The question about a new school has become a divisive topic among citizens of Brunswick.

Some people want a new school, and property taxes will be greatly increased. There are people who cannot afford higher property taxes and who instead want to look at the education process and not simply new buildings.

Many elderly people who are on fixed incomes will be hurt financially if their property taxes are increased any amount. Elderly people possess life’s wisdom about life’s experiences. Why would we ignore the elderly? They have much for us to learn from!

Some people do not seem to be concerned about increased taxes or the welfare of the elderly.

The cry is the age old, “our children are our future.” This has been said by every generation for as long as memory allows us to recall.

Yet, the violence, wars, increasing social problems, racial tensions, environmental degradation, health concerns, joblessness, corruption and incompetence are worse than ever.

So while we request a new school, shouldn’t we be assessing the education process and determine if it has been helpful to the entire society or if this type of education is really a limiting indoctrination based more on memory exercises with its sole purpose of universalizing thought and behavior patterns while perpetuating an economic system that is only beneficial to the small percentage of extremely wealthy people who are referred to as the “1 percent”?

Many people want to talk about a new school, yet almost no one wants to discuss the education process. Much criticism has been leveled against public education in general. Read John Taylor Gatto who won teacher of the year three times in New York. Read Daniel Cottom, J. Krishnamurti and many others.

Are the numerous societal ills that get worse every generation a result of how we function as a society? Is how we function due to how we think? Is how we think related to what we learn and how we learn, as well as what we don’t learn?

We want to think Brunswick is an exception to this educational system that is criticized. However, the citizens of Bellingham, Washington probably feel the same about their schools.

I think we need to look at our past and determine if we have learned anything or if we are simply repeating the same set of problems without truly resolving any of these long-time social and environmental ills that seem to grow like a cancer.

There are people going through the motions and applauding themselves for their alleged accomplishments. There are people asking, “Does anyone have the courage to acknowledge that nothing substantial is being done that is worthy of any praise?”

The latter question was presented at a human service seminar I once attended at Villanova University, which included 400 administrative employees. The applause quickly spread among the entire group.

If children are our future, have parents learned to properly prepare the children? Have we developed a more in-depth understanding about a variety of subjects and problems? Are “popular” versions of an issue the only ones we give attention to? The old saying, “The truth is less believed than the lies of the emperor” seems true many times.

Are we only concerned with our children getting a “good job”? Are we concerned about our children maintaining their humanity, integrity, compassion and empathy for others, as well as understanding the truth behind so many social and environmental problems? Is cooperation more important than competition? Will our children understand themselves? The phrase, “Know thyself” isn’t simply a phrase from a bible.

Great teachers knew whole populations of people could be easily led astray and lose connection to their real selves. Regaining that connection and attempting to truly understand how one’s mind works is an ongoing undertaking.

I have spoken to only two families who home school their children. The variations of public education might only be superficially different.

It seems like this entire school issue is being treated as a shopping trip to the local mall while using other people’s money. It appears as child’s play where some people “want their way” without a more in-depth understanding of other people, the past, present, future and themselves. Hopefully, we do not continue to repeat the past thus compounding the problems which seem unsolvable with barely lip service given to the numerous conflicts of our society.

I think we need to give a priority to basic life support systems; Good soil, healthy food, pure water, clean air and healthy, inquisitive minds of all ages. Thinking independently and holistically is an excellent lesson for children on how to use their creative skills and their intuition while also discovering that their ideas are valid and welcome.

Joseph Ciarrocca
Brunswick