Tag Archives: InCity Times

Finally! Join us!

Learn all about why President Donald Trump must be impeached and how we “average Americans” can make it happen at:

NEEDTOIMPEACH.COM

Click here to visit this stellar website!

GO, AMERICA, GO!!!!! – R.T.

THE STEYER LETTER:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dear Elected Official,

This is not a time for “patience” — Donald Trump is not fit for office. It is evident that there is zero reason to believe “he can be a good president.”

Whether by the nature of Mr. Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia, his willingness to exploit the office of the Presidency for his personal gain and treat the government like a family enterprise, his conduct during Charlottesville, his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, or his seeming determination to take the nation to war, he has violated the Constitution, the office of the Presidency, and the trust of the public. He is a clear and present danger to the United States of America.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referred to the Trump White House as a day care center, and observed that this president has put us “on the path to World War III.” This comes following reports that Trump’s own Secretary of State referred to him as a “moron” and that Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have an agreement not to leave Trump home alone for fear of what he could do. And we have seen other Republican Senators, including Senators Sasse and Flake, express their own profound concerns.

If Trump has lost the trust of the members of his own administration and leading members of his own party, surely it is time to act.

An accounting of his record to date leads to the same conclusion. He is turning his back on Lady Liberty by holding immigrant children hostage. He is actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act — a law he is constitutionally obligated to faithfully execute — while seeking to strip away health care coverage that will leave millions of Americans to choose between life and bankruptcy. He is repealing clean air protections and unleashing polluters, even as increasingly catastrophic natural disasters supercharged by our warming planet ravaged the country throughout the summer — from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, to the wildfires that have raged across California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. He has threatened to reduce aid for millions of American citizens in Puerto Rico who are struggling to survive without drinkable water or electricity — a move that would be a total dereliction of his duty. And every day, Americans are left bracing for a Twitter screed that could set off a nuclear war. These actions represent systemic attacks on our nation’s future. They endanger every single one of your constituents. That’s why you have a duty to speak out.

There is no moral reason to remain silent about this. Constitutional experts like Noah Feldman have already laid out clear legal and historical foundations for impeachment. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, a co-author of the Federalist Papers — and an immigrant himself — argued that “high crimes and misdemeanors” could be defined as “abuse or violation of some public trust.” This president has clearly already exceeded these standards. Congress has impeached past presidents for far less.

While we know that Republicans do not seem prepared to pursue impeachment even as members in their own ranks openly question Trump’s fitness for office, we are all working hard to ensure Democrats will take back the House and Senate in 2018.

Given Trump’s total lack of fitness for office, the question of impeachment becomes a very real issue should we succeed in our midterm goal. That makes it imperative for every Governor of every state, and every mayor of every city, to acknowledge where they stand. This question affects the lives of every single American. They deserve to hear whether or not our party is willing to do what is necessary to protect them and their families. This is not an academic exercise. The very stability of the Republic is at stake.

So, by way of this letter, I am asking you today to make public your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump, and to urge your federal representatives to remove him from office at once. Every day he remains in reach of the nuclear codes is another day for him to menace the citizens you serve and protect. Your constituents deserve to know they are represented by people in every level of government who have the patriotism and political courage to stand up and take action when it is so desperately needed. This is not a time to give in to an establishment that insists on acting the way the establishment always does, with “patience” or “caution.” It is an unprecedented moment, and it calls for extraordinary measures. We cannot remain fixated on what is politically smart. We have to do what is morally right.

Sincerely,

Tom Steyer

Holy Cross college – always in style! … and more!!

At the College of the Holy Cross, South Worcester:

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And at Clark University:

Oct. 24: NAACP leader to discuss climate and racial justice

Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, will discuss links between climate and racial justice as she presents “Upholding the Beloved Community,” a free, public lecture beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in Jefferson Academic Center, Room 320, at Clark University.

Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist on issues such as women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV and AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental/climate justice.

She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

She serves on the International Committee of the US Social Forum, the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics and is on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy and the US Climate Action Network.

This lecture is sponsored by A New Earth Conversation, which is an open-ended collaborative process among members of the Clark community, aimed at cultivating new ways of responding to the unprecedented conditions and questions raised by environmental degradation and climate disruption.

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Go, George, go!

A rebuke to Trumpism (and, locally, Mike-Gaffney-poopy-doop):

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From VOX:

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And:

Main South: At Clark U – “Race, Memory and Public Space” … and more!

