Thursday, May 1, 2008

Students rallied to the cause - Students used by Educators.

The difference between what I know now at 44 and what I knew when I was in high school is amazing. Even the difference between what I know now and what I knew at 29 is amazing. Most people know that most teenagers believe they know everything. It is not until people become adults they realize how little they actually knew when they were in high school. I am glad to say when I was in high school my teachers had enough class to not use us as political pawns. I can tell you knowing what I know now I would have been very angry if they had.

I am sure these students have not had a course in economics or finance and that they have no concept of what is in teachers' contracts or a teacher's pension. Further I am sure they have no concept as to how the current situation will effect their tax burden when they are adults. Shame on every adult who is using these children for their own gain.

After reading the below story I am reminded of the Komsomol.


Quote of the Day "Government schools will teach children that government is wonderful." Neal Boortz

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader.

Students rallied to the cause
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

MANCHESTER – An impressive number of students packed Memorial High School's auditorium and cafeteria at Monday night's public hearing on the city budget.

Some were urged to attend by school officials.

Some rallied to the cause online at Facebook, a social networking site.

Others simply took the time to inform themselves and made the effort to turn out.

Still, the student turnout has some wondering if educators crossed a political line.

Grace Sullivan, executive director of Manchester Community Television, said she's seen plenty of budget hearings over the years.

"This was the first one that was driven by students," she said. "It was a student crusade."

Sullivan said her daughter, away at college, called her after finding an online discussion about school spending in Manchester at Facebook.

"The kids used Facebook to get it organized throughout vacation week," said Sullivan.

MaryEllen McGorry, principal of West High, makes no apologies for urging students to turn out Monday night.

"Two days before vacation and (Monday), I just got on the intercom and reminded them that there was a public hearing," said McGorry. "I encouraged them to go as (sports) teams in uniforms as a show of solidarity."

The school board has a policy that prohibits using schoolchildren as couriers to distribute printed material of a political nature.

City Athletics Director Dave Gosselin said last week that he encouraged students and parents to attend Monday's meeting and protect funding for sports.

Superintendent Henry Aliberti said removing the middle man and speaking directly to parents about the possibility of spending cuts doesn't violate district policy. But Aliberti said he'd have to double-check district policy to see if school officials are allowed to talk to students the same way.

Former Mayor Raymond Wieczorek, now an executive councilor, thinks that's "splitting hairs."

Wieczorek presided at City Hall in the 1990s when the school board policy was adopted. He said school-wide announcements and teacher-student budget talks are "absolutely" the same thing as printed political material.

Rachel Hedge, a Memorial junior who spoke at Monday's hearing, said she didn't need prodding to attend.

"For those of you who are criticizing the teachers saying that they scared' us into attending, you could not be further from the truth," Hedge wrote at "Not one of my teachers told me that I should attend or speak."

Tonya Ryan, of Manchester, wrote in with a different slant.

"My daughter was told by one of her teachers that her music class could be cut. I had to talk to her and inform her that it was not for certain just to calm her down," wrote Ryan. "How dare this school department manipulate my children and others for their political stances!"

Mayor Frank Guinta said students should be encouraged to attend civic meetings and decide issues for themselves.

"I think what occurred at this public hearing was designed for political posturing rather than civic engagement," said Guinta.

"It appeared very clear that they were encouraged to take a particular stance," he said, "and that's where the objection is."

McGorry said she was aware of school district policy when making her announcements.

"I certainly didn't consider it skirting the policy at all," she said. "I believe I was informing the students of their right to attend and be heard like any other citizen."

Wieczorek said the concept behind the school board's policy on political mailings is to avoid adults using kids as pawns in the budget process.

"Why wouldn't you expect the kids to come out lobbying for their schools if they're asked," he said.

Hedge sees it differently.

"We are high schoolers; almost adults," she wrote. "We understand what this budget could do to our future. ... We have the right given to us by the First Amendment to exercise free speech and assembly."

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