Predicting the Future

The December holidays are the one time of the year when everything is quiet. Schools are on vacation, businesses are closed, the phone stops ringing, and I have the much-needed time to clean out old files, organize my bookshelves, and prepare for the New Year.

One booklet on my shelves caught my attention: “Planning Schools for Tomorrow: The Issues Involved.” A quick read, but interesting information. It made the case for proper planning: the “who” and the “how.” It explained our needs and the qualities of a good school. It covered current educational goals…“1) A full program of education adapted to the capacities and interests of all the individuals whom the schools should serve. 2) Carefully selected teachers, supervisors, administrators, and specialists such as nurses, physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, librarians etc., who are competent, well prepared, and interested in the development of community life. 3) Safe and sanitary school buildings, adapted to the education experiences and services to be offered, and adequate grounds and suitable equipment and instructional materials. 4) An effective State and local organization, coordinated with other State and local educational and social agencies, which make possible the efficient offering of needed educational services. Advisory service from the Federal Government should be available. 5) Adequate and joint support by the local, State, and Federal Governments.”

It also talked about the future of our education system. The interesting part is that to the authors of this particular document, “the future” meant 1942 — a time where people were concerned that an end to the war would bring about an economic crash. Some 60 years later, I read the headline news and it is covering the “war” and the “economic collapse.” Does this sound like déjà vu? Reading through this book drove home the point that the more things change; the more they stay the same. The concerns in 1942 were in many ways similar to those today, and so were the goals for education. Although the “buzzwords” may have changed, the basics are still the same — comprehensive programs, good teachers, safe schools, efficient services, and adequate funding and support.

Now it is our turn to write the future. We already have a good foundation and know the basics, so 2010 should be the year to expand, innovate, and, most importantly — implement!