21st Century Dad
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The Government and Your Child’s Education

November 2nd, 2007 . by admin

I attended the Partners In Education luncheon today. The guest speaker, Florida State Senator Jeremy Ring, spoke about the state of education today, the implications of approving casinos and gambling, the insurance crisis, the property tax situation, and the growth of our economy. None of this interested me until I became a dad.

Things going on at the local and state governments have a profound effect on our children. There is always legislative activity related to children and education. However, anything related to taxes will effect education too!

Some of the highlights of Senator Ring’s speech:

• Tax reform, especially in the form of cuts, takes money away from schools… in the short term.
• Casinos create jobs in the community and revenue for the government. They also bring their share of problems.
• We must shift our emphasis in education toward math, the sciences, social skills, and entrepreneurial skills.
• The kids are smarter than the teachers.
• The teachers are smarter than the administrators.
• The administrators are smarter than the government.

Florida’s economy isn’t based on tourism. It’s based on real estate development. Florida’s economy ebbs and flows with the real estate market. South Florida has experienced unprecedented growth over the past several years. Homeowner’s insurance premiums followed the same steep climb as home prices. The people are crying out for tax reform in the form of relief. I don’t envy Senator Ring’s situation. He’s going to make a lot of people happy and angry at the same time, no matter what he does.

What does gambling have to do with education? Gaming lobbyists often tout the tax dollars that will come in, and invariably they offer funding for schools as part of their package. On the surface, it sounds great. Who wouldn’t want more money to be injected into our schools’ budgets? But as it is in Vegas, the house always wins.

I’m not 100% on board with Senator Ring’s assertion that we need to put more emphasis on math and the sciences. My bias is for the arts. I was overcome with validation when he spoke of social skills. He did his stint in Silicon Valley where met plenty of people with high level technical skills, high level degrees, but no social skills. These were the employees he hid from the clients. I really warmed up to him when he said he knew people who never went to college, but had people skills. These were the people he felt comfortable sending off to meet any Fortune 500 CEO.

Senator Ring went on to say that the next Google or the next [legal] Napster is sitting in a classroom today. Real estate is old news. Home grown enrepreneurs are what this and every community need to prosper.

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