Dear City Councilors,
I am an elementary art teacher in our district. Honestly, I cannot comprehend the city councilor’s reasoning. Our schools are suffering from inept financial management that was not caused by the New Bedford teachers or their students. Yet we still have to bear the brunt of someone’s incompetence. I guess when you have little knowledge of what it actually takes to teach children, your mind set is geared toward assumptions. I will not bring up that old adage.
Place yourselves in our shoes for one day. This is what you will experience: huge class sizes, teaching without books, discipline problems, buying our own supplies, children with learning difficulties, minimal planning time, working at home until all hoursplanning for the next day, the Arts-once every two weeks for 45 minutes! Are you kidding me? New Bedford is the only district that provides so little art/ music time for their students. How do you expect the children of New Bedford to succeed?
It has been proven countless times, when the students experience a lot of the Arts-all students, not a chosen few, Mcas scores are raised because the child’s critical thinking abilities improve. In the course of creating a piece of art, children explore many different possible solutions to any given problem. These choices demonstrate the child’s insight and artistry. So many of my students are visual thinkers and need the arts to feel successful. Art represents a child’s perception of his world. He is showing us what he feels, thinks and sees. The art piece becomes an extension of that child. How can you take this power away from our students?
Why not reconsider the Innovative school proposal at this time? It just doesn’t make sense to fund a school that takes a huge amount of funds off the New Bedford school’s budget when so many teachers will lose their jobs. This is one of the blunders I was referring to earlier in this letter. Why not just hire more music and art teachers so all children may benefit equally? I’m sure it would be more cost efficient. Your actions make me think you may want this district to become a level 4. Prove us wrong and do not decimate our school district any further.
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” John F. Kennedy
Please reconsider your actions.
Sheila Sweeney Medeiros