I intend to vote in favor of the revised Ferndale School District levy, but I do so with caution.
I expect that ten years from now, we will look back on 2019 as a time at least as strange as the 1920s and 30s were to me growing up in the 1960s and listening to my parents and grandparents talk about pre-war America.
I don’t expect schools in 2030 to be anything like schools in 2019. And I expect the population of Whatcom County and Ferndale School District to be far different than it is today or was a few years ago.
I worked from home on Waschke Road for a New York City corporation. My bosses and peers were folks living in Brooklyn and Manhattan. My official office was on the Seattle east side and about half the team I managed was spread between Olympia and Everett. The other half was in New York, Hyderabad, Prague, London, Chicago, and a half dozen other places I’ve forgotten. But my home address has always been in Whatcom County, my working office in the farmhouse my grandfather built.
I get together with a group of software architects on Friday afternoon/evenings to share gossip over a glass of beer. (Fringe Jam IPA for me, thank you.) We are in every U.S. time zone. Most of these old crabs are field architects who used to spend their working weeks in offices or on the road visiting sites. I was a leading indicator, a product architect working remotely from home most of the time. Now, we all work from home.
In the day, I had to twist arms to get permission to work from home. Now people are ordered to work from home. Companies all over the country are ordering or allowing their employees to work remotely.
They are not going back.
They’re buying houses in places like Ferndale and driving up property values. There’s good and bad in that; it’s a reality to deal with (insider tip: there is no remote beer).
We hear about the horrors of remote school. Griping always gets a platform. If you look carefully, there are growing pains, but also success stories. My grandchildren were all homeschooled before covid-19, using remote learning facilities. After COVID-19, I don’t expect them ever to be cooped up in the traditional classrooms that many of us secretly, or not-so-secretly hated.
Schools will change. I hope the Ferndale school board has the wisdom to get in front of the curve instead of building a facility for the previous decade’s schooling model.
When the first goat shows up at the rodeo, the smart cowboys learn to rope goats. COVID-19 may be the first goat, but I’ll take bets it’s not the last. Plan for the future, not the past.
Vote for the levy, the kids deserve the best, but insist that the money is used for the future, not a monument to times past.
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