But first …

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Following the KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in light of the ongoing debate about the removal of monuments of Confederate generals, we bring you this timely lecture …

Clark U. to host acclaimed cultural historian for lecture, ‘Race, Memory and Public Space’ Nov. 3

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Mabel Wilson

Clark University will host acclaimed architectural and cultural historian Mabel O. Wilson for “Race/Memory/Public Space,” a free, public lecture on the current and historical intersections of race, architecture, and the public realm, on Friday, November 3, at Noon, in the Higgins Lounge, 2nd floor of Dana Commons, 36 Maywood St.

The lecture is part of the Higgins School of Humanities’ dialogue symposium “Common Pursuits/Public Good” which considers how the arts and humanities contribute to the public good.

Wilson is Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). She is author of “Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums,” “Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” and the forthcoming “Building Race and Nation.”

Wilson also co-directs GSAPP’s Global Africa Lab and the Project on Spatial Politics and is founder of Who Builds Your Architecture? an advocacy initiative that examines issues surrounding labor, architecture, and globalization.

This event is part of the African American Intellectual Culture Series. It is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, the Office of the Provost, Clark’s concentration in Africana studies, and the Department of Political Science through the Chester Bland Fund.

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Dine in with the 99 Restaurant

It’s not too late to celebrate “Boys & Girls Club Month” at the 99 Restaurant!

In addition to selecting special entrees in honor of the Club, guests are invited to participate in “Dine In” on Tuesday, October 24, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the three restaurant locations in Worcester (E. Central Street, West Boylston Street, and Southwest Cutoff).

When you present the flyer to your server, the 99 will donate 15% of your check to the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester.

If you’re going to dine out, why not do it for a good cause?

For more information on “Boys & Girls Club Month,” please visit our website, www.bgcworcester.org

Liz, age 12

This October marks the 11th consecutive year 99 Restaurant has hosted “Boys & Girls Club Month,” which has resulted in thousands of dollars and countless hours of dedication.

We are extremely appreciative of their support and feel grateful to have them as community partners.

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter St.

Alizea age 14

The Gaffney hyper-toxic political era winds down in Worcester! Yay!

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Gaffney, Collyer and Kearney-Turtle Boy have come out against our new mounted police – and beautiful horses. And our new dog parks! Their opinions have always been wrapped in disdain for the poor, struggling and people of color. Ugly social media posts were their stock-in-trade.  pic: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

If we believed in God, we’d thank Her! Miracle of miracles: the toxic, a la Donald Trump, Woo City Councilor Mike Gaffney is leaving Worcester politics, along with his loyal-as-a-Beagle wife Coreen, District 4 city councilor candidate. Until yesterday. The day they announced their departure to new vistas, ones not political, but a secret they are keeping to themselves. Mike and Coreen Gaffney – arguably Woo’s very own putrid political power couple! Gonzo! This news, coupled with nut-job enablers Aidan Kearney-Turtle Boy’s move to Jefferson and Change Worcester- Conservative-Woo political gadfly Paul Collyer’s move to the Catskills to own and operate a bowling alley spells the END OF A BRAND OF CAUSTIC CONSERVATIVE POLITICS that has done more harm than good in Worcester.

The three of these man-boys have supported/enabled each other from day #1 and taken turns sowing racial animosity in Worcester, shaming our poor (Collyer used to call them “pajama people”), exploiting every lower class stereotype ever hatched (see Kearney’s blog), and using so many to hurt so many for political gain (Gaffney’s Woo political trajectory in a nutshell – no wonder he flamed out). Gaffney used Turtle Boy and Collyer’s posts, tweets etc to attempt to run good people, such as Mayor Joe Petty, into the ground. But he also put out his own lies and hatred, often on the city council floor!, which Collyer and Kearney amplified on newspaper website comment sections, their FB pages – all over social media. Collyer was a bit slicker than the other two: he hid his agenda and negativity behind a jovial squawk and party times. But he did the same kind of damage.

So now these three political mouse-keters are gone.

Does that mean we are calling for the squelching of a more conservative  point of view in Worcester?

One that often keeps its eyes on homeowners’ tax bills or the city’s budget?

Hell, no!

