Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not Just Money

For Jerry Maguire it was all about “show me the money.” That’s not the way
we operate. Certainly, we struggle with funding, and we are guided by
balanced budgets, but we are not driven by profit.

Our mission is to serve our community by educating every child; it is not to
generate excess revenue, especially at the expense of our mission. Today, I
would like to share with you the educational component of our International

There have been discussions on how much the program will cost, where the
revenue comes from and how much the program will bring into the district in
terms of tuition. I have attempted to provide an open and transparent look at
the financial side of the program.

What may be getting lost in this discussion are the educational benefits a strong International program brings to the School District of Janesville. All of our partners – administration, staff, students, parents and our community stand to benefit from this exceptional undertaking. As I write this today, Fritz Elsen, Craig High School Social Studies teacher, and a group of students are in China soaking up that nation’s culture and sharing their experience at the Global Economic Summit. We are building multiple bridges academically as well as an aggressive technology partnership that will enhance our International program here in Janesville; both for International students studying in our district and Janesville-area students immersed in International studies.

If we are not involved in this undertaking strictly for the money, then why?

There are several reasons. If we focus on Chinese alone, we know that Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more people in the world than any other language. It is the official language of China and Taiwan. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations. China is a world power. As we provide educational opportunities for our students that prepare them for a world beyond our district’s boundary, the study of China, its culture
and language, is a necessary component of that preparation.

What better opportunity can we provide out students than to be able to study, side-by-side, with Chinese students? The academic benefits to our students in this program far outweigh the resources we are prepared to invest. Students from all over the world enrich our lives.

I provide this discussion knowing that funding cannot be overlooked. The administration does not move forward with any programs without a focused discussion on costs, revenues and benefits. In the case of our International Education Program, and the Chinese component specifically, we see a tremendous opportunity to broaden our academic offerings to better prepare our students for a global environment. The fact that we may be able to self fund the program while increasing enrollment is a big plus, but it’s not the only reason to move forward. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Yes, Jerry Maguire wants to see the money. So do we. But we are most interested in educational opportunities for our students as we continue to serve our community by educating every child, and prepare our students for exciting and challenging global opportunities.

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