Passion for Politics: A Community blog

Whether it's local, state, or federal government, follow high school student Karissa Swartz and see that the future leaders of America have a say in politics too.

Cuts in Budget Cut Dreams

Written by Karissa Swartz, Community blogger | Jun 23, 2012 5:05 PM

Juice boxes, nap time, and crayons. Story time after recess. Birthdays and cupcakes. Reading and trying to spell the word "cat". Remember your first day of kindergarten? These memories may never exist for some in the Harrisburg school district. Why? Two words: budget cuts.

Everyone has been hearing about the budget cuts in the news—often now most people will just roll their eyes, because these two words have become so jaded. The government is cutting this, and cutting that. Public schools are trying to stay afloat. For some, these articles of news are not much more than mere statistics. It doesn't affect them, so why bother getting upset over it?

This new piece of news is hitting home for more people: that the Harrisburg school district may be forced to cut athletics, extracurricular activities, band, and worst of all, kindergarten.

Kindergarten. When a child's education officially begins. The age that the anticipation of learning starts. For five and six-year-olds, school and learning are exciting. Now Harrisburg might be forced to take that away because of money.

Of course parents are outraged, and with good reason. All the years of planning that were poured into giving their children the best they possibly could all comes down to this. These parents realize that kindergarten, although filled with much fun and not particularly challenging for most, is a crucial year in a child's education. If this year is skipped, that child's education could be pushed back a year, if not more.

What about athletics, and band, and extracurricular activities? From a parent's perspective, all these activities are important to the growth and formation of their children. Some families dedicate their weekends and ultimately a large portion of their lives in order to watch and support their children who are involved with athletics and band. Countless hours of discipline go into practice and rehearsal, and for some, this is the only way to obtain their dreams of attending a college.

What about from a high school student's perspective? Not only are these students upset just like their parents, but they are downcast. They see their dreams dashed in front of them. For some, these extracurricular activities were the only things keeping them off the streets and out of drugs. Now these students are left with no programs to pursue, and it would not be surprising if the gangs gained a few more members this fall.

I know a young man who goes to Harrisburg High. He is funny and outgoing, and very dedicated to whatever he does. Most importantly though, he has a dream. A big dream. This dream is to become a United States Marine, and he has already started training and preparing. But what will he be left with when all the activities that helped him succeed are taken away? Will he be forced to look for other activities in the streets? So many young people are gifted, and if these programs are erased, so are their dreams.

So, be grateful for the years you've had in school, pursuing activities and programs that brought you and other students in your community together. Remember the fun you had, the opportunities you were presented with, and the insight you gained from these experiences. Then remember a young boy or girl, standing by the bus stop all ready to start his or her school career, and having the bus never come. Think about a young potential Marine with a desire to be the best at everything. Then think about the future of these kids. And then think of something that can be done to stop the destruction of childhood dreams.

Published in Passion for Politics: A Young Person?s Perspective - A community blog

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