#Editorial #OurVoice #MichaelHallisey #SpotlightNews
This town has an auspicious reputation, but it’s one that can overshadow the need of so many of our residents.
Within Albany County, Bethlehem is in good company. Our school district ranks among the best in the nation. The districts within Albany’s suburbs are, too, ranked among the best performing classes, year after year. That is why we often see young families moving into our town, to help provide their children with the best public education. It is, afterall, a promise for a bright and better future.
We see the accolades bestowed upon our local school districts each year, and it reaches a point where we start become complacent to the efforts behind such success. There is hard work on both staff and students to achieve such results. The level of education these students receive, from grade school on to high school are at marvelous levels. The present-day market no longer values a high school diploma as much as it did decades ago. However, what has been learned by each student to earn that document dwarfs those past educations. Scoff what you will about our younger generations not being able to write or read cursive. Though you may artfully be able to scribe the letter “q” with such precision, you’re hard pressed to negotiate your home computer. That home computer is a vital tool in today’s society. As kids go on to pursue their lifelong careers, knowing how to use a computer is a prerequisite before stepping off in cap and gown.
Supplying our kids with the tools to succeed in this world is the prime directive that defines public education. Criticize how you may the standards in which today’s students are measured. Perhaps they don’t mirror the same standards you recall from your own childhood. Our world, however, is different. The world for which our children prepare vastly differs the one we worked towards; they also are planning to navigate through an environment you and I are only starting to figure out. Our science and math programs were once established to push our best, young minds towards a space program that would take us to the moon and beyond. That was forty years ago. Today, science, technology and math are still vital pillars in our children’s studies, but it goes towards improving the environment here. Let’s also not fail to mention that the occupations that were once abundant no longer exist.
It takes a village to raise a child. It was true hundreds of years ago and it remains true today. We do it most commonly by paying our taxes. Those of us who are not parents still work towards that cause. But, there are those who take it one step further.
In this week’s edition, we cover the story of how Bethlehem’s Senior Services Department helped stuff backpacks of much needed school supplies. There intend to have these supplies go to students whose families are financially disadvantaged. In our economy, as grocery bills and other necessities continue to rise, there are only a few dollars a week that separates those who manage to get by and those in need. Recent studies show more people are toeing that line. To see our local residents getting together on this effort is a story worth sharing each and every week.
We commend the Town of Bethlehem, its Senior Services Department, the YMCA and the numerous volunteers from local churches who organized this effort to help their community. We can have the best school district. We can have the best town services. They are nothing without compassionate residents like these who help their fellow neighbors.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.