Saturday, June 29, 2013
School cuts hurt the children the most
Despite the deficit, our School Committee accepted plans for the new Innovation School. From what I understand, these students will be receiving art, music, and physical education weekly as well as smaller class sizes. This is to serve as an "experiment" to see if it will raise student performance? I think we all know the outcome of that one. If we cannot provide the basics to all of our children then why are we paying for this extra school at all? From an outsider's perspective it seems to me that Gomes will become a building of haves and have-nots.
I have watched the morale drop amongst our teachers who seem to be bearing much of the blame for problems in our system. Teachers are expected not only to each our children everything they need to pass the MCAS exam, but they are also expected to teach their students manners, responsibility and self-discipline, too. They don't get paid for all the extra time they put into their profession outside of the school day. Contrary to what some believe, they do not get paid in the summer! This is money that they have already earned but chose to defer! Because of the hiring process in our city, I have also watched many very dedicated and talented teachers lose out because they did not have seniority when their positions were cut.
From my perspective as a parent, this was the situation before these new drastic cuts. Now our community is faced with the unimaginable. Undoubtedly, classrooms will close and add to the overcrowding in many of our schools. My son will enter first grade in September with a projected class size of 33 students. That would be 33 6-year-olds in one room in a year that will be the foundation for their success with reading. Teachers will be expected to raise student performance in the classroom with larger numbers and fewer resources than they have now. Our children who need more of a challenge in the classroom will continue to receive nothing but will serve as fantastic tutors for those who need extra help! Many have defended the lack of advanced classes in the middle schools and believe that each child can be challenged in a completely blended classroom regardless of the different abilities. I invite them to sit in a classroom for a day and watch a teacher try to fully challenge all 30 kids to reach their highest potential.
My husband and I have always been very proud to be New Bedford High graduates and feel that our education has served us well in life. When people ask me where we will send our daughter after middle school, I always defend our choice to send her to the high school, believing that there are still many opportunities there. Despite the decline in previous years, I have been hopeful that the arts would experience a rebirth so that my children could experience everything that I had when I was a student in the city. These cuts will change everything.
Our teachers and principals have a daunting job ahead of them. I know that many will work hard to offer our kids the best under the current circumstances. But will that be enough? Our children don't get a second shot at their education. For the first time, it saddens me to say that I am not sure that keeping my children in the New Bedford Public Schools District is the right choice for my family.
Posted by NBEA