As I have said time and time again, a relationship exists between socio-economic status and educational attainment. There are two schools in the district that are out-testing others and we are kidding ourselves if we do not admit that socio-economics has an impact on this. Simply put, the majority of families at these two schools have the capacity to more rigidly monitor their child’s education. That’s a very good thing and I wish that all of our students had that kind of support. While I know that all parents/guardians want their children to do well academically, many, for a variety of reasons, do not have the capacity to do so, and that is where we as a school committee must do our best to support them.
I have spoke with, and responded via email, to many parents of Saltonstall. I have applauded them all for their tenacity. Quite frankly, I wish all of our parents had the same fervor. But unfortunately, many of our students have single parents, grandparents, and in some cases, no parents to advocate on their behalf. As a school committee member, I feel compelled to make sure that we are addressing all students’ needs and with limited resources, I feel that the money spent on the extended year program would be better served helping needier students. Saltonstall offers some unique and effective programs (e.g, multiple intelligences and multi-age classrooms). I am not looking to change any of the programmatic elements of the school. Those are unique and from all indication, are effective programs. I am just not convinced that the elimination of the extended year program at Saltonstall will have a significant decline in student academic achievement and for these reasons, I re-affirm my belief that the money allocated to the extended year program at Saltonstall would be better served helping needier students.