A recent issue of the issue of the monthly newsletter from ALATFF (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations) cites these twelve ways libraries are good for the country. They are:
1. Libraries sustain democracy
2. Libraries break down barriers
3. Libraries level the playing field
4. Libraries value the individual
5. Libraries nourish creativity
6. Libraries open young minds
7. Libraries return high dividends
8. Libraries build communities
9. Libraries support families
10. Libraries build technology skills
11. Libraries offer sanctuary
12. Libraries preserve the past
Couldn't the same be said about schools?
Why is it so hard to get towns, counties, states and federal governments to make schools and children a priority?
Every day another school district announces budget shortfalls, freezes, cutbacks. What can the districts do? They just don't have the money. We need to make the money available. Haven't we already learned where we get with such short-sighted thinking?
One of my students at Manhattan Country School, more than 20 years ago, suggested that we fund schools first, and if there isn't enough money to buy bombers, let the military have a bakesale. I later saw that sentiment on a tee-shirt, but I was there when nine year old Asha invented it on her own.
When the military budget was expected to be 708.2 billion dollars for 2011 and expected to rise by 3.6% for 2012 (according to the United States Department of Defense Budget Request) and education budgets are being slashed from 137.6 billion dollars in 2009 to 77.8 billion dollars in 2011 (according to the Education Department Budget Summary) what's the message about what's important to this nation?
Isn't it time we listen to Asha? While we still can?