A word on education and childcare

In recent years, Johnson State College has been focused on recruiting and retention as a means to boost income and pull the college out of a downward financial spiral, but I think at this point it needs to broaden its demographic, and rebrand to out-of-state students. Let’s face it, Vermont is not producing enough high school graduates who are ready to continue their education, and until Vt. can provide young children ages 0-5 with quality child care, we may not find enough high school graduates in the area to replenish our ranks.

The high school graduation rate in Vt. is currently 86.6 percent, which is higher than the national average according to the Vt. Agency of Education, but of that 86.6 percent, only 52 percent continue to college.

Lindsay Brown’s article (page 11) on the lack of resources for early childhood development/education in Vt. brings to light one of the main issues here at JSC. With fewer children entering the public school system prepared for kindergarten, it really amounts to fewer children leaving the K-12 school system prepared for higher education. There aren’t enough quality childcare providers in the state of Vt. to allow for the early learning and skill development that children need to boost their vocabulary and prepare themselves for the future.

It’s astounding to learn that 90 percent of the brain is developed by age 5 and, taking that into account, to see what parents are teaching their children before that age, especially with the technology driven age we are living in today.

I look at my 6-year-old cousin, and all of the early schooling she has recieved in New York, as well as how she interacts with people, especially the older generations, and I am amazed.

When it comes to technology, she has shown my grandparents how to run certain games on their iPads, and beats them at a few. Granted she hates to lose and sometimes resorts to changing the rules to win, but still, she seems far more developed than some of the children I have met at elementary schools in this area.

Vt. needs to start focusing on the education of younger generations to boost the intelligence of the populace, eventually creating young adults who are ready to move on to higher education, and who enter the workforce prepared to compete for resources and boost the economy rather than holding menial, low-paying jobs attained straight out of high school for their entire lives.

This also poses the question of whether the state has a large enough job pool to support students graduating from college, or if students are looking out of state, and therefore not contributing to Vt.’s economy either way.

I know that when I graduate, I won’t find many options in the field of photojournalism here. It’s just too small a state with not enough news and/or magazine outlets to support the incoming workforce. Vt. really needs to work on increasing the quality of the child care system in the state as well as the job market, if it wants to better equip future generations for success without forcing them to move away from their home towns to do so.

Retaining Vt.’s youth is critical for the state’s economy.

In the long run, better child care would benefit the Vt. colleges, and eventually the Vt. workforce, therefore helping us all live richer lives.

-Kayla Friedrich, Editor in Chief