It is not often that one sees Forest Park parents turn out at a Proviso Township High School board meeting to raise concerns about their children’s education. But it happened last week as two dads spoke about their perceptions that curriculum and staffing are being watered down at the Proviso Math and Science Academy. The academy, which is just launching into its second year, has effectively doubled its enrollment as it now houses both a freshman and a sophomore class.
We’re unsure of the specifics of their concerns-a reduction in the length of classes, short staffing in security and the lunchroom-but we are gratified to see these gentlemen speak up.
Any school benefits immeasurably when parents are advocates for their kids and their school. That is especially true when a school is brand new and traditions and expectations are still thin. That is especially true when that school is run under the auspices of the politically cancerous Proviso Township banner.
We are innately suspicious of the motivations which drive this school district. When newly minted Supt. Stanley Fields says the district has two priorities and that they are fiscal responsibility and academic performance, we are cheered. Yet the day-to-day reality is that the priorities of this district are political back-biting, intrigue and deceit.
Prove us wrong.
We have been critical in the past of the diversion of resources which created the Academy while Proviso East and West suffered. But the school exists, it has a specific mission, and its long-term success is now vital to the district. The new superintendent ought to embrace the activist Forest Park dads, and others we hope will follow. He will need their energy as a counterweight to the political nonsense he will encounter on the school board.
Remember Forest Park
There are few things we like more than local history. Heck, we’re in the business of recording the first draft of local history.
So word that Forest Park is planning a lengthy celebration of the 100 years since its name officially changed from the town of Harlem, is an easy pleasure for us.
Two things we know about this town: It has a load of interesting stories to tell, and it knows how to throw a party. Early plans of the Forest Park Centennial Committee reflect both the storytelling and the big bash. A new local history book will be a welcome addition to local lore. And the three-day-long birthday party a year from this Labor Day sounds like a Forest Park extravaganza.
Forest Park’s history is rich with ethnicity and small-town virtues. It has had more than its share of tall tales and big personalities. Modern days in town have brought many changes and many new people. A year devoted to looking backward at Forest Park’s roots will be welcome.