Monday, November 20, 2017
   
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Education

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I look at education through two lenses – as a parent, and as a graduate myself of a public school system.  Like so many in my district, my wife and I are middle income parents of a child in the public school system – our son Alexander attends Dutemple Elementary a few blocks from our home.  So, like so many other parents in our district, we go to PTO meetings and school events to help build our school community, we work with our son’s teacher to help continue his education at home, we support the school administration’s work to raise the educational bar for all students, and we worry that cuts at the state level will force the school committee – again – to cut programs for arts, music, or sports that we see as integral to education, not extras.

Also, we know that the quality of our schools also has an impact on  many other important areas of our state.  Middle income families who are deciding where to move look mostly at property costs and values, property taxes, the livability of the neighborhood, but also the quality of schools.  Because businesses in Rhode Island want to attract and retain a creative and committed workforce, we must take to this into account.  Some middle income families might be able to find an alternative to public schools if that is what they want for their children, but they shouldn’t have to.  Our public schools should be the place where Cranston’s parents know their children will get a tremendous education to be ready for the future.

The public education I received and the high performing, well funded, public education so many of my neighbors also relied on is a critical part of the state's long term economic health.  If my son and the rest of our state's children do not have the opportunities that I and many of us had, we won’t have the educated workforce to fill the jobs that pay the taxes to support our state – and all of us will suffer.

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