Back to school

September 10, 2010
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Lynn’s public schools are back in operation and according to those who claim to know, the opening went smoothly and almost without a hitch.

This is good news at a time when the Lynn public schools are dramatically challenged by the need for added revenues and for new schools.

A very large number of Lynn’s public schools are hopelessly outdated.

Some are totally inefficient and counterproductive as places of learning.

In a perfect world, Lynn could use a half dozen new schools as well as needing to close down at least a half dozen schools in order to employ savings by combining school neighborhoods.

Keeping the same configuration of schools is a guarantee for failure in the future as the older schools are too expensive to run and too outdated to teach in.

We know that old classrooms at Harvard aren’t torn down.

But the Lynn public schools are not Harvard.

The future demands a consolidation of the schools into a leaner, less expensive system to run – and one that is easier to upkeep.

The continued influx into the system of students incapable of reading or writing in the English language present special problems for the school system as special teachers and support staff must be hired to keep up with state education mandates.

The school department budget is mammoth, and frankly, is in need of a major audit in order to make sure that money and talent are being apportioned correctly throughout the school system.

There is the general feeling that there are simply too many big salary positions and not enough of everything else. It is the equivalent of an army with too many generals and too few soldiers to carry on the fight.

Funding is a conundrum.

The reliance the school department must place on state and federal funding makes creating a Lynn public school budget an unenviable task.

In a world where everything is based on scores and state mandated exams to measure achievement or the lack of it, Lynn loses out every time.

This is a school system with many, many talented students who end up going to the best schools in the nation when they graduate.

But it is inevitably a big city, big problem school system with hundreds of students who do not use English as a first language and for whom writing and reading in English is an impossibility when they come into the system.

This is why Lynn’s language scores are among the lowest in the state. Math scores here are not very different.

In other words, making meaningful gains in test scores in such a system is difficult to impossible.

Another school year is upon us.

Let’s make the best of it.

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