Yes, we have problems with our country's education system. Our path of travel has not led to significant change. Globally speaking, the United States continues to slip down the scaled of academic success. We need to move in the opposite direction. We need to be innovative in solving problems. If we are going to put a man on Mars, you can bet that it will be with a man from a country that has a refined education system, one that has education placed on the top of the priority list.
Juneau School District teachers sought a cost-of-living raise they had not seen for 12 years. They've received it. Now the administration tells us that the district will lose 26 teacher positions for this next school year. Is this progressive? Now we will be looking at a proposal to build a new high school. With what teachers?
Take a good look at our learning centers. Have any of your kids come home excited about what they learned from that pile of bricks erected into a building? Face it. It is not the building that instills thought-provoking ideas.
Why should the taxpayers be burdened twice for two new buildings and new teachers? After all, we have learning centers that are utilized about one third every day. Let's maximize our centers, get the bang for our buck, give the kids tools and direction to become great.
Try this for example: two student bodies utilizing the same building - Student Body A, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.; sports and extra curriculum, 1-3 p.m.; and Student Body B, 3-9 p.m. There are plenty of teenagers that would love to sleep in, go skiing, or hold down a job during those early hours. Scientifically speaking, it seems that teens gravitate to that schedule anyway.
This solution would only hit the taxpayer up once - for new teachers. The money would be going in a direction of assisting our future's education. Your kids come home excited about what their teacher showed them, helped them comprehend. We have planted seeds for extended learning.
Let's not follow the herd. Let's be innovative in solving our problems. If we want to go to Mars, we will need smart people - not new buildings.