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Educators have to think about more than teaching

Back-to-school season just feels a little different this year.

It really isn’t one thing but instead a myriad of issues that will likely continue to create challenges for public education this school year and many more to come.

And I’m not just talking about the fact that I have daughters going into third and fifth grades who are, officially or not, definitely “tweens.”

Culturally, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that things have changed, and it certainly starts with the fear we will see more horrific school shootings like those that devastated Marshall County, Kentucky, and Lakeland, Florida, just to name a couple.

Here in Kentucky, the climate is certainly different after last year’s unpleasant public battles over the teacher pension system and Gov. Matt Bevin’s toxic attitude toward teachers.

This fight is far from over.

One positive is, as individual communities, we are truly seeing stronger bonds and rallying effort to support our teachers.

There are certainly some good things on the horizon as education is finally getting some much-needed attention from lawmakers and the public.

Another concern has been all the recent horror stories about how students graduating college are buried in mountains of student loan debt. This is certainly something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

No one knows exactly how to fix the challenges impacting our entire educational system, from pre-K to college.

What would a complete overhaul of our education system look like?

That is very difficult to project but it may be time we start to consider.

How do we help our teachers do their jobs? How do we afford more?

Do brick and mortar facilities go away entirely?

Would it be possible to create scholarship programs that allow every student to get some form of higher education or technical training at no cost? Promise scholarships along those lines work very well in many communities on a small scale.

Are we spending enough money on security? If we quadruple our spending would it make a difference and keep our children safer?

These are all interesting questions. They are also very tough ones to which determine the answers.

It will be interesting to see how this issue progresses in the coming months.

Mike Caldwell is publisher of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. He can be reached at mike.caldwell@jessaminejournal.com.