The rancor over President Obama’s speech to children tomorrow doesn’t reflect well on either side. As is often the case in brush ups like this, the needs and opinions of the kids in question have been pushed to the side…the better to clear space for the grown ups to fight. Hopefully President Obama’s words will put the debate to rest. His message: dream big, study hard, and don’t give up – no matter the odds.
$38 million in federal stimulus funds for Belmont? You betcha! That was the value, in today’s dollars, of a town plan, approved by the federal government, to rapidly modernize Belmont after World War II.
An interesting article in yesterday’s New York Times on changes coming to a classroom near you: digital textbooks. The article, by Tamar Lewin, talks about pilot projects in school districts in Arizona, Louisiana and California that are replacing traditional printed textbooks with online, digital equivalents, or even “open source” texts compiled from materials and lessons generated by teachers or from public (and reliable) sources of information online.
At Winn Brook Elementary, for example, Principal Janet Carey wrote this week that she fielded around 700 applications for four open positions at that school to replace retiring staff or accomodate larger than expected classes: one first grade teacher, two, fourth grade teachers and an art teacher. That’s 175 applicants per position, or an acceptance rate of just over one half of one percent, on average. Compare that with Harvard University’s comparatively generous 7% acceptance rate (2,046 of 29,112 applicants) this year. No surprise: Belmont ended up with some top flight candidates to fill those open positions.
I’ve heard from the Wellington Building Committee that my recent post on Wellington goodness which presented some artist’s renderings and site plans for the new Wellington Elementary presented site plans that are not the latest and greatest and that there’s some confusion about some of the content of those drawings. I’ve been asked to take down both the site plans and the artist’s renderings of the school interior to avoid further confusion, and complied with that request.
There will be a public meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the progress of the New Wellington Elementary project.
Belmont’s latest consolidation plan is the product of an informal and closed door group of the Town’s senior elected officials that some have dubbed the “Officers’ Group.” Is Belmont closing the doors on Open Government?
With all the debate in town about preserving our elementary school libraries, I couldn’t help but note this story on the front page of today’s New York Times about sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury’s crusade to preserve public libraries in his home, Ventura County, California.
A letter from the Save Our Libraries Committee urges the School Committee to allocate funds recently diverted from the Town’s free cash to maintain Library Aide positions. Read the full letter.
Belmont’s name showed up on a list of 11 Bay State towns that had passed Prop 2 1/2 overrides, despite the rough economy. The article, on the front page of today’s Globe,talks about overrides for schools, libraries and public services passing in towns like Rockland, Milton.