Educating Our Youth

July 15th, 1995
Article #174

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It is imperative that cultural literacy, that is, an awareness of a community's history and current day influences shaping the environment, be nurtured in the classroom as early as the elementary level.

Information presented as part of standard curricula, such as social studies or environmental education, provides a foundation for future decision makers. Such education prepares citizens for assuming responsible citizenship and environmental stewardship. The immediate environment of the neighborhood becomes a learning laboratory, a living textbook for the history and culture that shapes a place and a community.

Planning commissioners and other lay board members can provide the insights of their rich experience to motivate local school boards and systems to incorporate and infuse knowledge of the built environment into existing curricula.

The current reform and restructuring of education nationwide presents an opportunity for providing direct community input to persuade local school authorities and other decision makers of the importance of built environment education. The value of educating our young people and listening to their concerns is irrefutable. Our decisions shape the communities that our children will inherit. They will make their decisions based on the foundation that we leave them. What we do today delimits their options for tomorrow. ...

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