To The Editor:
I know I will probably take a lot of criticism for this letter but sometimes you just have to write what you feel. Right now I’m not feeling very good about Washington as a community.
When I moved to the area in 1982 I fell in love with the city of Washington. It was picturesque in my mind. It seemed to have it all. It was a center of commerce. It was clean and the people kept up their houses. It had lots of activities for its citizens to get involved with. Above all, it had great schools with an excellent reputation (both parochial and public). It was the “diamond” of Franklin County as far as I was concerned. I decided to live here.
This past Tuesday (Election Day) has left a nasty taste in my mouth. I am very disappointed in the outcome of the school issues. Washington is so progressive it seems as we look at expanding the city limits. We are looking at improving the local highways . . . Highway A, Highway 47 and look at what we have done with Highway 100, also a new bridge is in the works. Downtown Washington continues to revitalize itself. New businesses are moving into the community, both retail and industrial enterprises. Our health care facilities are excellent. There are so many positive things to be proud of yet when it comes to our public school system we are lacking.
How is it that our culture has changed? Does the majority now believe that a strong public school system is something that just happens? Have we become an “old codger community”? Do we really want to deny our young people the opportunities they need and must have to be successful when they enter the work force or go on to higher education?
I see neighboring communities making infrastructure improvements and building new schools to make themselves attractive to new citizens and businesses. I have to wonder what is going on with the folks in our community. I know I have heard the arguments . . . “We didn’t have air conditioning when I was in school.” . . . “Why do they need all the computers and technology?” . . . “What do they need a new building for?” It is a different day and age in which we live. It is expected when students graduate from school they know about computers and how to use those computers in everyday life. Buildings and technology are expensive. We must step up and provide for our young people.
I suppose we will muddle along. As long as our kids know how to do a little ciphering they will be OK. I can hear our city’s director of development telling a new prospective business looking to move to Washington . . . “and oh, by the way, we have a ‘so so’ school system. It isn’t the best, but the kids get by.”
The issue all boils down to this, everybody wants a first-class school system but nobody wants to pay for it. I guess we (Washington) will be known as the city with the “first-class” Fair and the “second-class” schools.
My “diamond” of Franklin County isn’t as bright as it used to be. I’ve probably said more than I should have but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!