John Jarpe: Economics lessonsPublished 11:04pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011
“We can’t afford to.” Those are tough words that parents have to tell their children, and unfortunately, in Michigan, many out-of-work folks have to say that to their kids quite often. I’ve always been fortunate, personally, to have a job. I had to endure some “pink-slip” summers as a young teacher, but I either got recalled to work or got another teaching job. Sadly, many laid off teachers won’t find work in Michigan this fall. The budget signed into law last month by Gov. Snyder cuts K-12 schools deeply.
So, “we can’t afford to” is a reality lesson that everyone in schools will have to learn this year and in coming years. At Brandywine, we have budgeted wisely, so we have to spend some of the dollars we’ve saved for these tough circumstances. However, we can’t afford to keep on relying on savings that way, and must live and spend within our means, just like our families make those adjustments.
Those of us who work in schools and you who send your children to our public schools must remember that the lessons and skills we teach to our students are critical for their future success. This is doubly true in tough economic times. Education is no guarantee that you will get or keep a job, but without a solid education, your chances are indeed slim and none.
Here’s a thought to consider: The Greatest Generation, the people who fought World War II and came home to lead America to be the most prosperous nation on earth were educated in the toughest of times, the Great Depression. Those great people heard “we can’t afford to” very often, and they took those hard lessons and built and led a great country. Indeed, it was good people from that Greatest Generation that started and built Brandywine more than 50 years ago. As professional educators and as responsible parents, we may not produce another Greatest Generation. But, we can put our minds and hearts into our task and we can work with what we have and do our best.
Our kids may learn and hear “we can’t afford to,” but they must get the very best we have that we can afford.