Thursday, April 25, 2024

What Do We Owe the Young Men and Women of Stratford?

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By Ted Van Griethuysen

What Do We Owe the Young Men and Women of Stratford?

By Ted Van Griethuysen

What do we owe the young men and women of Stratford? Here we are–some of us have had our shot, but most are still slogging along trying to do the work, make the money, support our families and those young people who will come after us. What do we owe them?

This question comes to mind in relation to two things that are happening in Stratford at this time. I don’t think much relation is felt between them, but a relation exists. On the one hand there’s a certain amount of busy talk about a “culture” center–and black boxes—and its possible place on the property once occupied by the Shakespeare Theatre. Then there’s something else which, while related, is of far greater significance. What brings them together is that troublesome word “culture.” What is it and what has it to do with those young men and young women who will come along after us, those who in their own way, though differently from us, lived through Uvalde and Parkland? What part may the education system of Stratford play in it?

First, the Stratford Board of Education, which looks like it could use some education itself, should do everything it can to include the young men and young women attending school in Stratford, and their immediate families. Ask them what they want, what they need, and don’t tell them. Listen as if your life depended upon it because it does. Whatever future we may have rests in their hands.

The same could be said about a culture center. If there is one, what do the people of Stratford want it to be? I have been told, and by a trusted source, that an effort has been made to determine what the people of Stratford want. Though I believe in the sincerity of the source—a trusted one as I said – I believe the inquiry could be more extensive. Has it been asked of the young men and young women—the boys and girls– who are attending the schools of Stratford? And their teachers? They are presently shaping lives. I am sure the Board of Education understands. Perhaps, though, they could be more in touch.

Of immediate concern, however, is the matter of Dr. Osunde. It has shamefully, gone on far too long. The judiciary of New Haven has spoken. The man, who is as human as all the rest of us, has a job to do, the job he was chosen to do, and the job he is more than adequately prepared for. Using that enjoinder one hears so often, and usefully, in England – just get on with it.

Stratford is a lovely place to live, and it is well to remember how far back in time it began. There were, in those days, men and women to remember, the forerunners of the men and women of today. Among them was Benjamin Franklin. While he hadn’t much notably to do with Stratford, he certainly cared about education, and the future of education is the substance of this letter. 

Here are three things he said about it:

          “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

           “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”

           “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Just get on with it.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Finally, the voice of reason. This senseless needless and preposterous inquisition needs to end. Politics aside I heartily agree get on with it. There are so many subjects that need attending to, let’s cut through the nonsense and move on. Stratford deserves better than all the pettiness and undercurrent of mumbo jumbo concerning the present superintendent of schools. Our students also deserve teachers whose hands are not tied to the current culture of decline in the commonsense practice of kindness and affection for all human beings. If a child asks for a hug from another human being it should not be seen as anything but an act of caring and compassion. Have we really sunk this low that human kindness and concern are thought of as evil??

    • Thank you for you comments. Yes, as the Town of Stratford and a diverse community we owe it to our students to lead by example with common sense, kindness and affection.

  2. Yes, we, as a community need to know our schools and the kinds of programs they offer, how the budget will affect or eliminate those programs, and how that will affect the students. Thanks to The Crier for keeping us informed.
    Next, we need to express our thoughts and desires to our government representatives and, most important, remember who deserves our support on election day and who doesn’t.

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