I'm watching some local politics go down on social media and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I've largely stayed out of all topics, to the point of barely reading any posts of a few town groups I'm in on Facebook. I find myself getting way too irritated and annoyed with people, some of whom I actually like as people, so I need to put blinders on sometimes. I've just now hit my threshold with it all though and need to put some of it out there.
So in my town, there is a push for lights on a field. I'm sure it's important- to the parents and kids of the age to use these fields. It's going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for these lights. Yet, only months ago, many of these same parents were bitching to high hell at the possibility of full day kindergarten coming to our town. All I read and heard was about the money, money, money. Kindergarten isn't mandated by the state! That was the battle-cry heard 'round the town, over and over, like a demented horror movie mantra. Our taxes! How will this raise our taxes?! Then the complete BS reasoning of -They need to be babies longer! I don't even know how to respond to that. No, no. My kid certainly does not need to be a baby longer. I'm totally fine with him growing up and going to school all day- as he has since he was two years old. If you feel you need to keep your kindergarten-age child a baby longer, that's a personal problem.
Meanwhile, these lights are going to cost a small fortune, actually a very large fortune, but that's ok- because it's important for the high school kids. Hello? How does one decide lights are more important than making sure the foundation to a child's entire educational career is strong and secure? Hey! People who say we "need" the lights- I have news for you. As much as you think we "need" lights, that's how much some of us think we "need" full day kindergarten. No, kindergarten isn't mandated by the state. So. Fucking. What?? Just because something isn't "mandated by the state" doesn't mean we don't need it! I don't even know what kind of argument that IS. What I do know is it certainly isn't an intelligent one! And- last I checked, field lights aren't mandated by the state either.
I don't even have skin in the game for either of these things- I have one kid. I'll forever have one kid. He's already almost done with his HALF-DAY kindergarten program for the year. If anything, if we get lights on some field, he may be able to benefit some day if he decides to be involved in some kind of sporting. But even I can recognize that if there are only four towns left in the entire county that still have half-day kindergarten, there are some damn good reasons that full day kindergarten exists. The parents pushing for FDK aren't just looking for "free babysitting" as I've heard the opposers say. Those parents want to make sure their kids are getting everything they need as the demands in school get more difficult. The dumbest of all the anti-FDK reasoning has to be- "My kid went to half-day K and is fine now in high school!". Really? Awesome. Thanks for that completely useless information! The demands, the teaching, the expectations were all VASTLY different! When your kids did half-day k, they probably were still napping them! Hello, I see you dropped your common sense in the street somewhere. I could give you nine hundred reasons why full day kindergarten is important. And imagine, *gasp*, it's not all about me- I WILL NEVER BENEFIT PERSONALLY FROM FDK. Yet, I can still understand the benefits. But I digress. Citing pluses and need for FDK isn't even my point.
My point is- Everyone. Has. An. Agenda. THEIR agenda! I have no clue how the school board is structured, but I would think, common sense would dictate that there should be at least one representative, at least, for every block of school ages- Elementary, middle school, and high school voting representatives. I don't think there is ONE person on the school board with kids in elementary school. So of COURSE, FDK would get voted down because they have no clue what the little ones are facing these days. Some of these people haven't had kids in elementary school in over ten, twenty or more years! They're in a different phase of their lives and what is important to them and/or their families is totally different than what parents of elementary school age kids care about or are focused on. We have people on the board who are seniors- well, I wonder how the possibility of higher taxes from school related expenditures affect their votes. The FDK vote was originally pushed to October, by a school board member who I'm fairly certain is a senior, after the last vote down. That would make it impossible to have FDK on the table for the fall. Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.
I don't give a rat's behind about lights on a field. But I can recognize that for some people they're important. Just don't try selling me on lights being more important than figuring out how to best serve our kindergarten kids. Because I'm not buying. Kindergarten is the stepping stone for a LONG school career. It can't just be brushed off as not mandated by the state in favor of sporting lights. The fact is though- Kindergarten is more important to parents of kindergarten kids and lights are more important to parents of older kids who play on fields with no lights. A lot of this is important to no one until it affects their pockets. The only reason there will be less bellyaching about FDK than in previous months about it is because the high school parents are getting their precious lights too. THEIR agenda is being served so they might just be ok enough then with FDK getting pushed through too. If those lights didn't get pushed through but FDK did, oh, would FB be BLOWING THE F UP. Just calling it how I see it.
Then you have people crying foul about not being informed about what and when things are being voted on. Should there be more transparency? Sure. WAY more. I'll tell you why there isn't- it's called apathy. And me, me, me mentality. You want to know what's going on? Make it your business to go to every meeting. That isn't sufficient to you? Run for something. Be on the town council or the school board. Half the time, these people are running unopposed. People have a million excuses why they can't be there or can't run. Well, if you don't take part and you don't attend, you don't get the right to bitch. I'd like to know why it takes FDK and lights to look into wtf the money allocator on the board is actually doing. The lack of transparency and the *alleged* seemingly endless printing of money from the school board and the lack of accountability of the town council is all due to the lack of perseverance on the part of the townspeople as a whole. If you only care when it affects you directly, that's a lot of time you're doing a whole lot of nothing. I've been to a few meetings. Regular ones. Not ones where hundreds of people are rallying for unfairly treated police officers or people are inflamed over kindergarten or lights. Regular, boring meetings about too much homework and new procedures for kindergarten registration. Let's just say there were plenty of empty seats.
So instead of being a slacktivist on FB, bitching, whining, and complaining, go out and DO something. Stop being blind to people only caring about their own wants and needs. Stop using higher taxes as an excuse to vote down one thing but then push the agenda of another costly project that you want more. And for Pete's sake- if you think someone is misdirecting or misusing funds or covering up past misuse of funds- do your research, gather your information, and be the one to blow the whistle and push for change instead of just sitting around complaining on social media.
Edit: My husband felt it was necessary for me to clarify that FDK passed, as did the lights, last night at the school board meeting. He says it sounds like I'm saying lights passed, FDK didn't. Both supposedly passed. We shall see what really happens....