Tuesday November 13, 2012

I was outraged when I read Interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy’s letter in The Eagle Saturday ("Missed chance For $20M grant.") The Pittsfield community has been working tirelessly to ensure that our children have the opportunities they need to ensure a better future for them and a thriving community for all of us. We’ve been hearing positive news from the work of the Pittsfield Promise and the Compact For Edu cation. Groups of caring community leaders such as these along with the Berkshire United Way, Berkshire Priorities and others are working collaboratively with professionals, government representatives, community volunteers and the public schools.

Pittsfield was recently presented with an All America City Award from the National Civil League for the work that’s being done to improve grade level reading proficiency through the Pittsfield Promise. This distinction is prestigious and has provided leverage for grant monies to aide in the efforts to improve our children’s education outcomes.

There is no doubt in my mind that with the collaborative work that’s happening in this community Pittsfield would have submitted a competitive proposal for the $20M grant that Dr. Noseworthy and his staff worked so hard to apply for. I commend them for caring so deeply for our children and the community to spearhead this effort.

Is everyone on board with what this community is trying to do to improve education except the teachers union? I see its no vote to this grant application as purely selfish. Teachers could only have been thinking about what change this would mean for them rather than looking at what this could mean to the future of our children. In the meeting between the administration and Dr. Noseworthy, the primary concern of the teachers in attendance seemed to be that it would mean more work for the teachers.

Our children are worth all of us working a little harder to get the results we need and deserve! With the recent release of the 2012 MCAS results, which demonstrated that only 51 percent of our third graders are reading proficiently or advanced, Pittsfield’s current state of education is nothing to be shouting from the rooftops about and the only way to improve it is to change, which will take commitment and support from all of the community to work harder. This grant would have been the perfect conduit to enable the necessary changes.

I’m a life-long resident of Pittsfield and have been active in the community. I’ve tried to stay positive about our future, but decisions like the one the school union made make me wonder if no matter what is best for the community and our children’s future, as long as a teacher’s union can block the good efforts of the school district and community there’s really no hope for change.

DENISE MARSHALL

Pittsfield