On July 16th New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant posted on his Facebook page that: “Education is the best investment we can make to ensure that we have economic growth in the long term and it also happens to be the best social equalizer.”
The quality of schools, and in turn public education, has often been measured, calculated and studied in any number of ways including class sizes, literacy percentages, public funding received, and graduation rates. Frequently this practice simply tells the story from the outside in and not the inside out.
What can get lost in the process is discovering what engages learners, what motivates and inspires them. Favourite subjects and teachers will always be important, but nowadays other factors must be considered. Modern classroom environments, outdoor education opportunities, experiential learning connections, equipped community mentors, character development initiatives and co-operative approaches to project-based curriculum are all contributing factors to a great school experience for students, teachers and families alike.
Even before graduation that experience can contribute to the community’s flourishing. An increased pride of place, community identification, and sense of self and ownership can inspire entrepreneurs, increase respect and engagement between young and old, and encourage practices that enhance the natural environment. Movement toward social equalization and resilience begins. These outcomes do not even account for what the facility itself can offer to the local population.
An inviting, bright, contemporary and accessible public school encourages the community to make it its own. Seniors clubs, non-profits, and volunteer associations have a new place to gather and meet. Sports teams, afterschool programs and outdoor clubs have a place to grow and play together.
Inspiring education during the school day leads to greater interest in the school for other purposes.
The education of children, youth and young adults no longer happens solely during regular business hours ten months of the year. Summer camps and programming offer a wide variety of ways for kids to learn new skills and enjoy new experiences, some with technology but many without personal devices. A great school becomes a hub of activity throughout the calendar year.
The economic benefits of a great school begin with the students but don’t end there. The intended benefits of inspiring and equipping each student with the best skills, abilities, aptitudes and character to find meaningful and gainful employment in the world are fundamental. This is the human capital investment that governments often highlight.
There are also the economic benefits that come from teachers and staff living in the community where they work, like needing a place to live. In addition to having a place to call home, there are the day-to-day transactions—grabbing a coffee on break, getting a couple things at the grocery store, going out after a long workweek—that benefit the local service economy. Then there is the job creation that can come from the school being a year-round hub of activity.
There is also the attractiveness of a great school to people from beyond the community. The kind of schools that are available for the children of potential new employees in a business operation can be a deal maker or breaker.
People will move to a new place if a great school is ready to welcome their children.
A great school that benefits the whole community is the principal goal of the movement that is Sackville Schools 2020. Read about the possibilities on our website.