Urges Amherst to move forward as a town
Published Daily Hampshire Gazette, March 21, 2017
Most parents understand that a larger environment isn’t better for our young kids, and most of us have an instinctual sense about what makes a school that “feels right.”
Unnecessary, increased time spent on buses, does not feel right. Grouping children in a grade cohort that is three times the size of their current one, from the earliest years, does not feel right. Separating siblings into two schools unnecessarily, doesn’t feel right.
Parents and teachers in Amherst were surveyed about our elementary school update options over a year ago, and this grade-reconfigured, large building solution was the least popular solution by far. It was the top choice of only 6 percent of parents and only 4 percent of teachers. Now, after it has been pushed forward, and held onto so tightly by influential supporters, despite ongoing, widespread opposition, we are in a position where it might pass a town-wide vote.
If it does, then I will tip my hat to the hard-working supporters, acknowledge it as the town’s will, and go along.
If it doesn’t, I hope that supporters of the plan will concede the will of the town-wide vote, so that we can finally start working toward a solution that more people can get excited about, on behalf of all of our town’s kids.
The marathon of this effort, on both sides, has had more hills in it than any of us anticipated — and I know that people who have worked the hardest on both sides are feeling it — but I am left feeling grateful.
I am grateful to the Building Opportunity for Learning and Diversity (BOLD) members that I have spoken with, who have engaged in real conversation, as we each genuinely stretched to understand each other’s outlook more.