State parks could be considered part of the state's education system.  They provide interpretive centers, nature trails, historic preservation, environmental education and much more.  

Often park budgets are cut in the name of education because they are not "schools."  In Washington State, there is a constitutional mandate that "education is the paramount duty of state government."  It is assumed that this means schools, but who says it has to be that?

If the tax revenue pie doesn't grow, mandates for school funding can decimate budgets of other state services such as parks and health districts.  Couldn't these services all be considered educational?  For instance preventative health education.  

Maybe the best way to help the schools, and education, is to make all of society an educational experience.  

The school can not function in isolation when the rest of society is "dumbed down and just focused on making a buck."  Both kids and adults should be immersed in an educational society.  We should be funding arts, science, recreation, health and other good things.  If nothing else, at least it provides destinations for "class field trips;" thus helping the schools.

One such educational resource, provided by a state park that occasionally finds itself on the cutting block, is the Goldendale Observatory.  I visited that during my 1999 bicycle trip around Washington State.  

Before visiting the observatory, I was intrigued this old garage in town.

Universe of Imagination
or just another garage




From the east, it looked like another boring garage in small town America.   A berg where making motel beds is the most inspiring career listed on job boards. Walk around to the other side.

This was part of a mural painted on west side of garage, by kids and other townsfolk.  They were inspired by the observatory near their town.  

Like medieval surfs uplifted with a cathedral, residents of Goldendale, Washington have painted something more interesting than a local filling station. 

That's one good thing about space exploration.  It creates more interesting endeavors than just survival.  NASA, and other programs that inspire our curiosity, are great assets to a learned society.

There is nothing wrong with flipping burgers after one gets out of school with an advanced degree, but let's not forget that we live in a fantastic universe.  It's food for thought.

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