I live in Trumbull, Connecticut. Like virtually all municipalities, the town is forced with making difficult decisions about what parts of the budget to fund. And, again as in most municipalities, the school budget is a very large part of the overall budget.
Last night our first selectman (mayor, to those outside of Connecticut) held a town wide meeting on the budget.
Shocked, I read the following report on the meeting from an article in the town’s weekly newspaper, the Trumbull Times: “Carmen Denicola also urged financial restraint. He said he had lived in town long enough to remember when Trumbull High graduates ‘had only two choices, farming or the service.’
“Denicola said his generation had been raised differently than children of today.
“‘I see a lot of spoiled kids at the high school,’ he said. ‘Young people with children need to tighten their belt a little bit. You don’t need everything, you need the basics. With the basics you can do anything.'”
Honestly, all I can say is that this logic scares me. It scares me that someone would actually think this and it scares me even more that someone would actually say this in a public forum.
Tomorrow I’ll be judging at the Southern Connecticut Invitational Science and Engineering Fair. There I will see high school students who are working with college professors to research Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, and genetic defects, to name a few of their projects.
I’m also on the board of directors of the Connecticut Invention Convention which provides a curriculum and competition around innovation to over 100 K-8 schools in Connecticut. One of last year’s winning inventors, a seventh grader, has created a lollipop that is particularly effective in curing hiccups especially for cancer patients on chemotherapy… and she was recently invited to ring the bell on the NYSE.
While I’m not advocating fiscal waste, I recognize that an education that allows children to reach for the today’s future in an increasing complicated world comes with a price. That price is more than when children were taught enough to be farmers and soldiers. And that education is necessary because our children, OUR COUNTRY, is competing on a bigger world stage than back then.
For some, it appears, that the American Dream of wanting better for our children is dead if the children are not their own. It is my sincere hope that this is not held by the majority of my Baby Boomer cohort. We need today’s children, tomorrow’s adults, to be better, to have more than just the basics, so that we are ALL better.