Tonawanda News

Editorials

March 21, 2012

OUR VIEW: Time to fundamentally rethink education

— — In the three school districts primarily composing the Tonawandas we are seeing, in varying degrees, the beginning of the end of education here as we know it.

The money we have, for generations, used to fund our schools has all but dried up. Budget hawks at the federal and state levels — and from both political parties — have faced up to the reality that Congress can’t spend its way out of trouble and Albany can’t do the same with raising taxes.

The end result is what you see happening here. North Tonawanda is closing an elementary school and laying off teachers. The City of Tonawanda may well do the same and close a school. The laundry list of layoffs proposed and documented in Tuesday’s paper was nothing short of eye-popping.

The Ken-Ton district is facing its own mountain to climb and a full-day kindergarten program may not survive the hike.

What’s next? No more history class?

Just in our tiny corner of the country, we are missing millions of dollars to fund our schools.

The end result, if we continue on this path of cutting through the bone will be education factories: Hulking, ominous buildings housing too many students with too few teachers and precious few resources to enlighten and educate our children to face the technology era.

Education funding levels aren’t likely to substantially increase anytime soon. That means the question of how to close these deficits isn’t going away. The answer cannot simply be to close a school every year and cram ever more children into the remaining space.

We must fundamentally rethink the system if we are to survive and provide a meaningful primary and secondary public education.

This will require asking tough questions. We must look past whether an individual school should exist and ask, more broadly, does this district need to exist? Should North Tonawanda align itself with Niagara-Wheatfield or Starpoint — or both? Should Tonawanda, by far the smallest of the three districts, merge with Ken-Ton?

What savings would be seen that could ease the cuts we’re facing to classroom instruction?

Around here, the powers that be are beyond reticent to suggest such wholesale changes. Entrenched interests in the districts and their unions — and simple pride on the part of the community at large — prevent such conversations from ever taking place in any meaningful way.

But we are facing a new reality: Change or die. These budget shortfalls cannot continue to be met by cutting programs and the teachers who run them. Our federal spending and state taxes cannot continue to go up. Something has got to give.

The sooner the education leaders in this community face up to that reality and begin to address it, the more we can save and the better off we will be. And the better off our children will be, too.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: 'Jefferson lives' a testament to enduring freedom One hundred and eighty-eight years ago today, our nation's second president, John Adams, uttered his last bitter, ironic words: "Jefferson lives." Thomas Jefferson didn't have much of a response. He'd died earlier that day.

    July 4, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Parking law change a step in right direction We were pleased to see lawmakers in the City of Tonawanda throw it in reverse this week and vote to abolish an overnight parking during the summer in the city after initially voting to keep it last month.

    July 3, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Council should change parking law City of Tonawanda leaders missed an opportunity to make life a little easier for residents this week when they shot down by a 3-2 Common Council vote a proposal to allow residents to park on the street overnight during the summer.

    June 5, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: City right to cut ties with Natale Voters spoke clearly last year in council races and in the mayoral race they did not approve of the deal negotiated by the city's former mayor, Ron Pilozzi.

    April 3, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Turning the corner on winter -- we hope The lead on Thursday's story about the latest -- and dear God we hope the last -- winter storm of the season pretty much said it all. Enough already.

    March 29, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Wilson's legacy includes Bills in Buffalo We all owe Mr. Wilson a debt of gratitude for demonstrating such fierce loyalty to Buffalo and to the fans of his team.

    March 26, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Tonawanda Coke sentence offers deserved answers U.S. Chief District Judge William Skretny got Wednesday's sentencing of Tonawanda Coke right in acknowledging the pain and suffering the plant has caused its neighbors -- while also noting it deserves a chance to improve its standing in the community now that the trial is over.

    March 20, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Time to get a handle on robocalls Calling himself "Robo Cop," U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer last week called for harsher fines and even jail time for repeat offenders who violate the federal "Do Not Call" rules with pre-recorded telemarketing calls.

    February 16, 2014

  • St. Francis closure demands explanation

    January 20, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue