Aldermen’s pre-school hoopla way off base

November 12, 2009
By

We want to point out for the ill-advised in this city that pre-school in the public schools is not a mandate. Rather, it is a necessity.

Questioning pre-school expenses is the prerogative of the Board of Aldermen, although such matters are under the purview of the school committee but the meeting on Monday night at city hall regarding Everett’s pre-school turned into a farce.

More than 300 parents packed city hall Monday evening in response to a measure offered by Alderman Mike Marchese to question the city auditor about the cost for pre-school.

Regrettably, word spread quickly around the city that Marchese and the Aldermen were attempting to do away with pre-school with the claim it is too expensive and that the city cannot afford it.

This caused a huge crowd to collect at city hall wanting answers from Marchese.

What ensued was a gaggle of missteps, which ended with Marchese trying to call off the meeting because the city auditor didn’t show up – which would have left the huge crowd sitting there with no response from government.

Only the vociferous and angry protests of the crowd forced Marchese to relent and School Superintendent Fred Foresteire was allowed to speak.

He explained pre-school, its absolute necessity, and the fact that pre-school is free just as first grade is free, as ninth grade is free, and on and on.

If the Aldermen were seeking to make a play to the people that a great deal of money could be saved by eliminating pre-school, the only thing they did was outrage hundreds of parents who rely on pre-school as one of the pillars of their day to day existence.

The Everett Public Schools receive about 60 percent of their operating budget from the state. The city contributes the remainder.

Pre-school is a necessary component of the public school package.

It has been proven by educators across the nation that pre-school sets the stage for public school students for everything that follows, and that without it, students find it more difficult to adapt to the public school system here and everywhere.

We believe it would be a disaster to eliminate pre-school just as it would be a disaster for the Aldermen to make such an attempt.

We urge Alderman Marchese to spend some time studying the merits of pre-school.

We further state that once Alderman Marchese sees the enormous benefit of the pre-school that he would become its biggest booster..

Without the pre-school experience, the ability to matriculate for many students just starting out in public school will be adversely impacted. And please keep in mind that pre-school isn’t just about learning – it is about proper nutrition and most importantly, it is about allowing working-class parents to maintain jobs while their children are in school.

Everett’s pre-school program should not be fooled with by politicians thinking eliminating it could save anything.

Such efforts are futile.