Sunday, February 22, 2015

Every Kid in a Park



I do not think it is appropriate to bring up another social program in a time when the nation is in a crisis over terrorism. This being said, it would be ideal for children to go to national parks. It is important that children are outdoors and can learn from this experience. Obama’s initiative aims to connect kids with the environment by offering 4th graders and their families free admission to national parks. Low-income neighborhoods will receive free transportation to the parks called “Ticket to Ride”. This program will most likely grant priority to over families that do not have 4th graders and kids coming from middle class neighborhoods. The problem with this social program is that the government gets to decide who benefits and who does not. Keep in mind that some of these non-benefiting families have planned and saved for years (it can take years to get a camping reservation at some of the more popular parks) and will not get this benefit.

Questions:
What do you think of this new initiative?
Is it the government’s job to "raise" people’s children, as some parents may not find going to a national park important?

3 comments:

Valerie Chen said...

I believe that it's very important for kids, and really, people of all ages, to go out and explore nature. I understand that there's a lot about this initiative that might not be ideal; the guidelines for who benefits from it being one of them. Many people are also opposed to social programs like these because they feel that the money could be put to better, more practical use (e.g. welfare). However, I think that $45 million and the question of equality for qualification are relatively small considerations when we look at the overall goal: to encourage the youngest generation to explore nature, exercise, and be outside. I think it'll help make for a happier, healthier generation also.

Elias Bermeo said...

Of course having more kids experience the nation's natural beauty sounds great. Future generation's having greater respect for the environment is something to strive for, and while I like the idea of this proposal, it seems a little bit idealistic. There will always be the question of whether or not the money could be put to better use, but putting this question aside there are still some other issues. I don't know if this will incentivize travel to national parks all that much. Free admission is only part of the cost of visiting national parks. Unless a family lives right by a national park and can easily spend the day at one, there are presumably costs of transportation and lodging that could deter families. On the flip side, there is the extra assistance to lower income families provided through this proposal which may have a positive impact. All in all, I am in favor of moves like this to remedy an evident social issue. I think that a few years after it is implemented we might be able to gauge the impact of this program and make any alterations or add in other programs in order to achieve the goal of getting more children/families out exploring and experiencing nature.

Netta Wang 7 said...

I have to agree with Valerie on this issue. I think Obama made a smart move in 1. acknowledging the need for more outdoor activity in this generation and 2. in targeting a specific group of people (4th grade students and their families) because it effectively encourages younger kids to explore the outdoors while still not creating an extremely costly or complicated ordeal. As the article mentions, young Americans are now spending an average of more than 7 hours a day to electronic media use, and that exposing children at around 9 years of age to nature establishes a "connection to the environment that lasts through adulthood". Granted, the article only says this information came from "social research" and I'm not really sure how they derived that statistic, but if it is true, I think Obama's plan can be very promising.