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School Committee Draws a Candidate

People intending to run for town offices will begin taking papers out Jan. 3. Already, a candidate has announced he will run for the School Committee.

Candidates for Milford town offices will begin taking out papers next week, but already, one person has announced his candidacy for the Milford School Committee.

Scott Harrison, 35, a senior vice president at , said he plans to run for a seat on the seven-member committee.

Incumbents whose seats expire in April are Loriann Baranauskas, now serving as chairwoman, Patrick Kennelly and Mike Walsh. Kennelly said Wednesday he does not plan to run again. Walsh indicated he will seek re-election. Baranauskas could not be reached to comment.

Harrison grew up in Milford and graduated from in 1995. He and his wife, Catherine (Davis) Harrison, live on Trinity Drive with their two children. Both children attend Milford Public Schools: his daughter at , his son at .

Harrison is running for public office for the first time. He said he had been thinking about it for some time, and felt this year was the right time.

The issues he is most interested in, he said, include communications between the school system and parents, impacts of demographic change on education and capital planning, including for new schools.

, for example, is "busting at the seams," he said.

"We put a lot of Band-Aid fixes in some of our schools."

Candidates for public office can begin taking out nomination papers on Jan. 3, according to the Milford Town Clerk's office. The municipal election is April 2.

Gram December 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Any experience in a classroom?
Joe Kane December 29, 2011 at 03:52 PM
If we are busting at the seams, the first thing that should be looked at is whether everyone that is attending is legally a citizen. Once that is determined, action should be taken to remove those people from the system. Then re-evaluate whether we are "busting at the seams"!! Doesn't that make sense??!!
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 29, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Schools are required to educate every child of school age that lives within their boundaries, whether they came to this country legally or not. That doesn't include college, but it means that every kid in K-12 has a right to be in those classrooms. This is an issue that has impacted many, many schools and systems, not just here in Milford.
Joe Kane December 29, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Mary, it is time to change that law.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 29, 2011 at 05:33 PM
I think it's federal law. Teachers aren't allowed to ask about the legal status of parents. As a teacher, some of my best students were immigrants. I can't see arguing for not educating people, but that's my personal opinion.
Joe Kane December 29, 2011 at 05:40 PM
This law is wrong. Why should you and I pay for someone's kids who are scamming the law and society? What is next? We HAVE to feed them or house them? If you make it easy for those who are here illegally, then they will stay. If you make it difficult, then they will leave. I am all for LEGAL Immigration, but they must come through the Front Door in order to enter and participate in what our country offers to its citizens. Don't you agree??!!
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 29, 2011 at 05:48 PM
I understand, but here, you would be punishing the children of the people who came here illegally. The kids have done nothing wrong.
Joe Kane December 29, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Mary - if my wife and I commit crimes, should advantages be given to my children?
Joe Kane December 29, 2011 at 05:52 PM
By the way, many of these federal laws were enacted during the 1990's when school populations were decreasing. I know some teachers who were happy to have Illegals in their classrooms because it saved their jobs. Is that right??!! How about if Firefighters lit fires around town to justify keeping their jobs?? We have strayed from the priciples of what is right and wrong because of the Holy Dollar.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 29, 2011 at 06:04 PM
I don't know the history of the law, I do know that in certain parts of the county, it's a non-issue, in other places, it's completely transformed the schools, almost overnight. In all honesty, teaching children who know very little English is extremely challenging. I have taught in Springfield, where most of the kids are not immigrants, because they are Puerto Rican. But when they're trying to learn English, a single word can throw a kid off the meaning of a poem, or a line in a story. It's hard to remember that when you are a teacher, and you're trying to understand why the kid didn't understand the essay, or the assignment. I just think it makes better sense to educate children who are here. It's the ticket out of poverty, and a way for children (and their families) to become assimilated in our culture.
David Nolta December 29, 2011 at 06:42 PM
By the way, a great deal has been written about Deval Patrick's very controversial stance on allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. Aside from the fact that college-age students represent a very different "kettle of fish" from child or fully adult illegals (there is a long tradition in Western education of students traveling and studying far away from home as an integral part of their education and, again traditionally, their immigration status has been underplayed at this point in their lives), the economic arguments are fascinating. In short, ideally, this allowance AUGMENTS rather than reduces funding for the Commonwealth...
