Restore The Foreign Exchange Program
The School Board made a very unfortunate decision at their Feb. 23rd meeting. During the 2015-2016 school year, there will be no foreign exchange student program. There have got to be many superior options available to cut the CCPS budget. In this day and age, nativism seems to be at a high, and some demagogic politicians at the national and state levels seek to encourage and capitalize on this trend. The opportunities given by the exchange program include numerous intangible benefits that can’t be measured in dollar figures. In addition to promoting tolerance and multiculturalism, it has many practical benefits. It is incredibly practical and enriching to be exposed to different religions, cultural mores, food recipes, languages, among other things. I hope in the future we will be able to send far more Americans overseas for study abroad educational opportunities, as well! Language skills and understanding of our global, universal identity is more important now than ever for success.
The U.S. Presidential election has already become a major news topic even though it will not occur for another year and eight months. The first primaries for it won’t be held until nearly ten months from now. However, in Virginia this November, there will be crucially important local elections for local offices. It is far easier to make a difference in municipal elections. No doubt that many readers will recall that in 2007, Robina Bouffault defeated Chip Schutte by only a single vote, 443 to 442 in total, for the White Post district School Board seat. The best way to get the foreign exchange student program restored will have to include making it an issue in the School Board elections and therefore applying pressure on members who desire to keep their seats.
William Bigelow, Berryville