Thursday, June 14, 2012

On my children's education...

This blog post is not genealogy related.  I'm sorry to disappoint my genealogy readers, but this is just one of those days when something else is on my mind, invading my thoughts, and overwhelming me that I simply need to get it out of my system.  Lucky for you, that involves jotting my thoughts via this blog.

Let me say first of all, I love the small town that I live in.  And actually, I don't necessarily even really believe it's a small town.  I grew up in a REALLY small town...an INSANELY small town.  But where I live now has a small town feel to it.  I can walk comfortably from my house to the library, or up to the corner ice cream stand...and probably pass more than a handful of people that I know personally to have a quick hello and conversation with.  Our kids probably go to school together at the local elementary.  This is why I live where I do.  I love this town, and I love my kids' school.

The elementary school where 2 of my kids go reminds me so much of the school that I grew up in, and in the past 8 years since we moved here and sent our oldest off to the school for pre-K, I've gotten to know pretty much most of the staff that is over there.  My oldest is now at the middle school, but my youngest is only finishing up kindergarten...I still have 5 more years to continue growing with our little school!

I've heard it described as "the gem of the community".  I believe that to be an accurate description.  When asked where I live, and I respond that I'm in Hamburg, near Charlotte Avenue, the immediate response is, "Oh!  Great little school!"  or "You're so lucky to be able to send your kids there!" It's not a wealthy school.  It's not a state of the art brand new school.  It's your typical neighborhood, family-friendly school building whose kids and parents take great pride in being a part of.

All this to say, this amazing elementary school is also part of a larger system.  A system that consists of 3 other surrounding elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school that form our school district.  A school district in a town I love, but a school district that is slowly killing themselves at the risk of our children's education.

The other night I went to my first school board meeting.  I've wanted to go before now, but (lame excuse time) either I wasn't really that interested at the time, or once I did become interested there were schedule conflicts that prevented me from attending.  But this meeting I had marked on my calendar, I made certain that there were no conflicting plans with the family, and I was determined to be there.

I sit here still in dismay and disbelief at what I witnessed.

This was the last meeting before there begins an ever so slight "shift" with a new school board member coming on next month.  Perhaps also a new school board president.  This was also the first meeting since our community passed our school board's proposed budget.  A budget that cuts staff, which effects programs, which effects our kids.  I knew all of this going in.  So why was I still surprised?

I choose to send my children to public school because deep down I really do believe in public education.  I will always believe in it.  A private education is not an option for my family, and neither is home-schooling.  I pay school taxes either way, and I am a parent who believes that the money I pay should directly affect my child's education in a positive manner.

As a parent and as a member of this community, I have chosen to become informed and become involved in my child's education.  I can no longer sit by and assume that the individuals this community has elected to serve on the school board will make the best decisions for my children's education.  This school board needs to be held accountable and I, for one, intend to be someone they will have to answer to for their choices.

C.

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