It just means Worcester folks jettisoned the Trumps of Worcester – the loud mouthed, offensive and hurtful political kooks who took conservative ideas and wrapped them in poison. In other words, conservative message in the WRONG MESSENGERS. Conservative ideas in the WRONG bottle. NASTY, THIN-SKINNED, VINDICTIVE PLAYERS who the voters/people of Worcester have chosen to reject!

Phase 2???:

A Worcester conservative voice that works with local Dems, doesn’t demonize Mayor Petty and our Congressman Jim McGovern.

Conservative political candidates and “opinionators” who crunch numbers – not people’s souls.

Good riddance, Mike, Coreen, Paulie and Aidan! And take your devil attorney, Margaret Melican, with you!

“Pinkwashing” may have hit a new low … and more!

But first …

Why can’t Macron be our prez? Why are we stuck with the horrific Trump??? Hillary Clinton is spot on when she says white working class voters were “snookered”!

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By Michelle Kretzer

Agri-Plastics, I have a question for you: Exactly how stupid do you think women are?

For October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company is hawking pink calf hutches that they’ve dubbed “Hutches for Hope.” My hope is that this is an ill-conceived joke.

Calf hutches are the cramped plastic crates that dairy farms shove baby cows into after they’ve torn them away from their mothers shortly after birth. It happens like this: Cows, like human women, produce milk after they give birth. The milk is specially formulated to meet the needs of their own infants.

But to keep them producing milk continuously, dairy farms force them to endure a constant cycle of cruelty: artificial insemination on a “rape rack,” pregnancy and the birth of a calf, then devastating loss, when their baby is torn away so that humans can consume the milk instead.

The male babies are useless to the dairy industry, so they’re typically sold for veal or fattened up for beef. The females can be used to replace their worn-out mothers, so they’re isolated in these hutches, fed milk replacers and forcibly impregnated much younger than they would naturally reproduce.

Separating mothers from their babies and denying them both their innate desire to suckle: That’s what Agri-Plastics wants people to buy into. For breast cancer awareness, of course.

Um, everyone is already aware of breast cancer. We’re also aware of “pinkwashing” and how to avoid companies that try to use breast cancer marketing to sell products—especially when those products contribute to the disease, not the cure.

According to the American Cancer Society, a full one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States can be attributed to dietary factors.

Numerous studies of diets around the globe have led researchers to conclude that consuming animal fats, especially those found in red meat and high-fat dairy “products,” increases the risk of breast cancer.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and one of the world’s foremost experts on nutrition, may have summed it up best: “[N]o chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.”

So Agri-Plastics is selling products that are used to create one of the world’s most notorious chemical carcinogens—and coloring them pink. For the cure.

Even better (meaning, worse) is when companies guilty of pinkwashing partner with breast cancer charities that continue to waste money on ineffective, antiquated experiments on animals that after decades and billions of dollars have failed to produce a cure.

The former head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Richard Klausner, stated, “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in humans.” The NCI now uses human cancer cells, taken by biopsy during surgery, to perform first-stage testing for new anti-cancer drugs, sparing the 1 million mice previously used annually by the agency and giving us all a much better shot at combating cancer.

So the “Hutches for Hope” sales strategy probably went something like this: Persuade people to buy pink plastic crates that will be used to kidnap nursing babies from their mothers in order to make products that promote cancer in humans—then we’ll donate money to an organization that kills animals but doesn’t do a damn bit of good toward finding a cure. They’ll do it because the crates are pink!

I’m not sure which is more insulting — the fact that this company is hawking carcinogens and cruelty for Breast Cancer Awareness Month or the fact that it doesn’t think women are smart enough to see past the color pink.

Imalay parked in Rose’s space: Back to School – the Hustle and Bustle!

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Imalay, left, and her mom and little girl.

By Imalay Guzman

The best season has finally arrived, with crispy cool air and warm afternoons! Fall season is everyone’s favorite; from adding layers to your wardrobe and preparing for back to school, it can be both exciting and oh so dreadful!

Parents who enroll their kids in school can relate to the hustle and bustle. It’s dreadful because of all the work that needs to be put in, but once the mayhem is over, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment.

As a mother, I like to shop early for back-to-school supplies and clothing because that way I find things I need without any hectic wardrobe issues. However, many people wait for the back-to-school sales to hit so they can get more for their money. From school supplies, clothing and shoes, shopping in one store is impossible. The more kids you have, the more running around you have to do. It’s all about the prices and the convenience of the store.

