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Well, we’re back….did you miss us? Our apologies for not coming out January 10th before making the transition to the first of this month, but we couldn’t make the turnaround happen faster. The extra breathing time has helped renew us, and we’re eager to get back to the business of bringing you the arts and lifestyle possibilities in the Hudson Valley…as we have been since July 2007.

Supposedly everything will be different this year, now that we have new governance in the state capital and U.S. House of Representatives, who apparently have the immediate goal of repealing last year’s health care bill with what’s called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law,” or some such. I’m trying to get my head around this level of sloganeering: just how does not being turned down for insurance due to a pre-existing condition kill a job? How does a program that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says will cut the deficit by billions over the next ten years kill a job? It takes some twisted projections to make the connection here. Or maybe they’re talking about jobs we could do without, like the insurers who use contract technicalities to refuse a claim, or double/triple premiums whenever they feel like it. Now I could get behind killing those jobs.

No, once again we are being tested. Democracy truly does require an informed citizenry to survive and flourish, and despite the abundance of information available—thanks to cable and satellite TV, the internet—the majority of us seem to be becoming less informed by the day. Rather than seeking news from reputable and journalistically balanced sources we tend more towards looking for sources that reinforce our already developed beliefs, which divides us further. There doesn’t seem to be a market for honest journalism these days, as news sources become more dependent on corporations for their survival. And corporations operate for their own welfare, not for the benefit of providing people with “the truth.”

This is where the importance of education really comes into play. An understanding of history helps one see the larger picture of what’s going on in the world now; understanding math and science has never been more important as energy needs rise, and we steadily become more of a threat to the planet that sustains us. Exposure to the arts gets right to the true meaning of humanity and society: who we are, what we want to say, what we all share. Without some kind of education to help process it, all the information available out there becomes noise that can then be fashioned into weapons, wedges that can easily be used to keep us fearful of each other, mistrustful.

We’re pretty big on education over here at Roll, coming from families of teachers—one of us was actually a teacher for many years (hint: it’s not me). And we’ve had quite a variety of experiences: preparatory school, Northern and Southern public schools, teacher’s college, universities, Sudbury, BOCES. We’ve been grateful for what we got from all of them: the education, of course, but also self-discipline and motivation, social skills by working with others, and the ability to learn even more. And maybe we’re crazy, but we think the world could use some more educated people out there, paying attention to current events, sifting through the data, making their voices heard. And voting.

So here’s our education issue, just in time for Spring! I’ve tried to maintain an educational theme throughout this issue, and we are truly fortunate that we have some really wonderful schools around the Hudson Valley to share with you. In our own way, we try to make sure every issue is an “educational issue.” We certainly hope longtime readers have learned a thing or two reading Roll. We’ve definitely learned a thing or two writing it.

Happy 2011 to you, Dear Reader! We’re looking forward to bringing you more in the coming year, with more enhanced coverage online, our peerless events listings, and even more of the great artists and happenings in the area. And remember: we now come out the first of every month; deadline for listings is the 15th.

Ross Rice, Editor

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