Letter: Make schools the priority | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Make schools the priority

At back-to-school night recently in the midvalley, the audiovisual setup was a microphone placed between two speakers on an Apple laptop resting on a chair, and the principal projected the slides onto a small screen similar to what I saw in my neighbor’s trash recently. Hey, I’m a big fan of frugality, and I admire how much our schools do with so little. But is this, uh, the great country of America? Is this really the best we have for our next generation on the one unequivocally vital public good? Unfortunately, I saw just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the aged state of the Roaring Fork School District infrastructure (and this includes outdated heating and cooling systems and ancient buildings), we’re also struggling operationally. My daughter’s class is selling magazines now to raise funds for the school. They should be studying. Squeezed for space, kids have to walk outside to modular classrooms. Building entrances aren’t modern, and that means they’re not safe — either from traffic or intruders.

Our schools ought to be the No. 1 priority for the country and for Colorado. But because so many of us don’t like taxes, we choose to curse not just our kids but ourselves, because economic success follows educated populations. Some people will hopefully hold their noses and vote “yes” on 3B, the bond to fund infrastructure improvements, just because quality schools increase our property value. But that’s a selfish motive and unnecessary. Public education is the least selfish thing we do. We should be voting “yes” on 3B when mail-in ballots arrive in October because we’re a great country that invests in ourselves and our future by ensuring top-notch public education, the one enabling element of the American dream.

Auden Schendler