As summer draws to a close, it is time for the future of our County to head back to school. The fact you can read this article and have the desire to do so is an indication you have one or more educators to thank. Teachers deserve a great deal of our thanks and even more of our support. They work tirelessly to educate those that will control the future success or failure of the communities in which we live. It is a difficult task and their primary reward is having their students become positive contributors to society. Teachers clearly do not do it for monetary reward or social status, as we do not bestow those things on our educators. However, without this dedicated group of individuals our society, economy and culture would collapse.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of articles on the impact of elementary and secondary education on an individual’s ability to be successful and the resulting impact on the broader society in which they live. There is study after study that show as the quality of education drops poverty, crime and dependence on government programs increase. It is for these reasons that everyone should be concerned and engaged with our education system. It takes a village to educate a child.
Not all education is done in the classroom. In fact, children coming to the classroom with behavioral issues make it extremely difficult for teachers to educate anyone. Clearly family structure is a key component in the success of a student. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. need to be engaged in providing an environment that supports the development of a well-rounded individual that has self-respect and follows the societal rules that guide positive human interactions. There are many children today that do not have the family support system required to get this level of guidance. This is one area where it is important to get engagement from the community.
Organizations like Big Brothers and Sisters, YMCA, CASA, etc. need your help. They have programs to reach out to our children that need help to fill the gap left by a lacking family structure. They need volunteers and funding to be successful. You can also reach out and get engaged directly with the school system, as they know what is needed from the community to improve the education system.
We need a fully engaged business community as a solid workforce is essential for economic growth. It is invaluable to have businesses engaged helping students understand what success looks like and to help students believe they can achieve that success. STEM, Junior Achievement, etc. are programs that provide opportunities for businesses to help develop the workforce needed to meet future needs. Reach out to the Chamber of Commerce to discuss opportunities if your business wants to get engaged.
I am a big believer that you do not have the right to complain unless you are attempting to do something to make it better. I also believe everyone has the ability to make a difference – no positive action is wasted. So, do not become one of those folks that sits around and complains about what you think is wrong with our youth and education system – get out, get involved and make a difference.
Editor’s note: Mr. Christopher is the executive director of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. His column appears on the first Thursday of every month in this publication.