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Elected SC better

9/20/05; Letter to the Editor, by Margaret Gilsenberg, Chair, Citywide Parent Council

I would like to respond to the article entitled “Do School Boards Give Up Too Much” in the Wednesday, Sept. 14, edition of The Sun.  This is another thinly-veiled attempt by The Sun to move Lowell toward an appointed school board by criticizing the ability of school committee members to negotiate with the union.  First of all, the school committees are not fixed entities; the members are accountable to the voters every two years.  Our mayor (Armand Mercier) seems to think this is a bad thing, but I think it is called democracy.  It is this very accountability that will be lost if the school board is appointed by city hall.  Furthermore, I take issue with the mayor’s statement that “some of (the committee members) are there because they have kids in the system.  That’s all well-intended, but is that the best way to run the school department?”  This is absurd!  Is the mayor suggesting that people are less qualified to be on the school committee because they have children in the schools?  I resent the implication that concerned and involved parents are not equal to the task of holding public office.  The system works because our school committee gets advice from the superintendent and from its lawyer; members do not have to be labor experts or attorneys; they just have to want what is best for the school system and to be willing to work hard to achieve that goal.

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