Opinion

Answer the call and support the Mercer Island Schools Foundation

Ralph Young
Island Forum

“It takes a whole village to raise a child” couldn’t ring more true than with today’s educational system and the need for community involvement. This old African proverb is certainly applicable to Mercer Island, and it is the spirit of cooperation and involvement that most resonates with me as I think about the work of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation and our upcoming Phone-a-Thon.

The world around us is changing and the demand for educational transformation is upon us. This changing world will require a new workforce for tomorrow, driven by increasing global integration, demographic change and technological innovation. The children on Mercer Island will require additional skills to compete in the 21st century: critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with others. To this end, the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, in partnership with the school district, teachers and the community, is tasked with ensuring that our kids have the necessary resources to acquire these skills.

The educational model in place today in our schools and the schools across the United States was developed for the Industrial Revolution. This model focused on the skills needed in the past, not the emerging cognitive, global and digital world of tomorrow. Our schools need your help to ensure that our classrooms evolve, our kids are engaged in learning and our teachers have the opportunity to further develop their teaching skills.

Our state ranks 46th in the United States in terms of school funding. This is not sufficient to ensure that our kids get the education they deserve to realize their potential. Over the years, the response to this by the Mercer Island community is inspiring. Over $9.2 million in donations has been raised since the Foundation was created 27 years ago. Last year alone, the Foundation raised over $839,000 to help the educational process across all of the schools on the Island. Without your support, this would not be possible. In order to maintain the great legacy that education on the Island has earned over the years and to improve on this base, we need to prioritize our charitable giving in a way that allows for this needed educational transformation.

The Mercer Island Schools Foundation is made up of volunteers who believe in public education. We are committed to generating the additional funding required to place Mercer Island schools at the top of the list when it comes to providing a rich, engaging, educational experience for our youth. Thank you for your ongoing support. I know that the economic indicators say that this year will not be the most robust in terms of disposable income, but I know most of you believe, as I do, that our kids deserve the best. Please contribute to the fullest extent possible when our volunteers call you this Monday and Tuesday evening, Oct. 27 and 28. This investment in our children’s future will be one of the most important investments that you will make this year.

Ralph Young is the co-president of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation.

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