexibility and stamina to protect the community interests regardless of the changes that come upon us. Give it some thought.
Would you consider giving a planned gift or bequest to the Clarion County Community Foundation for such an endowed fund in your community? Even if you’re not there, the fund will keep your name ahead of the game. A community foundation endowment fund serves in perpetuity. Charles Marlin
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