Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 26, 2012

County Council should approve Horizon alliance

— I commend the Elkhart County Commissioners and the schools of Elkhart County who are supporting the Horizon Education Alliance. Some of the strongest and most innovative economic areas of our country have largely escaped the recession. These are the areas of the country that have the best educational opportunities. They pioneer more creative businesses and create more jobs. Elkhart County would have more stable job opportunities if we had a more diverse economic base. Education opportunities are an essential component in achieving the needed creative entrepreneurship as well as a well-prepared work force.

We have good schools. However, we still experience a significant dropout rate — a sad waste of lives and potential. Too often we pay more by providing prison space for those who drop out of school. The Alliance will reduce dropouts by getting children better prepared for school. The Alliance will help adults be productive citizens with the skills they need to fill increasingly complex work skills. The plan works hand-in-hand with schools to help with good parenting, as well as more varied, innovative, and coordinated educational opportunities for all ages.

The Horizon Education Alliance is a pioneering win-win concept that promises to greatly enhance the human capital of our area. Creative planning has gone into making this dream a possibility. While the majority of funding will come from businesses, individuals and foundations, the County Commissioners want to commit a small portion of funds from landfill revenues to this important community effort. Unfortunately, there are a few outspoken naysayers who apparently feel that improving educational opportunities would be a bad thing. For better learning opportunities and a more vibrant and creative business environment, please make it obvious to the County Council that the majority supports this effort.

Encourage your County Council to approve this on Friday.

 — Marvin Bartel