So, this will be my final post on my blog. The goal of my blog was to help me communicate my thoughts/reasoning to my constituents and to hear thoughts/questions/suggestions from my constituents, and therefore it doesn't make any sense for me to continue with my blog since I am no longer a member of the School Committee. I am going to keep my blog up - as requested by several readers who appreciated the research/facts now available on this blog - but I won't have any new posts, nor will I allow any comments to be posted (as of midnight tonight).
I want to thank all of the people who have expressed support for my efforts on the SC over the last three years. I have been truly touched by the emails and calls and letters I've received over the last few weeks, since announcing my decision not to run, and I thank all of those who have expressed such support. I was extremely touched by the lovely words from Marylou Theilman, former SC member, at last night's Regional SC meeting - and by the letters she had sought from Senators Kerry and Brown congratulating me on my service!
I congratulate Katherine Appy on her election to the SC, and hope that members of both the Amherst and Regional SCs will work on making the types of changes in our schools that many people in this town still want (even though they may be even more silent now). In particular, we need to improve elementary math, understand why our per pupil costs are so much higher than those in other districts, objectively evaluate the effectiveness of our programs/policies/curricula, and use effective (proven) strategies for raising achievement in struggling students (from all backgrounds).
Our schools have great potential - which is why I, and many others, moved to Amherst and have chosen to put our kids in the public schools. And although many students do in fact have good experiences in some (or even all) aspects of our schools, others have less consistently positive experiences - and we need to recognize this dissatisfaction and try whenever possible to solve the problems that still do exist in our schools (instead of pretending they don't exist and derogating those who raise them -- which doesn't make our schools better -- it just silences those voices). I hope that all SC members and the superintendent will acknowledge that some parents have real and legitimate concerns about particular aspects of our schools, and will focus on developing and implementing specific strategies for actually solving these problems. All kids in Amherst deserve excellent public schools ... and I hope all members of the SC and the superintendent will focus on helping our schools reach their full potential, not just in words, but in reality.
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.