Newburyport, Practical Civics

One of the odd things that’s happened to this blogger as a result of blogging now for 10 and a half months is that philosophically, politically I’ve moved from what I would consider a “liberal” bias more towards the “center.” My goodness.

I find this very odd.

As a blogger, I will have to admit, I’ve paid a great deal more attention to civics than I ever did as a regular resident.

Take the elementary school needs for example. Before becoming a bloggett I was all for neighborhood elementary schools, including keeping the Kelly School open.

However, as a bloggett I’ve gone “over to the dark side.”

To quote an astute reader of the Newburyport Political Blog in an email to moi:

“…the only parents that spoke at the recent meeting said that they are less interested in ‘bricks and mortar’ than sound educational programs. Many middle school parents are upset about the abysmal results on the 2006 MCAS tests. About 2/3 of our middle school students are not proficient in math – we did not even match the statewide average, never mind keep up with our peer districts.

The link to those figures is:

http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/home.asp?orgcode=02040000&view=tst”

And also according to the astute reader:

“9 out of 10 girls graduate from Newburyport High School and only 2 out of 3 boys graduate.

These graduation rates are posted on www.SchoolMatters.com (funded by Bill & Melinda Gates):

http://www.schoolmatters.com/app/data/q/stid=22/llid=116/stllid=321/

locid=1009994/catid=814/secid=3504/compid=771/site=pes ”

Not good. The point being that quality education would be the first priority, way before an unbelievably expensive, extensive building extravaganza.

(And let’s not forget the Middle School, that will need an overhaul next.)

So as a bloggett, I find myself looking at a much bigger picture than I did before becoming a bloggett. I find that I am becoming a fiscal conservative, wanting us as a City to live as much as possible within its financial means.

Whereas before I would have said, “Kelly School at all cost, I don’t care what the cost is.” Now the picture to me is that the City has many options open to it because the City owns 4 very expensive pieces of property… the Brown School, the Kelly School, the Bresnahan School and the Cherry Hill property.

If the whole notion of neighborhood schools is taken out of the picture, then fiscally all kinds of practical solutions become an option.

Alas, a female blogging Darth Vader.

I seem to be becoming a practical bloggett, one who hopes (although from reading the Newburyport Daily News today, it may be a hope against hope) that the School Committee would rethink its position on the elementary school building, diamond necklace extravaganza, and take a different approach. An approach that takes the entire community into its equation.

I don’t want to feel railroaded (the way I felt railroaded into voting for the new Newburyport High School) into something that I do not feel is good for Newburyport, MA.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport