Many times in this weekly post I have opined that the education of all our children is our most important nationally priority. I frequently get chastised on SJI for supporting a system of public education that is perceived as weak and inadequate. There is no doubt in my mind that our public education system is our best path to the ideals that our Founding Fathers dreamed and that we commemorated on Sunday.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest lasting war in our history and our enemy is fewer than 100 according to General Petraeus. We are a country of immigrants yet we cannot agree on how to reform our broken immigration laws. We elected an African American President and soon we will have three women on the Supreme Court for the first time in our history. We are living up to the ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence. And for that we should stand proud.
On July 4, we celebrated the renewal of our belief: “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There will be no happiness in America unless we provide a 21st Century education to all our children—immigrant, female, male, rich, poor, special need, gifted and talented, artistic, homeless, itinerant, emotionally disturbed, blind or deaf. And we must not do it on the cheap or we will all pay dearly.
Yes, we are the only country that has handicapped parking places at the entrance of an ice skating rink and Braille instructions at a drive-up ATM. That is why we are America, that is why we are unique in the world and that is exactly what Thomas Jefferson wanted to accomplish with that bold Declaration.
I walked down to the beach at Seacape on Sunday at 9pm with friends and relatives to witness a panoply of illegal fireworks that provided incredible colors on the ocean waters. One friend estimated dollars spent at this pyrotechnic celebration in 4 miles of beachhead was in the millions. If we can blow-up millions in minutes on July 4 we must find a way to balance our state’s budget without shorting our schools.