Our cheer of the year — just to date — belongs to the South Florida Museum and the School District of Manatee County for partnering on a ground-breaking adventure for tots. The real praise here, though, belongs to a district administrator with a transformational vision — in which she performed a simple task, asking if pre-kindergarteners could attend school daily in a museum. Ever heard of that?
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Robin Thompson did both, likely making the sweetest drink youngsters could hope for. The museum is a boundless history lesson. And more.
As the school district’s director of early learning, Thompson simply sent the museum’s director of education, Jeff Rogers, an email. Ballard Elementary School, not far from the museum, had too many students — no classrooms left for the youngest of the young because of student reassignments to elementaries.
After receiving that email from Thompson, Rogers — he’s an education master, so how could he not agree? — took the idea to the boss, and that, within hours, got the green light.
That’s impressive. On many counts.
The South Florida Museum is embarking on a $12 million conversion that will most prominently feature a children’s wing. This “museum of the future” with house a hands-on learning center concentrating on science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM disciplines driving contemporary education. Ground-breaking is scheduled for next summer.
Cheers, once again, to Robin Thompson. And to Jeff Rogers. And the South Florida Museum.
Congress still doing nothing
Can Congress accomplish anything other than meaningless legislation?
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, aimed at fighting the nationwide heroin and fentanyl edpidemic that is a huge problem in Manatee County, was passed and then signed into law by President Obama in late July. Few resources came with that bill, a fiarly toothless and worthless attempt to deal with a problem.
This week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio assailed his fellow senators to come up with adequate money to combat this. Will his letter to member of the Senate Appropriations Committee gain traction?
If the debate over Zika funding is any indication, the answer to the heroin bill is no. Florida’s congressional delegation, including Rubio, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) and others have been clamoring for funding for Zika prevention and research, but members of Congress from elsewhere in the country want money for their hometown projects. Sound familiar?
The public’s disapproval rating of Congress has remained mostly under 20 percent for more than five years, with a “high” of 24 percent in Gallup’s May 5-8, 2011, poll and a low of 9 percent in Nov. 7-10.
Events keep proving these public opinions of our leaders are well deserved.
Quote of the week
“I think heroism is courage beyond consequences.”
— Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston, speaking at the Tribute to Heroes memorial service for first responders held annually around 9/11.