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Politics

SCASD: Invest in Education

Posted by Christopher Long on 05/11 at 10:05 AM

John Adams put it well: “Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially for the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that to a human and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.” (John Adams, Thoughts on Government)

Ours is a community sustained by education, and as a community, we ought to make sustaining the education of our youth a top priority. This means making the “wise and useful” decision to spare no expense to ensure that the State College Area School District (SCASD) is the best school district in the Commonwealth.  I fear, however, that a number of the candidates running for school board this year do not share Adams’s sentiments.

To be clear, taxpayer money must be spent responsibly, wasteful spending must be cut and every effort must be made to operate the district efficiently.  But no investment is more critical to the flourishing of our community than the investment we make in education.  When a number of candidates running for the SCASD board sound the clarion call of “lower taxes,” as I hear most poignantly in the published comments of Brian Kaleita, Pete Schempf, and Andrew Sicree, I worry that a narrow view of self-interest has come to cloud a broader, deeper vision of what sustains the health of our community.

When we invest in education, we are not simply undertaking the vital and noble responsibility of nourishing the minds and bodies of our young people so as to ensure their future success.  We are also increasing our property values and improving the ability of the University that sustains our community to attract the best faculty, staff and students; we are thereby ensuring that our local businesses continue to thrive, that our property owners have a steady stream of renters, and that our local contractors and developers remain successful.

As I have suggested before: Fiscal responsibility cannot mean minimizing our tax liability, but maximizing our investment in the educational needs of our children. It is not unreasonable to insist that our school district to be the best in the Commonwealth, and it is not extravagant to be willing to pay for it.

{name} Author: Christopher Long
Bio: Associate Professor of Philosophy / Director of Graduate Studies / The Pennsylvania State University

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