The hardest part of the shopping is trying to meet everyone’s sense of style. My children each like different things and dress differently. My oldest daughter likes for me to dress her the way I would dress myself; on the other hand, my son wants anything and everything that has to do with super heroes!

All of the back and forth from store to store gets aggravating and tiring, but in the long run it’s worth seeing how happy your kids are. Knowing they will be neatly put together for their first day of school gives them a boost in their self-esteem. As a parent, making sure my child has the proper school material is essential. I want to make sure they are prepared for school. If they are prepared, then the school year should ultimately be successful.

The back-to-school routine can be more than running around shopping. It has a lot to do with sitting down and having very important conversations with our children, which can help them during the school year. For this generation, before you send your kid to school there has to be several talks, talks that vary between ages. If your children are going into elementary school, the bully talk needs to happen. They might be young and you may think they don’t understand – they completely do. Making sure they don’t become victims to bullies and knowing how to identify when someone is bullying them is so important.

If your child is attending middle school, the sex talk is practically mandatory. Teens as young as 13 are already having sex nowadays. Another good thing to talk about is peer pressure and safe sex — a must. It can be difficult to imagine having this talk with your child who you view so innocently, but with the way upcoming generations are growing up, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The truth is it’s best to try and have an open line of communication with your kids. That way they feel comfortable coming to you for help whenever anything happens to them. There are a lot of kids who don’t feel comfortable speaking to their parents and close themselves up, which is something no good parent likes seeing their child go through. Try to be understanding because we were all young and dumb at some point. The way we learn in life is through our mistakes.

Let your child develop the way you would’ve liked to have been given the chance to grow, while being the adult they need, as well.

WAM – always in style! Great new WAM exhibit! Starting tomorrow!!

From WAM website! Please check out these photos! WAM is FREE Saturday mornings! – R.T.

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Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard

William Bullard, James and Jeannie Johnson Family

October 14, 2017 – February 25, 2018

Itinerant photographer William Bullard left behind a trove of over 5,400 glass negatives at the time of his death in 1918. Among these negatives are over 230 portraits of African Americans and Native Americans mostly from the Beaver Brook community in Worcester.

Rediscovering an American Community of Color features eighty of these unprinted and heretofore unpublished photographs that otherwise may have been lost to history.

Bullard identified over 80% of his sitters in his logbook, making this collection especially rare among extant photographic collections of people of color taken before World War I and enables this exhibition to tell specific stories about individuals and recreate a more accurate historical context. Moreover, Bullard’s portraits examine the role of photography as the vehicle for a “new Black identity” during the nascent years of the New Negro movement.

Offering a photographic narrative of migration and resettlement in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction, Bullard’s portraits address larger themes involving race in American history, many of which remain relevant today, notably, the story of people of color claiming their rightful place in society as well as the fundamentally American story of migration, immigration, and the creation of a community in new surroundings.

A comprehensive website hosted by Clark University (www.bullardphotos.org) offers teaching resources for educators, all of the photographs and sitters featured in Rediscovering an American Community of Color, a map of the Beaver Brook neighborhood (circa 1911), and additional research written by the Clark students who participated in a seminar related to the exhibition.

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RELATED PROGRAMS:

Saturday, October 14, 12 pm:

Musical tribute to Bullard portrait sitter and musician David T. Oswell by his descendents, Raymond T Jackson, D.M.A. (piano), Emma Jean Boyd (violin) and Joshua Allen Boyd (cello). Free with Museum admission.

Thursday, October 19, 5:30-8pm:

Reception with cash bar. 6pm: Master Series Third Thursday including performance by Native American flute player Strong Eagle Daly and art talk by Maurice Wallace, Ph.D., Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies, University of Virginia.

Hosted by the Worcester Art Museum’s Members’ Council and free with Museum admission.

Presented with support from Mass Humanities. Additional support is provided by the Bernard and Louise Palitz Fund.

Master Series is sponsored by:

Rediscovering an American Community of Color was organized in partnership with, and with support from, Clark University. The Museum extends its gratitude to Mass Humanities, the McMillan Stewart Foundation, and Stephen J. Javaras and Robert A. Collins for their financial support. This project is also funded in part by the Hall and Kate Peterson Photography Fund.

In addition, Frank J. Morill generously provided the Museum with the Bullard negatives and years of dedicated research. Finally, the Museum thanks the members of the community and descendants of Bullard’s sitters who offered advice, told stores and filled in crucial gaps that deepened the power of these portraits.

