Letter: Build new Wahconah for future generations
To the editor:
What makes a community worth living in? I think it is what it decides are its values. It is what that community is willing to support, financially, vocally, and publicly.
Public education is a pay-it-forward system. Everyone who went to a public school was relying on the community they lived in deciding that their children were worth the cost. We build schools for future generations. We build schools for a landscape that does not yet exist.
I've been teaching for 15 years. In that time, education has changed so much. When I first started teaching, it was very much a teacher-centered practice. That was how I was taught, after all. Now, students take center stage. We no longer educate students based on an Industrial Revolution, one-size-fits all model. We are educating many students for jobs that do not yet exist. We are working on innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving. We are building skills and also teaching content to give our students the absolute best chance at being successful adults with fulfilling lives and careers. We do all of this, at Wahconah, in a building that is woefully inadequate for the role it plays in students' lives.
The building is old. It is tired. It has done its job for the last 60 years admirably well, but it hasn't the infrastructure to keep up with the demands of 21st century education. There are a multitude of base repairs needed just to keep up with safety and accessibility codes. The price tag simply for repairs is astronomically high. There isn't much of a difference between what we will pay to bring the building up to code and what we will pay (with state aid) for a brand new, state-of-the-art building.
I live in Dalton. I own two houses in this community, and I teach at Wahconah. I have two children who attend Central Berkshire schools. My husband is also a teacher at the high school. We certainly don't have an abundance of financial resources. We will be paying double the taxes as we own two properties. This is not an easy financial decision for us as a family, but we know it is the correct decision for our children, for our community. And we believe in this community.
Please get out and vote "Yes" on April 6. We need to be the community our children deserve.
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