On Budget Cuts and Education: An Open Letter to the Malden Community About the Future of our Education
By JESSICA LYNN DEPAULA and JAMES MAZARAKIS The education system is in place for students to learn and grow as individuals. It seems as though it is a simple concept, but the reality is far more complicated than one statement. Bureaucracies, legal issues and economic hardships make the true aspirations of a school system obscure. Where can one go to fix the ongoing issues that plague the system? Well, for one - the students. What we need as a high school community is more support for the activities that help students not only attend school each and every day, but to strive for success in our everyday lives as students and members of society. Athletics, extracurricular organizations, music classes, play production, even Blue and Gold--these are the courses and programs that have become vital to Malden High School and its students. Not only do we need these essential aspects of the school in order to function as something other than a large group of serial test-takers, we need to be allowed and encouraged to think and express ourselves creatively for the more obvious reasons: increased attendance, improved health benefits, higher grades-and for another reason, as well: creativity, gone ignored and unnurtured, demands to be seen and heard. We shouldn’t be discussing the possibility of losing these programs every year during budget discussions; we should be advocating the expansion of them, as well as offering additional programs. In this paper alone there are dozens of profiles on seniors who "made it" in the high school court. In an overwhelming majority of these profiles, the students found solace in a sport, club, or activity that motivated them not only to do well in school, but to become better people. It is, admittedly, a tough task. In this day and age, budget cuts and uneven funding across schools make it more than a challenge to implement much-needed changes. As students, we feel that our community is doing everything it can to “make do,” and we genuinely appreciate every time that administrators, politicians and fellow students step up at times of need. One of the ethical qualities stressed the most at our school is responsibility. Well, we believe now is a time for responsibility. We, the people, are responsible for an educational system that is leaving our students crammed in classes bigger than they should be, not giving enough attention to the individual student and cutting crucial programs that bring students to school. It is the fault of no one, but we are still responsible, and it is our duty as a student body, school, government and community to fix it. We should be fighting for these experiences. As we watch the Class of 2014 walk the dusty path into adulthood, they will bring their everlasting memories with them - from the ninth-grade class they “survived” to the very last day of school. So, let us take their example and make the next school year one of change. With tight collaboration between students, parents, administrators and political representatives, we can make change. The real changes can’t happen just at home; they must happen on a scale that is beyond the aspirations of one student, one parent or a teacher. Real changes happen when the people unite, and the cause of promoting and increasing the numerous elective classes in this school is the perfect opportunity to show the city of Malden just how powerful the simple act of creative expression in the face of adversity is.