To the Editor:
Mornings will not begin with my saying to my four year old daughter, "Good morning, Peanut, it's time for school."
"Yeah," says the child who attended Vineyard Montessori pre-school 2010-2011.
My daughter, as well as the other 76 Island children who have not yet expressed her potential, but are educable. Innate curiosity and beaming interest in learning best describes many of the pre-school children who may not return to school this year.
After reading "For want of a few words, $2M grant rejected" on Thursday, July 14, by Steve Myrick, I asked myself how a dad says to his child, "You won't return to school until 2013, because of a glitch in the application process."
How do I interpret the news? How will a four-year-old? Last year, Peanut was one of the "77 Island children" who received pre-school subsidies from Bailey Boyd Association, used to help pay pre-school tuition costs." News of the $2M grant rejected gives a totally different picture of hope for both many parents and Island children by blocking their path to a better future. That path begins with early education.
I am feeling intense frustration and rage because I was raised to believe the best education is the best education for all. Not the case for 77 Island children. This pattern is not exclusive to the Island.
In the face of both accrued bureaucratic and political monopolies in local governance, a movement toward re-empowering the local school and diffusing district authority will require a long-term effort. Still, this year dozens of Island children won't be seated anywhere trying to attain the knowledge and skills that will help enable them to create their future and control their destiny.
My interest in the importance of a pre-school education is at an all-time high, following Peanut's birth four years ago at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. And it's more than mere interest. There's grave concern. After all, it was not teachers who said that the nation was at risk because of the sorry state of education. U.S. presidents and parents alike have been saying it for decades.
I hurt for both my child and the 76 other Island children as well. When Bailey Boyd Associates "erred in listing the towns applying for grants in legal advertisements, as required," 77 Island children's lives missed the chance to be lived at their fullest.
I forgive them, because they too are only human. But this fall, perhaps I will say to Peanut, "There's no school today, but apply your gifts and talents, work with dedication and self discipline at the library. Have high expectations for yourself, Peanut, and convert every challenge into an opportunity."