Our generation, those of us in the workforce right now, sons and daughters of the Baby Boomers are in for a real wake up call. Sandwiched between “rapidly expanding populations of the young and old” a crisis is fast approaching.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN THE CART AND HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE PUSHING IT?
According to Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education, “a fierce battle between the needs of public health and education looms.”
Several factors play a key role:
- Expanding populations of young and old, “Every day for the next 15 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age.
- A shrinking percentage of workers to provide for the increasing needs of those dependent upon public spending
- “An education system that is failing far too many children at a price that is no longer sustainable.”
TOMORROW’S FUTURE IS SITTING IN TODAY’S CLASSROOM
Now more than ever we need a higher return on investment in the education of our future workforce. With record numbers of third graders reading at or below level and half of tenth graders not on grade level, our education system needs more than just added funding, we need an awakening. The next generation will be ill prepared to deal with the challenge unless we can provide an “education system that leads to a college and career-ready generation prepared for high-wage job earnings in a competitive global economy.”
This growing financial crisis demands stronger education. Improvement of schools is more important than ever. Our country was founded on freedom of choice. As consumers we know the key benefits of competition are innovation, efficiency and improvements. As business leaders we are highly aware no growth equates to certain death. Our public education system should not be free of those fundamental factors.
Systems are already in place to reform education in Florida. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) allow parents to access funding the state has set aside for their child, however, only for those students identified to have one of seven severe disabilities. Corporations can offset tax liabilities by contributing to Step Up for Students, a non-profit dedicated to empowering parents through financial scholarships for those families on average at .9% above the poverty level. But doesn’t every child deserve the right to be afforded a special education to meet their own special need regardless of their ability or family financial statement?
As citizens it is our duty to make our voices heard. I am urging you to encourage our “policy makers to be much more daring.” Lend your voice to supporting school choice and unlock the potential of our future generation by removing the monopoly on public education. The future is in our hands and it has limitless potential.