Tag Archives: public schools

OPINION: Short End of the Stick

By: Samantha Tingue

On April 10, the House Ways and Means Committee released a budget proposal for the fiscal year 2015. The budget shaved off almost $200 million from Governor Deval Patrick’s Plan, but also added money for local aid and a minimal Chapter 70 increase of $25 per student for the city of Attleboro.

Although the House plans involve a $125 million increase in local aid funding, there is an insufficient amount of money funding the Attleboro school system.

I am 50/50 about this budget proposal on whether or not the city provides enough financial assistance to aid local organizations and facilities, which essentially takes away from the funds of the educational systems.

On one hand, I believe that is it really good to focus more on the community and on providing local aid to facilities such as nursing homes and social services, that generally do not get paid enough attention to, but this may prove to be a burden on the financial needs of the educational system.

Giving more money to departments that deal with rehabilitation and families is an excellent way of improving our community and bettering the lives of future generations.

On the other side, removing funds from our school systems, in order to provide local aid for other systems, is essentially hurting the educational system, which makes our community great.

By not funding the requested budget for Attleboro, schools may be forced to make major cuts in specific areas such as after school activities or teachers. This affects a student’s ability to learn, as well as a teacher’s ability to provide their students with the tools necessary to succeed.

Without a doubt, no matter how the House handles funds and aid, our school systems will continue to pull the “short end of the stick.” Money will continue to remain the driving force in how we live our lives.

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OPINION: Schools Helping Students

An excerpt from the Attleboro High School program of studies. (Attleboro Public Schools)

An excerpt from the Attleboro High School program of studies. (Attleboro Public Schools)

By: Christine Arsenault

In response to the article in The Page, published Jan. 28, “Schools need to do more to help their student athletes”; athletes in schools aren’t the only people who need extra time to study. Although it’s a good point that sports, AP and honors classes take up an extensive amount of time, especially if a student takes part in all three, there are also school clubs, and students with jobs, who are struggling to keep up their academic performance.

If some athletes are striving for a study period for only themselves, are they also sympathetic toward others who take part in time consuming activities?

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states on their web site that: “secondary school students should have a minimum of 990 hours of structured learning time. Time which a student spends at school breakfast and lunch, passing between classes, in homeroom, at recess, in non-directed study periods, receiving school services, and participating in optional school programs shall not count toward meeting the minimum structured learning time requirement for that student (MGL 603 CMR 27.00 section 27.04 ¶ 2).”

If a study hall were to be instituted, students could have a non-directed study period, but it would also take away from in-class time, which could shorten classes, thus offering less time to cover the curriculum.

The math for each school year with a minimum of 189 full days, for students in Massachusetts, would have a total of 992 hours and 25 minutes of structured learning, not including 25 minutes of passing time, 20 minute lunches and 15 minute advisory/SSR time. This leaves 5 hours and 25 minutes of learning; students would barely make the minimum time for the required seat time. If DESE decided there was going to be a study period during the school day, they would have to compromise the hours by making school days longer or shortening classes or extending the amount of days students are in school. Remember, study halls don’t count toward the minimum 990 hours of learning required.

If a study period were to be offered, it should be open to all students, but it would take a lot of planning time to make it work while still having school end at an appropriate time in June.

PERSONAL: Differences in Education: Puerto Rico vs. USA

By: Daniel Vogt

Pal tree on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo/Daniel Vogt)

Palm tree on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo/Daniel Vogt)

Have you ever wondered what high school might be like outside the U.S.? I’ve lived and studied in both the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and from personal experience, the change is dramatic. While Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, which means that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, there are a number of differences in the education systems.

To start off, schools in Puerto Rico usually house every grade from pre-school up to twelfth grade, which is rare to find in the U.S. Another major difference is the level of classes; those offered in Puerto Rico do not even come close to those offered in American high schools.  For example there are no AP classes offered in public schools in Puerto Rico.

The private education in Puerto Rico is as close as it comes to any kind of public high school in the U.S., which is the type of education I had during my time in Puerto Rico for various reasons.

First off, the public education is terrible compared to that given in private establishments simply because teachers prefer safer environments and public schools in Puerto Rico can be dangerous for those who pass time with the “bad crowd”. Secondly, it’s dangerous. In other words: if families have the money to pay for a private school, even if it’s the worst one in the area, they will.

However, according to a study by the University of Michigan, only twenty percent of the students in Puerto Rico attend private schools, because tuition for these private schools can be very expensive, so most students can’t afford to go to one (<http://sitemaker.umich.edu/bur.356/puerto_rico_s_statistics__private___public_schools&gt;)

Of those eighty percent that go to public school, fifty-eight percent will drop-out. In the U.S. the drop-out rate is seven percent. This shows how the majority of students in Puerto Rico grow up in a bad ambiance and as a result find that graduating is unnecessary. They don’t properly value education, or maybe education doesn’t properly value them.

Those students who do graduate from public school in Puerto Rico have virtually no chance of being accepted into a college or university in the United States; even in Puerto Rico they still have a slim one percent chance. In comparison to those that graduate from a private school, there is a fifty-nine percent acceptance rate into universities in the U.S. and a one hundred percent acceptance rate into universities in Puerto Rico.

One of my English teachers in Puerto Rico, Mrs. Carrie Newdal, left my private school for a public school because she wanted to impact those children and help them graduate. Many people think like her but the majority, sadly, does not.

If this were a normal way of thinking for all teachers in Puerto Rico then the commonwealth wouldn’t be in such bad shape and would be able to help the United States instead of just the other way around.

Is education not something every human deserves? Puerto Rico should seek out the United States for more help so that, in the end, education can create a better community with less violence and crime.