To the Editor:
As a mother of two Warwick public school students, it is so disheartening and frustrating to see all that is going on with the education system. I am a graduate of the Warwick school system – attending Greenwood, Winman, and Toll Gate. I was always proud to have my kids in the school system and took such pride in the education my children were receiving. But in the 19 years since I have graduated, I have seen how far Warwick has fallen. I’ve seen first hand how the school system has gone down hill and screwed not only the teachers, but the students. Our children are the driving force. They are the future. They are the reason that education exists. As parents, as human beings, as adults, the most important thing to all of us should be the education of children. These are our future mayors, scientists, sports players, engineers, artists, nurses and how can we expect them to achieve all of that when all the adults want to do is play the blame game and throw money management around like it’s nothing?
For years, the people of Warwick have been screwed and as the days go on, you see the city falling apart. Roads that have potholes and that are in desperate need of repair. Empty buildings that just sit in lots with boarded up windows and grass waist high. Schools that have been closed down and children shoved into overflowing classrooms. Sports fields and parks that are in despair and have seen better days.
Warwick is not meant for families. Not any more. And living here everyday just proves that more and more. It finally all makes sense. It all makes sense why families and people leave Warwick altogether, why they move to other budding cities. It all makes sense on why parents choose to send their child to a ridiculously expensive private school or charter school or any other school that offers so much more than they would receive in the Warwick school department. It’s embarrassing.
It was heartbreaking for me to attend the RI Interscholastic League softball banquet last night where so many amazing players were recognized and to sit there with the 6 girls from Toll Gate while they cried when they found out that their school committee members had voted to get rid of so many things, including sports.
This fight – this protest – is not just about sports. It’s about the teacher assistants that are not available for the students that need them. It’s for the janitors that aren’t there to keep the schools clean and children healthy. It’s for the students that work so hard to get their high school diploma who are only told that their diploma won’t mean anything when they should be going off to college. It’s for all of us.
Children are the future. They always have been and they always will be. They will be here long after we’re gone and will continue that on with their own children and their children’s children. And to have adults that can look at these children and listen to these children and say “sorry” is just insulting.
Why does no one consider cutting the salaries of the highest administrators? Why does no one consider not overfunding pension plans and retiree benefits? Why does no one consider how ridiculous it is to have a completely air conditioned school department building while Toll Gate’s bridge is collapsing? Or Winman’s HVAC system doesn’t work? Why are the priorities in the wrong place?
Taxes are being increased and yet, we’re funding the city side more than the school side. Yes, the city is a whole and the school population makes up a smaller portion of that, but wouldn’t it be logical to say that if we had a better school system, better support, better opportunities that families would want to stay in Warwick and better yet move to Warwick? There have been too many meetings and too much money spent on trying to figure out why the population is declining when the citizens of Warwick could tell you that answer for free. It’s because of the school committee and the city council.
These kids will not go down without a fight. And they will remember all of this when it comes election time because as the months and years go on, they will become of voting age. Change is coming.