Letter to the editor: MAUSD to host roundtable talk
We need our communities to come together now more than ever.
Our school systems exist to educate the children of our communities so that they “can meet the challenges of lifelong learners and responsible citizens at a cost deemed acceptable by the community,” according to the ENDS policy of the Mount Abraham Unified School District. Furthermore, this policy states that MAUSD is “committed to equity in outcomes for each student so that students’ achievement of these ENDS is not limited or predetermined by characteristics such as family economics, ethnicity, race, religion, class, geography, disability, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or initial proficiencies.”
These are expectations that most of us can agree are reasonable and essential. In fact, in surveys and through our community engagement work last fall, we found that the Five Town community is largely in agreement with our educational values and their alignment with our district’s strategic plan. And yet schools are being asked to do this work within significant financial constraints as a result of challenges that existed way before the current COVID crisis. Declining student enrollment due to a declining and aging population and increased fixed costs such as health care have created an unsustainable education system. With COVID these challenges are significantly exacerbated.
While our educational leaders work around the clock to devise a plan that will address what “back to school” looks like this fall, and communication is being developed to both inform and engage families about these plans, the conversation about our educational crisis must continue.
The MAUSD school district is convening a school-community roundtable so that we can harness our collective power to address some of the issues facing our schools and communities. We want to foster better communication and relationships among the leaders of our Five Towns. These are the partnerships that will help us remain vibrant as we react with creativity and innovation to new realities.
The inequities laid bare by this pandemic demand collective community action. COVID will, hopefully sooner rather than later, be behind us. But if we don’t come together to find a new way forward, I fear these inequities will remain.
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