Our community is confronted with yet another crisis. Our high school students are caught between two differing opinions. Certainly this raises concerns from all who are parents and property taxpayers.
This is not to point fingers at anyone, but this is an attempt to share another perspective. Moreover, it appears that the battle lines have been drawn. The teachers on one side and the district on the other side. Unfortunately, the students are caught in the middle.
The teachers are fighting for higher wages and better teaching accommodations. Then there is the district’s position, which is one of stewardship on behalf of the property owners who pay taxes that pay the salaries for all involved. Also, just like the teachers, the district is responsible for ensuring our children are properly educated. If we’re honest, we all would have to agree that “our children are properly educated” is where the rub is with many in the community.
For many years our students have not been the recipients of the same quality of education as those other schools that surround Proviso. The records bear that out. This isn’t a new concern. Many parents have for a long time been dissatisfied with the quality of the education from our district. Those who could afford it enrolled their children into private schools. That amounted to paying twice (taxes and tuition) for their child’s education.
Many faced the added expense of paying for remedial studies, as their child matriculated through college. Many of you can bear witness to this. That being said, I think we realize that what we’re experiencing today is a natural effect, caused by systemic dereliction to the mission of building a quality education system in the district. This has been an issue for years; it isn’t a recent phenomenon.
Because the teachers and the district are employed by the property taxpayers of the community, we too are complicit in this systemic hiccup. We grew comfortable with allowing our school system to underserve our children for too long. We should have demanded more of the administration and the teachers. I believe they would have met our demands adequately.
It’s not too late. I believe that a compromise will be achieved. However, to do so there must be a removal of the emotionalism from the discussions and negotiate from the facts, the truth, and keep the future of our children in mind. In the words of Nehemiah, I too call for a joint effort to build better! (Nehemiah 2:17 NKJV) Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.”
Bishop Reginald Saffo
Proviso Township Ministerial