Letter: Education stakeholders put kids last

By Julie Norsworthy
On Friday May 17th my sons and I entered the Cross building for our first experience in the political world. I was there to testify in support of L.D. 1529. The boys were with me for a hands on lesson in government. It was a lesson for us all.

There were many bills being addressed that day. We sat there listening to the Maine Principles Association, the Mane Education Association, and others who were opposed to anything that represented a change to the current public school system, opposing anything holding the professional educators accountable. They each got up to testify multiple times always saying the same thing. At one point my ten year old leaned over and whispered, “Here we go again.” We watched the committee members, our elected officials. What we saw left us with little hope that L.D. 1529 would pass. We were correct.

My sons and I left the cross building that afternoon with many unanswered questions. Why are the professional educators so defensive? They must know that the public school system is failing many children. Why are they so unwilling to bend? To work with others? To find a compromise that will benefit the children. We didn’t hear anything that day to help us answer that, however we did hear their man concern: Money. Yes, that is a realistic concern for everyone. Yet isn’t it their responsibility to put the children’s education and emotional well being first?

The debate over L.D. 1529 is a perfect example of the so-called stakeholders’ financial concerns coming before students’ needs. Public school works for many children and families. It does not work for everyone. Families need choices in the way their children receive their education be it public, charter, Christian, private or an academy. Many families need financial support to ensure their child is receiving the very best possible education. An education that fits the child’s learning style. L.D. 1529 would have made that possible for Maine’s children. I sincerely hope this bill is revisited and passed for the benefit of our children.

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