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Wrong plan for child care

Muhammad Ali Hasan

Vail CO, ColoradoI do not support the early-childhood-development programs that our good Board of County Commissioners approved for funding a few weeks ago. I support helping our children, but there are bigger issues that need to be tackled first. The early-childhood-development programs have been passed, if I’m to understand correctly, because the commissioners want our county to become more proactive in developing the self-esteem and talents of our children.If motivation, self-esteem, and talent are the elements we are cultivating within our children, then our money can be much better spent on initiatives that would empower multiple intelligence curricula. As a former candidate for a master’s in the arts of teaching degree, I was fortunate enough to spend over a year working as a tyro-teacher in East Los Angeles, where I served at Franklin High School. Around 80 percent of the students received a free lunch (free school lunch is a representation of poverty rates), in addition to around 55 percent of the students not claiming fluent proficiency in the language of English. I miss my job there because I fell deeply in love with the children I taught. The notion that we have to spend large amounts of money in order to properly develop the children of economically disadvantaged backgrounds is one I reject. Despite the environment of single-parent homes and gang activity, I came away deeply impressed with the 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-graders I taught. The children of the school were multi-talented, worked well together, and created a familial atmosphere in which protection of one another was of the highest virtue. What created a sense of self-worth and love within the children I taught were the activities that empowered and engaged them. Extracurricular activities like theater, singing, arts, and/or sports provided outlets for the students to express themselves in ways that the classrooms constricted. In turn, we must understand that the children of today claim amazing strengths. They are team players who can perform, give speeches, write poetry, and express feelings in innovative ways that our system is not taking advantage of. The weakness within today’s children, though, is their inability to individually sit alone at a desk, remain quiet, and listen for eight straight hours. These are the abilities that our current system of education most caters toward, and such abilities are no longer beneficial in our new, interconnected economy. In effect, our nation is propagating an education system that empowers introverted learners who are good at working alone, while it alienates all others. As a filmmaker and entrepreneur, I know that success in today’s world is directly dependent upon one’s ability to work well with others, in addition to cultivating teams. After all, effective teams can tackle much more work than one effective individual. Sadly, our education system has yet to catch on to this phenomenon. It was Howard Gardener who authored the multiple intelligence theory in showing that human beings claim various forms of learning, including visual, auditory, tactile, interpersonal (extroverted), and intrapersonal (introverted), among others. If Eagle County officials truly want to empower our children, then they ought to work with our county school district in allocating funds that will introduce multiple intelligence curricula into our county schools. County funds could be spent to train current and future teachers, under the jurisdiction of the school district, in guaranteeing that no learning style is left behind. Quite frankly, the costs of workshopping our teachers would be minimal, yet highly useful. Thus, if our county desires to become more proactive in cultivating the development of our children, then the outlets our commissioners have selected need to change. If we are to become revolutionary in the development of children, then the introduction of multiple intelligence curricula, where teachers work as facilitators, not disciplinarians, and students are looked upon as teams, not alienated individuals, is the finest step our good county could take. Universal day-cares, among other funded items, strongly address the burdens of new parents, not the development of our kids. Granted, preschools do help our children’s development, but multiple intelligence curricula would go much further in addressing thorough childhood development because it would be infused into all K-12 curriculum, not just concentrated into the pre-school years. If our commissioners mainly sought to relieve the stresses of child raising among our citizens, then they did a fine job of passing the current legislation; but their goal was to develop children as well, not simply provide relief to new and/or economically-disadvantaged parents. On a personal note, I was disheartened to see that such legislation was pushed by our good commissioner, Arn Menconi. Aside from catching air on the Moonshine pipe over at the Beav’, my favorite snowboarding tradition is giving my old boards away to the Snowboard Outreach Society, a great group that Menconi and his wife started that helps at-risk youth by introducing them to snowboarding, acceptance, and love. Commissioner Menconi has a great background of extracurricular and multiple intelligence empowerment, a background that could have been used more effectively in crafting legislation that would have helped the development of our children. Others will chide that educational issues remain causes that ought to be addressed by the county school district, not our commissioners. Personally, I celebrate the fact that we have a proactive commissioner like Arn Menconi who empowers we voters with the option of executing proposed solutions that will tackle problems, even if outside of county responsibility. However, executing such solutions without voter approval is not an example of proactivity; it is a strong form of disrespect. I wish Commissioner Menconi’s good activism had led to something great for our county. Sadly, the end result finds one supporting the recall of a public official who was excellent in his proactivity but impudent in his decision-making. May peace and love be upon you all!Muhammad Ali Hasan is a resident of Beaver Creek.


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