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Letter: Investing in education helps entire community

Investing in education helps entire community

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a well-known saying whose provenance has been variously attributed to some African or Native American village. Whatever its origin, as with any proverb, its simplicity gives concrete expression to a commonplace truth that is grounded in human experience. So having recently entered into the grandchild phase of my life, I am wondering if this proverb – given urbanization, the mobility of our society, mass media and now social media – has any validity for my grandchildren. In other words, does the village, a clustered community ranging up to perhaps a few thousand people, still exist for those living in a metropolitan area? And if so, where might this experience occur for them?

Virtual communities just don’t cut it. And whereas churches offer some sense of belonging and guidance for life, active membership typically involves at most a few hours a week, clearly not enough to significantly contribute to the raising of a child. No, it seems to me that there is only one place in and through which children are clustered into a community that helps to educate, guide and shape them during the most formative years of their lives – school.

For 10 months a year, approximately seven hours a day, five days a week, our children come together in our schools to be educated, exercised and to socially interact. This means that the bus drivers, staff and especially the faculty are the de facto community that continues to fulfill the essential “village” role in the raising of our children. It follows that to invest in our teachers and schools is to invest in both the present and future well-being of our children as well as our communities. All of which leaves me wondering: Has Gov. Andrew Cuomo ever heard of this proverb?

Michael Sherry

Orchard Park