In order to ensure a smarter and greener world, we must not allow our under-funded schools to get in the way of education.
The words irony and irresponsibility comes to mind when I think of Philadelphia’s strive to be a world-class city. On one hand you have the chief executive, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, traveling the globe trying to lure companies and their teams to the nation’s fifth largest city. And on the other, you have the eighth largest School District in the country begging for crumbs every time it opens its pitiful mouth to speak.
I consider myself a global citizen, and I concern myself with the affairs and events taking place beyond the corrupt and dilapidated walls of Philadelphia. Such awareness of international innovations makes it hard for me to stomach the injustice that I see plaguing the more than 100,000 Philadelphia public school students; who unlike their counterparts in India and Ireland, aren’t treated to education for sustainable development or models that develop their analytic, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Across the world, despite strapped school budgets, lessons about climate change are making their way into the classroom. Ingrid Jung, coordinator of an international sustainability education project at the German development agency GIZ, is quoted in a New York Times piece as saying:
“Globally, teachers understand that the topic is very important, and they are eager to teach it.”
I’m hopeful instructors in Philadelphia are eager to teach climate change as well, considering Pennsylvania is the number two state in toxic air, and air pollution killed nearly 7 million people worldwide in 2012. But as it looks currently, Philly schools can barely opens its doors, let alone afford to purchase any new content-rich knowledge-goods from service providers.
A report published two days ago by Philly.com says:
“Without a $216 million cash infusion, the Philadelphia School District faces yet another unthinkable situation in September – class sizes as big as 41, layoffs of more than 1,000 employees, and further cuts to special education services, nurses, and other basics already in short supply.”
In the post, Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of Schools, said:
“Short of that $216 million, our schools will go from insufficient to empty shells that do not represent what I consider a functioning school.”
It seems as if Charles Anderson, a professor of teacher education at Michigan State University, was right when he told the New York Time’s Beth Gardiner that:
“The number of students who will not get education on climate change because of the financial and lack of adequate curriculum and teacher training issues is much larger than the number who will not get education on climate change because somebody in the legislature opposes it.”
That statement, while true, breaks my heart. There’s just no excuse – ever – to not educate a child with the crucial information needed for their survival. Education for sustainability in the early years is a valued, yet under-practiced field. Early childhood education lays a social and physical foundation for development and lifelong learning. It’s our goal at Techbook Online to use animation and images – like the ones found in our new interactive comic Techbooks – to foster values, attitudes, skills and behaviors that support environmental advancement.
The Time’s Beth Gardiner was correct when she wrote:
“Schools, advocates say, can play an important role in fighting climate change by teaching young people greener habits and creating a generation of voters who will back measures to cut carbon dioxide pollution.”
While schools do play a huge role, we can’t forget the power of the home. Parents need to set aside time – either after dinner or before bed – to talk with their children about climate change and the things they can do as a family every day to limit their emissions.
For nearly four years Techbook Online has invested in research and development in order to provide the market with fully functioning educational products that works seamlessly across devices and platforms. We are proud to present “Climate Change: Causes & Effects™,” and “What Rashaun Learned While Greening His Community’s Garden,” a visually stunning, quick, and fun read about composting and the important role of earthworms.
I encourage you to download these EBooks today and sit with your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, and friends, and have a meaningful conversation about environmental advancement. Just because the schools in our cities are unable to provide relevant content, doesn’t mean our communities should be deprived of knowledge and access. Remember; don’t allow your schooling to interfere with your education.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Photo: Lucid Nightmare/Flickr