CLARK UNIVERSITY COLLABORATION:

Clark University Bullard Experience
Ten students from Clark University spent the spring semester in 2017 connecting with Bullard portrait descendants and doing archival research for the exhibition Rediscovering an American Community of Color: The Photographs of William Bullard.

The final product of their work appears in extended web entries found at www.bullardphotos.org and in content found on the walls of the exhibition. Each student wrote a short reflection on their experience of working on this project.

Study highlights systemic and societal barriers to mental health services in Mass … and FYI … and Friday Funnies!

Health Care For All (HCFA) released yesterday “The Urgency of Early Engagement: Five Persistent Barriers to Mental Health Treatment, Care and Recovery in Massachusetts and the Search for Solutions.”

Substance use, homelessness, and incarceration are three devastating consequences of failures at the early stages of the mental health system.

The opportunity for individuals to get early and possibly lasting support for their mental health care needs can be lost when:

* important information about treatment options is not readily available

* when early symptoms of mental illness foster isolation and stigma

* when insurance coverage proves hard to navigate

* when costs of treatment discourage or limit access

* and when effective providers are seemingly impossible to find.

It is also true that by harnessing the potential of existing programs and promising opportunities to advance public policy, these barriers can be surmounted and that recovery from serious mental illness is achievable.

“This report presents the results of a yearlong study of ongoing barriers to early mental health treatment, care, and recovery based on the insights from people in Massachusetts. The study also explores how to overcome these barriers, using the most practical, concrete and cost-effective tools possible and proposes next steps,” said Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All.

This work was made possible by The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, which funded a broad overview of the behavioral health barriers that people face when trying to get care, particularly for individuals attempting to cope with mental illness as well as their families, providers and other allies.

“The research initially focused on insurance barriers, mostly relating to mental health parity. However, the information coming back took us in a less obvious but no less compelling direction: early barriers to getting care can have a significant impact on a person’s potential for recovery,” said Stephen Rosenfeld, former HCFA interim Executive Director and project manager for the report. “It is in the earliest stages of mental illness that engagement can have the most effective outcomes, but where too often circumstances prevent people from getting the care they need.”

“As a result, many individuals face an increased likelihood of months and more often years of untreated or inadequately treated mental illness. The resulting life disasters become immoveable problems in and of themselves. This makes it difficult – and sometimes impossible – for individuals to regain precious ground and access the treatment and supportive services that make recovery an achievable goal,” added Rosenfeld.

The report also highlights key recommendations to overcome those barriers:

* Massachusetts should help promising programs grow to scale. Two immediate candidates are the INTERFACE referral service (INTERFACE) and Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT).

* The state should commit to closing the knowledge gap by creating a state-of-the-art resource helpline and promoting its use statewide. A promising project with that goal is now underway.

* Massachusetts should expand the training and employment of people in peer support roles. One major step in that direction would be MassHealth payment for Certified Peer Specialists.

* Massachusetts should require increased transparency of insurance, improved customer relations, and safeguards to guarantee that people receive the full measure of the mental health coverage to which they are entitled by their insurance policies.

* The services of Emergency Services Programs (ESPs) should be available to all. To that end, all commercial insurers should include ESPs as an essential part of their behavioral health coverage.

* The comprehensive approach to children’s mental health, embodied by the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), should become a universal feature of commercial insurance.

Appearing throughout this report are photographic portraits of people in recovery from mental illness.

These individuals are participants in the 99 Faces Project, an artistic work conceived and created by Massachusetts artist Lynda Michaud Cutrell. The goal of 99 Faces is to portray, in the words of Cutrell, “individuals whose lives are remarkable for their recovery, not their illness.”

As such, they exemplify and reflect the promise that timely and effective access to treatment for mental health conditions holds. This report takes an optimistic approach to our collective ability to reduce the barriers to delivery of effective mental health treatment in Massachusetts, because optimism supplies essential energy to the effort. The photographs we have included speak eloquently to why this matters.

Health Care For All (HCFA) is a Massachusetts nonprofit advocacy organization working to create a health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us.

We achieve this as leaders in public policy, advocacy, education and service to consumers in Massachusetts. For more information about HCFA, visit our website at: www.hcfama.org. You can also call our free HelpLine (800) 272-4232 if you need help.

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FYI:

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Friday Funnies:

Edith parked in Rose’s space! Back in school – and what’s new now?

