Edith’s parked in A.I: Summer thoughts

By Edith Morgan

School’s out – the kids say “hurrah,” the parents groan. The City of Worcester offers a wonderful array of things to do, using our school buildings, our parks, and a summer staff to keep them occupied, and learning experiences to prevent their backsliding and forgetting much of what they learned in the past year. I applaud all these efforts and really hope that those children who need such support the most will take full advantage of all these offerings.

These programs are a far cary from what we knew when we were young: summer was a time for outdoor activity, for getting around the neighborhood and for pursuing our own interests – hobbies, arts, explorations of all sorts. Most parents were very busy just surviving, and we kids did not need (nor WANT) to be constantly entertained. We were told “Go out and play, get back in here for supper,” or “when it gets dark.” We roller-skated, played football or baseball (if we could round up enough players) and read a mountain of comic books when our parents were not looking, as mine frowned on them, and since we had no money to buy a lot of them, we had a store around the corner where we could exchange the ones we had bought for 10 cents, receive 2 cents for the ones we had read, and trade five old ones for a new one. We were all well acquainted with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Archie and the classic comics. It was not great literature, but generally harmless and easy reading.

Our “Superheroes” fought evildoers and won without a great deal of destruction and bloodshed, and did not, by and large, bend the law. How times have changed … .

For parents, this summer time might be a great time to think deeply about our schools this summer: we have a lot of decisions to make, not just about our own children, but also about all the other children in our schools.

I believe that EVERY child, in EVERY Public School, is entitled to a quality education – and that the schools are the place where children learn to be fully functioning citizens, responsible human beings and lifelong learners.

And they should be taught the skills and attitudes and habits they need to live decent lives, develop their talents to the fullest and pay forward to the next generation what they were given.

We were promised that when we established charter schools that they would have the freedom to innovate, try new and better things, and share their discoveries with the public schools. Instead, too many of them have cut corners, have hired persons ill prepared and unqualified and, in some instances, put profits ahead of performance. When we knew all along that excessive bureaucracy and insufficient support of teachers who innovate were major stumbling blocks to improvement, why did we not just change what we knew to be wrong in the existing schools so all of them could be innovative?

Was there another agenda, hidden behind the promise of “Choice”?

Have we been had?