So what about the Children?
Children today seem to be victims of so many issues over which they have no control whatsoever. And yet they, according the the prescription of life, continue to grow up and become whatever they become. But what determines the important aspects of their time? During the school year children have little option but to attend their hours of schooling. Most children start school in the morning and return home in the afternoon. Depending on the time of year, there is still some discretionary time left in their day to get outside and enjoy some physical activity.
Again, depending on their age, some of them might be active in other organized programs such as clubs and/or sports. Still others, and this depends more on the parents than anything else, may have only their home time to spend after school. Whether or not a parent is home after the schooling hours has something to do with how that time is spent. With parents home, the children might have a snack and work on homework or practice a musical instrument or just play....either outside or on the computer or with computer games. With a parent not at home, due to work or whatever, the child might engage in similar activities.
Parents of younger children generally keep close tabs on their little ones more than those of older children. Since children over age 12 can be left alone without parental supervision for longer periods of time after school, the activities of those children might become a bit different. According to my sources---neighborhood kids--this is generally the time kids get into mischief. That mischief can take many forms, but the one most disconcerting to me was the experimentation with the family alcohol stash, which generally is unlocked and unmonitored. The cigarette experimentation can also take place at this time, but generally does not take place at home as access to cigarettes and other tobacco enties
All summer long Children have "home" time. How that time is filled again depends on the adults in charge. In my area, children still seem to flock together, play games in yards, share dolls and other toys such as Webkinz,stay overnight at each other's homes and in general, have a very open play time. Some children might have a bit more scheduled agenda with swimming lessons and summer Bible School, plus the usual family vacation to the beach or mountains for a week or two. But what actually happens during the daytime with these children each and every day of the summer?
With little doubt, most of them are not applying their nearly three months of out of school time to improving themselves to enter the next grade. Is it really any wonder our schools trail behind other countries in student learning? There is irrefutable research that children lose a great deal of their learning over the summer, requiring much review on their return in the fall. Would it not be much better for all concerned if there were year around school with frequent breaks for vacation time? With only two week breaks, children would retain a great deal more of what they learn, have time to take vacations with their families at different times of the year, have built-in times for remediation and/or excelleration programs and not be left idle and bored or usurped by mindless television and/or video games.
This is not to say children do not need time just to play and be themselves, but a rationing of this time would make a great deal more sense and be much more productive for all concerned. Except, maybe for the summertime children amusement parks, that is. On the other hand, with frequent breaks in the schooling schedule and possible shorter hours of learning in the summer, or even possible "shifts" for schooling, even that industry would possibly see benefits.
If we could all cooperate in dispelling the agrarian calendar in favor of a more modern consideration of a calendar we could provide better child care, observance and performance on the part of all. It might even make that time that parents plan to spend with their children much more affirmative.
Okay. The schools have a levy on the ballot. What does that mean to you? This is one of those "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" situations. Where you stand may depend on where you sit. Someone said that, and it makes a little bit of sense. What are the factors involving those seemingly ever present school levies? And how should you view them as a home owner?
First of all the part about where you stand and sit.....If you have school aged children, you are most likely very concerned about the quality of the education your children receive. Grandparents have many times a similar concern about their grandchildren. They only want the very best for their beautiful little charges. And yet many times parents of school-aged children are operating on pretty tight budgets and grandparents are many times on a fixed income.
On the other hand, if you do not have children or your children are all through school, the school quality is not of as great a concern to you as perhaps that of parents or grandparents. Of course they should be of concern to everyone to an extent, becasue after all, those children in school right now will be the ones running the businesses, hospitals and (good grief) nursing homes and eldercare facilities that we will may be frequenting in the future. And of course, there is always that age-old argument involving the value of property. As the schools go, so goes the community. This may be an old adage, but it pretty much holds true. Good schools---good community support---good place to live.
Okay, so schools are important to all of us, but why those continuous levies? Schools are the vicitims of a funding fiasco in Ohio. The method used to fund schools is incredibly complex, inefficient and inequitable. For years the schools in Ohio have struggled to get the funding system changed. In fact, at one point they won a lawsuit against the state to have the system changed. Yep, the Supreme Court of Ohio ordered the legislature to change the system of funding. But the legislature simply didn't respond to the order. Did anything happen? Well, the made a few minor changes in this or that, but no substantive changes were made.
Schools are cursed or condemned or some other unforgiveable verb which means they have no choice but to frequently return to voters to simply maintain a reasonable operating level. How can that be? Well, as stated earlier, the system is complex, so trying to make this understandable will be a bit obtuse, but in a nutshell, the funding is set up in such a way as to continually "roll back" funds for schools to adjust to inflation. So, even though costs for food, books, supplies, and electricity may go up, salaries may rise, gasoline costs increase, requirements for schools increase, etc., the amount of dollars a district receives remains the same.
It is only logical that at some point in time, a school will require additional funds and they have absolutely no other option but to get that funding through a vote. Increases at the state level are seldom, if ever, sufficient to cover the increase in costs.
So there you have it. Schools, just like many of its constituents, operate on nearly fixed budgets. When the costs exceed the income, money has to be obtained from some source.....or cuts will need to be made. Some will argue some cuts are necessary. This may or may not be true. What is clear is that our Ohio system of school funding is and has been broken for at least the last 32 years. Until or unless some new system of funding is determined and implemented, schools will continue to be forced to place levies and issues on the ballot.
Should you vote for or against the school levy? You have my perspective...now the choice is yours.
Seems everyone you talk to has a different opinion about basements. One person said no matter how you cut it, it is still a hole in the ground. In Ohio it is becoming ever more popular to "finish" off the basement into a liveable area.
Some finish off basements for the children so they will have a good place to store all those toys, mini homes, dolls, cars, etc. and to play with them. Seems logical. Others finish off the basement so the teens will have a place to but their technological toys, music, computers, tvs, etc., as well as have a place to meet with their friends in a safe place. Yet others see that basement living space for a bar for adults or perhaps a great place for a pool table or perhaps a very grown up media room complete with staggered and staged reclining chairs--with cup holders of course.
Still others see the basement as a place primarily suited for storage. Or others as a great place for a work shop, laundry, or general work area. For these, finishing off a basement is needless.
And the storm/tornado fearing element see basements as yet a haven of safety. Weather broadcasters recommend people find the lowest level in the home in the case of a possible high wind situation. Personally, I don't remember ever going to the basement when there is a storm. I am far too curious. I want to watch the lightening and hear the thunder and see the hail and/or rain. Not a good idea, and curiosity supposedly killed the cat.
Realtors long argued that finished basement area should be considered as liveable space in a house listing. After a great deal of debate, our MLS finally decided to allow two home measurements.....one determined as space above grade as indicated by the auditor....and space that is actually considered finished for living....as in a finished basement. There is still debate about egress and walk-out and windowless basements.
All the reasons to spend time in a basement are probably totally legitimate, but I do not like basements. The idea of a very efficient under-ground home totally turns me off. I like the sunshine and open areas, and windows...all those more or less inefficient (energy-wise) types of things. But basements are not my favorite place, no matter how beautifully it is finished. I must agree with those who think it is a hole in the ground. Ha.
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