Make best of year

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In case nobody noticed, this newspaper has decided to take a tough stance when it comes to public education.

We haven’t done so in order to point out who’s doing something they shouldn’t or who’s not doing something they should; we’ve done so because public education is one of the cornerstones of any community, and we want our schools to be the best they can be.

In the process, we have probably caused some folks to feel uncomfortable by shining a light on critical issues that need to be addressed. We often discuss how important public education is to our region’s economic future, and how it impacts economic development opportunities and the type of workforce we are able to offer. We frequently advocate for the taxpayers and the return they expect to get on their investment in our schools, and the responsibility local school boards and municipal governing bodies have in making sure the schools perform well.

We feel it is important to hold decision makers accountable for their choices, especially when it comes to our public schools.

Sometimes, amidst a good debate about public policy, we all lose track of why it is we are arguing in the first place.

This week, we are reminded why.

Yesterday, thousands of local kids boarded school buses and climbed into minivans, fresh school supplies in hand, ready to begin their journey through another school year. Many were excited, others were terrified, but all started out with a clean slate and an opportunity to learn and grow.

And in the final analysis, after test scores and rankings have been calculated, and after budgets are argued and policies are debated, they’re the reason public education is so important.

We wish for all of these students the best of luck in the coming year, that they each get to experience a teacher who inspires them and to learn something new that motivates them.

We wish for their teachers the strength, patience and endurance they need to be all they can be for their students. And we wish for administrators the wisdom and understanding necessary to navigate our schools down the difficult path they are on.

The new school year brings with it the promise of a fresh start and the optimism that the best is yet ahead. We wish for a safe and successful year for all.