Today I read the New Haven Register, and once again heard the Republicans and Democrats sparring over comments that were made by various board members over education.
The word used by Mr. Wiley dubbed our schools as "adequate" or, as being in the interests of Milford. After being challenged by the Democrats he recanted "Adequate" to infer he was talking about buildings and nothing more.
While I personally do not care about debating the semantics of "he said, she said" I will put on record what I always put on record and that is Milford's kids cannot be marginalized, and that a "world class" education system should be our goal.
Harvey Polanski, has recently sent me and I assume all board of education candidates a budget, and additional information regarding Milford's schools. Contained in that package are many useful and supportive items and I commend the Office of the Superintendent for taking the time to get this kind of information out.
Milford has alot of money for our schools, more than enough to get the job done and done to a stellar level. The best and costliest assets our town has is the abundance of raw man, and woman power in our schools. With nearly a 100 Million dollar budget to run our schools, Milford from this day forward could begin to solve its educational challenges by constantly reviewing new applicants for teacher positions.
Teachers are the "front lines" in the war against ignorance and for lack of a better metaphor the "essential social engineers" of children in our community. Teachers, can impress, and impact our kids in ways that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Should we compare teachers to factory workers, it is safe to say that their industrial output is tomorrows leaders. Our kids will go on to be our Doctors, our Lawyers, our Community Leaders, our Soldiers in war, and one day the ones who will make our end of life decisions for many of us who have kids.
The stakes for education are high, and anyone who doubts the importance of education should be reminded of the high price of ignorance. Milford's kids cannot afford to be marginalized, schools and teachers must know that kids who come from challenged homes can be saved by being pushed in the right directions by teachers, coaches, and principals who realize and know that teaching is more than just a "job."
Our kids in Milford are very intelligent and emotionally aware, they know when school administrators treat them like "pains" and push them through the system not for their own benefit but for the benefit of the bureaucracy that education has become.
Milford's kids, see the world that is being left behind, they know what they are inheriting from the very adults before them. The Board of education should be spending every waking minute improving education where ever it can a little bit at a time so our state, and town can have a stronger future.
The most important aspects of achieving this objective are almost always monetary. Money is the sad reality of everything we do in education and since 85% of that money is derived from real estate taxes the burden of funding education rests with Zoning and Planning, and the values of our homes.
Zoning and Planning is a crucial part of the Education equation. When a city is permitted to develop densely packed cheap homes we essentially add kids to our schools without the base revenue to properly educate those kids. For this reason Zoning and Planning needs to get on board with the schools financial needs.
Milford has the same resources as every community in our state, the same state challenges, and the potential to succeed in education. The buzz is now out on Smart Growth, and Milford should model itself as not only energy efficient, but also engage in social engineering projects to bring Negative Income Properties, in line with property taxes, and Educational funding.
Purchasing of open space is a great Smart Growth initiative, supporting commercial development and stopping the subdivision of lots for residential housing, also a good idea. Once this policy is developed, and the number of students comes into balance with the needs of the taxpayers we will begin to see real change in education.
In the current economic climate, cancellation of construction projects or cutbacks to text books and teachers is not the answer. I believe the answer is engaging Zoning and Planning to act immediately and place a temporary moratorium on McMansions, Front Lawn house Constructions, and any expansion of low cost negative income housing units. Stabilizing the student population should be Milford's Highest immediate priority if we are to take education seriously.