Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who Will Advocate for the Children??

As a parent of a special needs child - actually, a twice exceptional child who is both highly gifted AND learning disabled, I know all about advocacy. I might just win the prize for the number of IEP meetings attended in a year. As a parent, I recognize my responsibility and job as advocate for my children. If I don't speak up, who will? Any mother (or father) knows the deep commitment and love I refer to when I say that I would be willing to move mountains for my children. I AM their voice. I have to be. It's my job and I accept it willingly.

This is why I am so passionate about the high school renovation. The children are not being heard and their needs are not being considered by some who seem hyper-focused on their own pocketbooks. I was so happy to hear a teen speak up at last night's board meeting. He said he was there to represent ALL children. I have great respect for that boy - his courage and conviction was riveting. My older child often begs me to allow him to speak at board meetings about the high school project. I know I can't let him do that. He is far too young to be introduced to the truth about just how ruthless, nasty, and downright mean human beings can be. It would be like throwing him (and myself- I've already been accused of being a bad mother by some "concerned citizens"- HA!) into a pool of piranhas. I'm not sure why this issue has become such a personal one - it really isn't about me, or you...it's about our community. However, all of this makes my conviction even stronger - I will not give up. I will not waver in my opinion, and my right to express what I know is right for ALL children.

I found it particularly curious that practically every person who spoke against the high school project last night either does not have children, has children in private schools, or has grown children. The latter group all referred to their grown children's excellent educations received by our very district. My question to those people is "Why is it ok that someone before you had to pay for your child's excellent education, but you are not willing to 'pay it forward' and help pay for the continuation of an excellent education for future generations?" That seems rather selfish to me. It also seems rather foolish because if this district loses its excellent reputation, all of our home values will plummet. Period. Statistics show that at least 40% of a home's value is based on the school district's reputation.

I will continue to advocate for ALL children for as long as it takes. They deserve a voice. There is no better investment than children's educations. They ARE the future. I encourage everyone to go to the MTLSD website: http://www.mtlsd.org/ to get the real facts. I also discourage everyone from relying on all of the misleading information that is out on the street. Fear tactics are unfair and unproductive. Get the real facts. Get involved. The children of this town are depending on you and me.