To the Editor:
I am an educator in Haverhill Public Schools and have been a resident of this city for over 30 years. Over the last 16 years especially, we have seen the mentality that money towards education is like a black hole; what you put into it you will never see again. Most people understand that education is an investment; it is an investment in the city and it is an investment in its people. School is not just something our kids do for seven hours a day; we are preparing the future workforce; we are teaching lifelong habits and skills that can be used in any situation. It is a known fact that the single best shot a kid has to rise up the socioeconomic ladder and improve his or her life is through a quality education. So, it begs the question, why don’t we take this approach at the macro level and understand that it is likely Haverhill’s best shot, collectively, to improve as well?
When people are looking to move to a city, one of the first things they look at is the quality of the schools there; The quality of education affects most aspects of life – it affects our public safety, it affects our workforce, and it most assuredly affects our tax base. Even if you do not have children, the school system impacts your life and does so greatly.
Some of our politicians would like us to believe there is a trade-off and that we have to sacrifice one thing for another or that one group can benefit but another cannot. Make no mistake – this is a deliberate attempt to divide people and cause internal strife. We should not be having a conversation that pits bus drivers against teachers, teachers against ESPs, police against teachers, and so on. And yet we also have politicians who try to capitalize on these issues to further their own agendas or are more interested in photo opportunities and chances for publicity. We as a city deserve leaders who understand the importance of education, authentically.
Yes, there are going to be difficult economic choices to be made but I am asking that the School Committee and mayor prioritize these choices. We should not be electing to construct new sidewalks and freshly planted trees while laying off essential personnel for example.
Investment is all about confidence. We cannot expect businesses and other outside industries to invest in Haverhill when we are not confident or comfortable investing in ourselves. This is the work necessary in order to realize the vision of a “new Haverhill.”
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