News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
1st June 2010

Fifty pounds of flesh

posted in Education, Money Matters, school committee |

I just got home from another marathon school budget hearing (4.5 hours) with the words of speaker Sharyn Hardy Gallagher, president of the Friends of Lowell High School, ringing in my ears: “It’s our kids who have lost 50 pounds of flesh in this process.”

Sharyn was speaking to the school committee “as a concerned taxpayer” about the steady erosion of school services, programs and staffing over the last five years. Like me, she has witnessed the decline firsthand through the eyes of her children, with the younger child experiencing less school programs and staff than the older sibling.

Saddest of all are the student speakers, who simply ask us to provide them with a good education, not understanding the power plays, grandstanding, and eleventh-hour machinations. Whatever language you use to describe the adult game of chicken about who is going to give up what or pay how much to make sure our children get a decent education, it is the students who bear that pain firsthand. Collateral damage, of course, is for those who lose their jobs, and those who continue to live in a community that does not make educating its young a priority.

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