I was having coffee with Moe (my lovely bride of 37 years) this morning at 5:00 a.m., as is our custom. We were discussing this first day of the 2014-15 school year. Moe asked if I could recall my first day of school ever and it occurred to me that today marked my 50th first day of school in a row.
On the first day of school 50 years ago I entered first grade under the loving and powerful influence of Miss Nell Flores (who happened to have also been my dad's first grade teacher 19 years earlier). Miss Nell gave me the gift of reading, a gift for which I could never repay her in kind.
From that moment on I have been blessed to have partaken in the first day of school as a public school student, as a college student, as a teacher, as a principal, as a superintendent, and as a professor.
What an amazing country we live in that has taken on the challenge of educating EVERY child. I believe the very life and sustainability of this nation depends upon an educated electorate. In recent years, I've been perplexed at the assault on public education from political quarters which have, frankly, surprised me a bit. It seems to me that a fully educated electorate serves all political parties well (other than those who lean toward the political extremes of dictatorships and communism).
Education IS the ticket to a better life, regardless of one's current station in life. I, and many like me, serve as a case in point. We simply must preserve the opportunity for every child from every family to receive a free and quality education, if we truly value the ideals upon which this great nation was founded.
Looking forward to that 51st first day of school now (but not before we touch and improve the lives of millions of young people during this school year).