Cincinnati: We Have More Issues than Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton

We are a few weeks away from Election Day and many of us are keenly aware of the candidates we’ll be voting for, but not necessarily the issues we’ll be supporting. I sit on the Board of Directors at Beech Acres Parenting Center. I think it’s important that I share my background and opinion about a very important issue on the ballot this November.

As a child, I didn’t know that my family didn’t have much. I took lots of trips to the public library, public parks, rode my bike and roller skates, cooked things from scratch with my Mom, and spent lots of time outside with my friends until the street lights came on. I was happy and had a happy family.

I remember consuming Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, GooseBumps, Sweet Valley High, and every book by Roald Dahl at such alarming rates that no parent, especially mine, could have kept up with that level of voracious book consumption without access to the Toledo Public Library. And after I outgrew the public playground equipment at Ottawa Park, near my parents home in Toledo, I rode my bike on the trails. Even today, I jog the trails to clear my mind whenever I visit my father.

I attended a very small church preschool then an equally as small Catholic grade school. How my father put 5 children through Catholic school, I have no idea. He sacrificed, worked overtime, and walked many miles to work for years when our family car broke down. He valued education above all else and access to high quality public schooling wasn’t available within our city limits.

My father’s union-backed refinery job from 40 years ago isn’t around anymore. Many of today’s parents barely make a living wage, let alone have enough to pay for frills like education. As they should, most parents rely on public education and it should have the highest possible standard imaginable. Feeding young minds isn’t a frill and education shouldn’t have a dividing line between the haves and have nots. Every child should have an equal opportunity, equal access, and it should be available to the entire public through our public school systems.

To my friends in Cincinnati,

Have you ever been to a city or public park that wasn’t well manicured or a library that was in complete disarray? Our Great Parks have an Adopt-a-Tree program where for $800 you get a legacy tree with a plaque. Our libraries have multiple ways to give the gift of literacy. The Queen City has consistently ranked amongst the top 10 for our parks and library. Why? Their levies passed and private donors believed enough to give.

Have you seen the disparity though between the educated and undereducated? Cincinnati’s poverty level is almost twice the national average and nearly half of our children fall below the poverty line.

It is time to fix this. It’s time to fill the gaps. It’s time to put up or shut up. Our fellow humans need more. They need more than a hashtag of support. They need a check mark and a bubble filled on a voting ballot.

Our schools need more. Our children need more, more time in the classroom from an earlier age with a well paid and well qualified early childhood education professional. You, my dearies, are the private donors our public schools need and you have the ability to pass a levy to give our children more.

Issue 44 is a levy backed by the United Way, Cincinnati Enquirer, Beech Acres Parenting Center, Jewish Community Relations Council, 4C for Children, Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce, and many others. You have an opportunity to give children more of what they need, including a preschool education.

We’ve given them lots of books to read and fabulous parks to play in. For less money than it takes to plant a tree in Ault Park, you can close the achievement gap, the wage gap, and educate a generation of young Cincinnatians. You’ll also remove the Hobson’s choice offered to most parents of not working or paying for exorbitantly expensive childcare. Let’s give our children a strong start for a strong future by voting yes on Issue 44.

Respectfully,

Candice

#VoteFor44 #Cincinnati #StrongStartStrongFuture

#WaitingForSuperman #BeechAcres #ElectionDay

Huffington Post: Issue 44

Research: Investing in Our Future

Endorsement: Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board