Cantor: In Amherst debate, focus on student successes

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In Amherst debate, focus on student successes
Amherst Bulletin, Dec. 4, 2015
Elisabeth Cantor

To the editor:

I returned to Amherst in 2002 to raise my then 3-year-old son, have him attend the same great public school system my brothers and I attended, and grow up surrounded by the beauty and opportunity of western Massachusetts.

Somehow, even with the open classrooms in elementary school, smoking on campus and multiple principals (I had four different principals between 9th-12th grade), somehow we all managed to grow up and move onto professional positions and become positive contributors to our society.

This longitudinal focus on how Amherst Regional High School graduates fare in the larger world has been absent in the discussion on “improving” our school system.

Yes, our elementary schools are in need of updating. However, let’s take a realistic look at how successfully our public school system educates our children, the great majority of whom go onto college (and beyond).

It seems to me that building a “mega-school” to house the students is mostly about building (yet another) large and shiny structure in our community.

“New and improved” is often a sales pitch without merit. Our numbers speak for themselves. ARHS graduates are smart, interesting and vital young people who are fortunate to have access to so many resources, unlike many of their peers around the state, nation and the larger world.

Elisabeth Cantor