Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

My unedited response to this is below and an edited version showed up in the Metrowest Daily News eight days later.

More educational dollars needed Sunday, April 20, 2003
Rene Mandel Metrowest Daily News
Your editorial today on education reform and the statehouse's task force sidesteps one important matter: the failure of both the state and federal governments to adequately fund educational needs.

In terms of real money, education dollars have not doubled.  And in terms of populations served in the last 20 years, attempts to bring educational equity to children of poverty, to minority children, to immigrant children, and to children with special needs have more than absorbed the increase in dollars.

The stagnation of SAT scores, etc., does not reflect a stagnation in education.  Rather, it reflects an increase in opportunity, as more children, including those who once would have been automatically ignored as college material, are being included.

In fact, there has not been enough money put into education, and the money has not been distributed in a way that does the most good.  Wealthy communities can and do tax themselves to keep up, and there is some legal protection for children with special needs.  But every other child is supported according to the winds of current educational fad and the convenience of the economy.

So the proposals of the committee that this editorial criticizes are less a failure of moral will than a failure of economic will both at the state and federal levels.  Assuring that every child learns, making appropriate educational evaluation of every child, assisting every non-English speaking child to learn English, all require more funding.  Which means repudiating the tax cuts of the 90s, not seeking more tax cuts now, and putting much of that money into child development and education programs.  And there is no will, in Washington or Boston, to push this simple truth.

As for those who insist that money isn't everything in education, I can only quote Jonathan Kozol, that great chronicler of children in the South Bronx, who, when his Harvard classmates tell him the same thing, replies, "Then why are you spending $30,000 a year to send your child to Andover?"

Education issue is more than money Monday, April 28, 2003
Harold J. Wolfe Metrowest Daily News
This is in response to Rene Mandel's letter on April 20 entitled "More Educational Dollars Needed."

In the past seven years, school funding in Framingham (including Keefe Tech) has increased from $50 million to $80 million each year. This represents 7% compounded annual growth.  In that same time frame, SAT scores have declined in Framingham.  We are now paying close to $9,000 a year per student.  At what point does the taxpayer get his/her return on investment?

It always amazes me that people like Rene Mandel do not consider that in the past two years, Massachusetts has lost 5% of its job base and many people have taken cuts in salaries.  Meanwhile, she tells us that we should pour more money into a failing school system.

The fact that there is a waiting line for the charter school tells me that parents are voting with their child (their most precious commodity), stating that the schools are failing.  Even Katie Murphy, our new selectman and a strong school proponent, has a son in the charter school.  Another selectman, Christopher Ross also has a child in charter school.

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If Rene Mandel is truely concerned about education in Framingham, she can show her true compassion by making a very generous donation to the school system at the next school committee hearing. I will be there to applaud her. Otherwise, she is just another liberal windbag.

I propose that all Framingham teachers take the MCAS. Those that do not pass should be let go.  We shouldn't have teachers who cannot pass a high school equivalency test.  Of course, I predict that teacher unions would reject such a proposal because in the real world game of poker, job security always trumps accountability.

I suggest we fire Walter McClennan, our $113,000 a year assistant school superintendent who either did not want the top job or was unqualified.  That saves us $113,000 a year.  Instead of four HS vice-principals at $85,000 apiece, why not one HS vice-principal at $85,000 with three assistants at $60,000 apiece.  Another $75,000 saved.  Total savings: $188,000.

Lastly, please take note that every single article and editorial about schools is about money or funding. I suggest that Rene Mandel write a booklet for parents on things they can do to help their child to change their educational outcome.  These include the amount of TV watching, making sure home work is done each and every day and has priority over playtime.  Children should be instructed that schooling is their full time job and has very serious consequences for their future well being in our society.  It is not a game.

Send comments to: hjw2001@gmail.com