Saturday, January 30, 2010

Peter Kaufman's Letter to the Editor 01/27/10: Be Educated for Education's Sake

Anyone who travels through New Paltz these days will no doubt see the signs-o-doom prophesizing a debt of $100 million dollars if we pass the resolution for the New Paltz Middle School renovations. One hundred million dollars is no doubt a lot of money. (Or is it...according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, that's barely enough money to fund a little more than three hours of our government's war on terror. But I digress.) I think most of us would think twice about burdening current and future taxpayers with this debt. But as we pass by these signs, how many of us actually know where this figure came from and how it was calculated?

It's ironic that one of the main goals of education is to teach children to think critically, to analyze data and to learn how to make informed decisions after weighing various options. And yet, the opponents of the middle school renovation plan are hoping that the voters are un-critical, non-analytical, and un-informed. In effect they want us to be uneducated voters. Their signs-o-doom are classic examples of scare tactics, fear mongering and irresponsible propaganda that are intended to sway voters during these times of economic uncertainty.

With about two weeks left before the vote there is still plenty of time to get informed about this issue. Anyone who is reading the letters in the New Paltz Times is at least intrigued to hear what the community is saying. Having read all of the articles, all of the letters and all of the pro and con websites, it is undoubtedly clear to me that now is the time to renovate the New Paltz Middle School. After weighing all of the information presented for and against the resolution, I find the arguments favoring renovation to be the most plausible, the most credible and the most convincing. For the sake of our children and our community please vote YES on Feb. 9, 2010.

Peter Kaufman
New Paltz

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