Caldwell: Educators must consider much more than teaching

Published 10:13 am Monday, August 6, 2018

Back-to-school season just feels a little different this year.

It really isn’t one thing, but instead a myriad of issues that will likely continue to create challenges for public education this school year and many more to come.

And I’m not just talking about the fact my daughters who are going into third and fifth grades and are, officially or not, definitely “tweens.”

That will create challenges for years to come, too!

Culturally, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that things have changed in the past few decades, and it certainly starts with the fear we will see more horrific school shootings like those that devastated Marshall County, Kentucky, and Lakeland, Florida, just to name a couple.

Here in Kentucky, the climate is certainly different after last year’s unpleasant public battles over the teacher pension system and Gov. Matt Bevin’s toxic attitude toward educators.

This fight is far from over.

One positive is, as individual communities, we are truly seeing stronger bonds being built and a true rallying effort to support our teachers.

There are certainly some good things on the horizon as education is finally getting some much-needed attention from lawmakers and the public as a whole.

Another concern has been all the recent horror stories about how students graduating college are buried in mountains of student loan debt. This is certainly something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

No one knows exactly how to fix the challenges facing our entire educational system, from pre-K to college.

What would a complete overhaul of our education system look like?

That is very difficult to project, but it may be long past time we start to consider it.

How do we help our teachers do their jobs? How do we afford to hire more?

Do brick-and-mortar schools need to go away entirely?

Would it be possible to create scholarship programs that allow every student to get some form of higher education or technical training at no cost? Promise scholarships along those lines work very well in many communities on a small scale.

Are we spending enough money on security? If we quadruple our spending, would it really make a difference and keep our children safer?

These are all interesting questions. They are also very tough ones when it comes to determining the answers.

It will be interesting to see how this issue progresses in the coming months.

Certainly, some of it starts with the governor. Bevin has to work to rebuild relationships and create a climate of communication and cooperation.

We have thousands of dedicated educators and administrators who truly want to see our students succeed in life. In many ways, they are dealing with far more than sharing curriculum.

As parents, we have to be more engaged in the process, too.

We can all get more involved in the future of our children.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at (859) 759-0095 or by email at mike.caldwell@winchestersun.com.