Recently in The Pilot, I read that Moore County will not benefit from a bill meant to help education. We are considered too rich to need help, although our superintendent is struggling to make ends meet.
Many citizens see value in well-
supported school supplies, well-paid teachers, arts in education, and plentiful textbooks. Many of us still believe that a child who needs a breakfast or lunch because he or she comes from a home of poverty should have some support, because no one works well when truly hungry.
Their right to life should include some modicum of compassion because they are children who are hungry.
Now comes the national budget, which is slashing away at programs with such broad strokes that the hope of diagnosing any real problems within an agency is gone. It is easier to eliminate it rather than retool what is good and functioning for the good.
So education on the national level takes a hit? Push it down to the states, which are already struggling. In a world where the need for well-trained, well-educated workers is on the rise and not on the decline, this would seem regressive and dangerous.
The president promises job for coal miners and others in a tone that seems to promise going back to the good old days of manual and admittedly very, very hard labor that paid well. We shall see.
Almost every form of industry is moving or has moved well into the 21st century, requiring more ability to work with machines, robotics and well-trained minds, less with backbreaking labor that we knew from the beginning of our country.
With the entire globe going more high-tech — just look at your phones, your washing machines, your various command gadgets that turn on your radio, TV or whatever is attached — we are headed more toward “The Jetsons” and less toward “Little House on the Prairie.”
By slashing the school budget and commitment to education for the nation's children, exactly what vision does the government have for the growth of the country as we move forward?
If we continue down a road on which public or private education falls further and further behind the global Top 10 (in which we do not appear at all, and our state is well below the Top 30 in the U.S.), where does that leave the future of the children we are not spending money on today?
I am not anti-military at all, but I would like to see what the budget is going for.
We have the largest military in the world by far now and may need new equipment or retooling. Are we raising the pay of the low-level recruits and their families so that life is easier?
Are we making sure that the soldiers in the field have all that they need? Fine. But if we are not scrutinizing the budget of the Pentagon, as we would any other business, we could be on the hook for a lot of upgrades that we don’t need.
There is a real difference between wants and needs, between real commitment to a rational level of preparedness and a knee-jerk love for increasing military spending. The military-industrial complex is a blessing and a curse and should be overseen as such, as Eisenhower warned.
To trade our children’s education, the support of art in our lives, the safety of our clean water and air, is a bad trade. Do I think that we should take a look at the efficiencies of government? Yes, we should. But we should do so with a clear eye as to what sort of civilization we want to live in and leave for our youth.
People who are educated toward the jobs of the future, like the practical world Sandhills Community College trains for, is wise. The real world will eat our lunch if our students cannot move into the rapidly changing job structure of the 21st century, which will require flexible thinking and ability to collaborate and work in environments far more sophisticated than today.
Not everyone needs an Ivy League education. But by cutting back educational funding for the early learner and overloading the states with that burden, I think two things are likely: The states will need to increase taxes just to keep education even — forget growing it. And, as a result, the USA will continue a downward slide in the status of its industries.
Guns or butter is not the question. Guns and butter is a harder, but more responsible view.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.