I am writing this in response to the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board’s recent editorial directed in response to the “racism” card allegedly played by Allen Sánchez of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops. Racism is one of those words that ignites a lot of emotional feeling and sometimes using less than direct statements does that too, like, “He then appeared to soften those comments. …”
The editorial board didn’t actually say, “he softened the comments.” They just implied it and led the reader to that conclusion. They could easily have said, “he then clarified those comments as institutional and systemic racism” and cited the long-term disparities between minority children and non-minority children in the state. The editorial board goes on to agree with Sanchez on the existing gap and the obligation. They just don’t address why we have the disparities.
The devil is certainly in the details. Stirring up the facts and figures and 25-year projections of annual earnings and beyond. Really! I mean, our Congress is authorizing our federal government weeks at a time. What the supporters of the redirection of some interest from the Land Grant Permanent Find are asking won’t deplete or stop the fund’s growth. It might take longer to get to $20 billion. Or interest rates can skyrocket, mortgage rates can pop, another home building bubble can burst and we can be there next month or next year? But our families will be in even more despair as they can’t afford milk or gas. We’ve been there, haven’t we?
Interest rates can drop and not enough funds, or interest rates can rise, but we protected the principal in conservative investments so funds didn’t quite keep up with inflation. I am sure each side can get a dozen different projections from a dozen different economists and still be wrong. I went to the World’s Fair when I was a boy, and you know the SUV I drive now is supposed to be flying me to work.
What I do know is the infants and toddlers of today will be the parents, doctors, legislators and teachers 25 years from now, and our lack of investment in them now might explain in 25 years the continued discussion and excuses for not addressing the fund’s usage. Let’s agree that we do need to do a major overhaul of childcare, parent and public education and invest more today in our children – or, rather than jeopardize the fund for future generations, we will have a big fund with many more billions, but a society that just doesn’t know how to invest it for prosperity, unless that is already the case?
What could we do to reverse the disparities? Yes, strengthen the early childhood development services, create universal access to childcare, improve educational programs that strengthen the educators in those programs and in our schools. We could decrease the size of classes, decrease the size of schools, we can stop educating our children on a schedule designed for the 19th Century. We could ask the taxpayer to pay their fair share to ensure the cardio-surgeon knows where the heart is when we are on the operating table in 25 years.
Both sides are right, both sides are asking us to invest in the future. Both sides want to fix past mistakes. Is the future our children or is it a big wad of cash? The wad is not big enough for the serious fixes we need, yet our society has more than abundant wealth. I guess it’s that sharing thing that we didn’t learn in early childhood development years ago, that is coming back to haunt us?