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Observe National School Board Recognition Week

By Staff | May 10, 2011

May 5-13 is National School Board Recognition Week, a great time to recognize those people who go above and beyond to serve the taxpayer and society’s children – our leaders of tomorrow.

If you take even a moment to thing about it, that’s quite a balancing act. On the one hand, we want school boards to keep taxes down. On the other, we want them to provide the best possible education for our children.

Since our society – and Iowa – puts such a high priority on education, it only stands to reason that education comprises a large portion of our taxpayer dollars. Whether it’s at the federal, state or local level, everyone recognizes that education – and a good education – costs money.

If that’s difficult to swallow, let’s take a moment to consider what education was like 200 or more years ago.

Then, an education was something to which only the privileged class could aspire. Private schools taught students in Greek and Latin. Anyone who was not of the upper class was lucky to learn to read or write. That’s how the saying “making one’s mark” became a household saying. People simply made an X or some other mark when signing legal documents, often without knowing what they even said. Those of working class were trained in the trades, like barrel making, horseshoeing or blacksmithing.

Think of how much luckier we are today to have free education for anyone who wants it. Anyone who wants to attend college can do that as well through loan and grant programs.

And it’s out local school boards who make that all possible.

As unpaid volunteers, they work tirelessly, often with a great deal of criticism. Theirs is a job that no one else usually wants. They want to serve on our local school boards, though, to give our children the best possible education at the best possible price.

Budget cuts at the state and federal levels will inevitably pressure our local school boards to either cut services or raise taxes – and sometimes both.

Rest assured though that your local school board members want to hear any ideas you have to either better our children’s education or to cut costs.

But please, make those suggestions supportive and in a spirit of helping and not criticism.

Your local school board members probably have children in school right now themselves. Their decisions impact their children’s learning directly.

So support them as they make those tough decisions. And above all, thank them for the great job they do.