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It’s back to school time! photos by Imalay Guzman

Back in School – and What’s New Now?

By Edith Morgan

Now that parents are breathing a sigh of relief, and children are firmly ensconced in their respective schools, we can all breathe out and get onto other things. How about a little reminiscing? We all know the jokes about grandparents telling their grandchildren that they walked miles uphill through wind and snow, and if you’re old enough, maybe there are tales about having to sweep out the one-room schoolhouse, bringing in the wood for the pot-bellied stove, and sharing slates, books and notebooks with younger children. The whole idea is to share how MUCH schooling has changed in the last few decades, and still is changing constantly.

Not all the changes are for the best – the incessant drilling to learn useless stuff to answer inane questions on standardized tests so that schools, children and teachers can be rated and berated, for rather murky reasons, for the benefit of people who have ulterior motives – all that time and expense could be better spent on meaningful testing to improve or correct learnings. But that is a topic for another time …

At this point, we need to look at how far we have come from the one-size fits all model of yore and how much closer we are to tailoring the school so that EVERY student can learn and achieve his/her highest potential.

We breathed a sigh of relief this year, as the WPS teachers’ contract was ratified, and our busses also started out on time. Now we can concentrate on our students and meet their needs.

It is no longer true (generally, anyway) that the child has to be ready for school. We have gradually, little by little, moved over to a philosophy that the school needs to be ready for the student, at whatever level he/she comes to us. Worcester has made giant steps in that direction.
We have just opened a new, state-of-the-art elementary school at Nelson Place; we have gradually replaced or refurbished many older buildings, and are planning constantly for newer, better buildings.

And while great new buildings with many facilities are a big help, there are many things that our schools are now offering to students that were strictly the responsibility of parents or neighborhoods. Research has shown us that children need certain minimal supports to be able to take advantage of all that is offered to them so they can succeed. We can no longer assume that there is a level playing field out there and that every child has access to a good breakfast, clean clothes and a quiet, stress-free place to study. Children who have all these things can profit from all that the school curriculum and the teachers offer.

But over the years, teachers and principals have noticed children who come to school tired, bedraggled, worried and hungry.

Of course, there have been the critics who say that it is not the job of the school to remedy these deficiencies. But the cost of ignoring these problems was/is too great, and the waste of potential too costly for us to wait for others to take up the slack.

So, in a number of instances, schools have stepped in to properly equip our children to be really ready to learn. We have, in addition to lunch programs (some at reduced price, some free), we also have some breakfast programs where needed; several of our Worcester high schools have food pantries, where students can take home extra (donated) food – and some take bags to get through the weekend for their families. “Andy’s Attic” at South High School is just one example of how schools see that our students have appropriate clothing (we all can probably remember how painful it was to be improperly dressed and suffering the taunts of fellow students). Not all our students come from homes that have washers and dryers, and sometimes they have to wear the same soiled outfits for days. So our schools are trying to help by installing washers and dryers in selected schools – like those at Worcester East Middle School.

I applaud these additions, as they enable students to be comfortable, clean, and accepted by their peers.

Of course, a sick child also is really handicapped as far as learning: if you hurt, feel awful, or are otherwise not running on all cylinders, much of your time in class is wasted. So our schools have a health clinic where most needed.

Finally, now that we are doing many things to be sure that all our children are in school ready to learn what we believe they should know, we can fully concentrate on the main purpose of education. And there is much to be done yet in the area of curriculum, if we really mean to turn out mature, thinking individuals who can succeed in a rapidly changing society.

There has been much lamenting about the fact that we do not read books like we once did. And while our many gadgets require some ability to read and spell, they do not require the ability to really delve deeply or sustain attention page after page. But even there, with the competition from the electronic media, great efforts are being made to put books into the hands of our children. We are, after all, “The City that Reads” – and Worcester School Committee member and former Belmont Community School principal John Monfredo and his wife Anne Marie, a former Nelson Place Elementary School teacher, have for years collected children’s books and put them into the hands of our students. Every year they collect tens of thousands of children’s books and distribute them to Worcester kids, especially those from poor families.

And, finally, we are very fortunate that we have a school superintendent who has been involved in these ventures, supports those who create new opportunities for our children, and always looks for ways to be sure that every child has the opportunity to realize his/her full potential.

With a local election on the horizon, we can show up to vote for school committee members who best exemplify the goals I have described above!

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Go, WPS students, go!!