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Ask tough questions... then vote!

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By Paul Krey

Will you vote Nov. 4? Within 11 weeks we will have another presidential election, deciding the direction of our country and the influences it will have on the world. The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that less than 64 percent of registered voters actually voted in the 2004 election, or six out of every 10 registered voters. The numbers decrease as the elections become more intimate at the state, county and city levels. Why so few? Can our vote make a difference?

Yes. For example, think about our local school boards and you’ll agree one vote can make a difference. This elected position may be our most important vote each election. Your vote could be the difference in the direction, culture and future of the local educational system. Local school boards control the vision, standards, accountability, assessment, budget and curriculum of what our children learn from grades K-12. Even without children in the school system, each vote expresses how we want to incorporate thoughts and ideas in our educational system.

Though our Kentucky educational standards are rising, we are becoming less competitive compared across our nation or the world. Today’s growing trends of new innovations, patents, and technological advancements are coming from Europe and the Far East. Foreign countries like China and India realize the value and importance of skilled and educated people to sustain their growing economies.

In this fast-paced global economy, where information changes continuously, we must raise the educational bar to increase creativity and innovation. Nine states have formed an educational partnership to infuse 21st Century skills and creativity back into their educational systems, and the results indicate a higher quality student.

Graduating seniors and K-12 students will require real-world abilities to rapidly process information, work together in teams, learn other languages, communicate with each other, and be creative in addressing and resolving future challenges. It would be optimal for us to develop a competitive philosophy that successfully prepares our children for employment and/or higher education in the world of tomorrow, be it 2008 or 2018.

Your vote does count, your voice can be heard, and enough voters can turn any election. Become involved, ask tough questions, attend meetings, and follow-up on your issues. It’s only a vote - one vote - but it can make a world of difference. Mark the calendar, remind a neighbor and make an impact.

We have fought many wars for our freedoms. Remember to exercise yours Nov. 4