To the editor:
As a taxpaying homeowner, I support the Lansing school bond issue.
Nine years ago, in a nearby Kansas school district, my 3rd grader was failing to grasp essential basic math skills. We spent the next two years (and several thousand dollars) driving to Sylvan Learning Center in Lawrence, paying for remedial tutoring. We ultimately decided it was preferable, and less expensive, to move to a community (Lansing) that understood the importance of providing a top-notch education.
As the father of a 7th grader, I am enthusiastic about the idea of paying higher property taxes to help give my son a world-class education. A recent letter to the editor opposing the bond issue commented that the new high school will resemble a college campus. Awesome! My goal is to prep my student for precisely that outcome. I believe other Lansing voters will also see the benefit in providing this type of learning environment for their children.
In today's job market, a college degree is the minimum acceptable education level for most jobs that pay $35,000 or more per year. Americans must compete globally for jobs – including those in skilled and technical fields – with hard working, aspiring graduates from places like China and India. In 2011, China had approximately 6.6 million college graduates; a high percentage of these grads have STEM degrees. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). By contrast, America had about 500,000 STEM graduates in 2011. Where will the world's products be designed and built? The iPhone, America's technology icon, is today "designed in America, built in China." Tomorrow it may also be "designed in China."
As a parent who participated in the Lansing High School site council for three years, it is my view that the current high school facility is structurally incapable of providing the classrooms needed to prepare our children for college. They will work in a high-tech world – we hope. Advanced computer and science labs and IT infrastructure are required if we intend to provide solid college prep and AP classes.
Ultimately, spending choices reflect our priorities. The average family spends $1,200 per year on cable TV, and another $2,000 per year on such things as eating out, sporting events, movies, etc. Families with multiple smart phones spend $200 or more per month, another $2,400 per year… but we can't find an extra $25 per month, per household, to build a new high school and upgrade our other schools?
"If education is expensive, what is the price of ignorance."