David Nolta December 29, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Given that this discussion, like most discussions involving the place of government (whether local, State, or Federal) in public schools, turns on the issue of money, one interesting area of research might be to look at the actual costs of educating children who are here illegally (the issue of educating children who are BORN here, and who are therefore LEGAL CITIZENS under the law as it stands, is a separate one altogether; if people want to change that law, it is up to people to do it, rather than to argue for overlooking--that is to say, in fact, breaking--it). And then to compare those figures to the costs of repatriating those illegals with their presumably illegal families. To this latter cost would have to be added the costs of maintaining a far stronger and more vigilant program to curtail readmissions into the country than is now, apparently, in place--despite, I must add, President Obama's record numbers of deportations and only partially successful attempt to strengthen such programs.
David Nolta December 29, 2011 at 11:29 PM
That's a (banned?) political advertisement, and the goal is to make you vote for someone. Our future unless we smarten up is to be afraid of anything anybody--regardless of his or her own agenda--tells us to be afraid of. Americans are not cowards, and they will not be fooled so easily.
David Nolta December 30, 2011 at 01:25 AM
With regard to American intelligence, though our level of education--and our educational status and standards--are felt to be dropping, we remain, in terms of intellectual strength and humanistic values (if those things can even be seen as separate), the very pinnacle of civilizations in the history of the world.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 30, 2011 at 01:45 AM
American higher education is a destination for the brightest students internationally, but many students city schools are really getting nothing that will help them survive. I had many conversations with students who wanted to drop out, and tried to convince them that it was the only way out of their situation, but for some, it was too much. And to them, I was just another adult telling them what to do, probably. It's a real problem in this country. Anyone interested in American education should watch Waiting for Superman. I thought it took a kind of simplistic view of charter schools, but the lottery sequence is just devastating.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) December 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM
I meant to say I was telling kids that staying in school was the only way to go... it sounds like I was telling them to drop out... but now I understand why some of the schools in the country have a 50 percent dropout rate, and it's not the fault of teachers, from what I experienced. It's much more complex. I had one student leave because he was tired of being told what he could wear to school, he kept getting suspended for that, and he wasn't succeeding. I saw him when I was teaching summer school, waiting for a bus, wearing a uniform for a donut shop. That's not what he deserved, but, it happened.
David Nolta December 30, 2011 at 02:59 PM
A few comments above, on the topic of education, Mr. Rizoli said, "problem is we're being scammed by the illegals who are no (sic) filling up the schools with their kids." Now, a few comments down, he says, "Teachers unions are the biggest problem." Hmmm. And as for that link--like most of them, this one contains no "info" at all. It is the usual rant about how we should get rid of teacher's unions because all unions are bad, and corporal punishment should be brought back into the schools. It is amazing how fast people have forgotten what this country was like before there were unions--in the early 1930's more than a quarter of the working population retired without pensions into abject poverty. To pick on teachers and the police (another of Mr. Rizoli's frequent targets) is absurd--people who work in these professions, like nurses (also strengthened by participation in unions), are, traditionally, notoriously underpaid. But you would need to have some grasp of history to understand this... and that's where education comes in.
carl berke March 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Charter schools are an attempt to undermine the essence of civic and academic education in this country. The current malaise has roots in the generally anti-intellectual GOP and its attemptys to punish teachers and schools by financially ignoring them ans at the same time to put every student into a preconceived slot that will not excercise the strengths of indivduals but the cheapest methods of cramming everyone out of a cake decorator. I spent 40 years in education and in text publishing and I saw our universities turn in to employment agencies for corporations and now everyone but a few needs remediation. College textbooks now do not offer the challenge of a 1950's high school curriculum.
milfordman March 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Charter schools can and have been viable alternatives to the monopoly of government run public schools. They should be encouraged.
Interested Resident March 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM
No, but they shouldn't be punished either. In truth the problem is not with the schools who cannot ethically involve themselves in these issues, but instead with the fact that ICE does not deport families promptly. Our school resources are strained, but more than that the children are harmed in immeasurable ways. When foreign born, illegal children are raised in USA, they are culturally American and end up with no rights, poor prospects and no real "home" country to return to. Everyone is punished.
milfordman March 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
And just to be clear, total expenditures per pupil are nearly two-and-a-half times higher today than in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, while student achievement toward the end of high school has been flat or has even declined slightly (in science). You may be wondering: ”What did we get for that huge increase in spending?” The answer is: a lot more public school employees. The number of public school employees divided by the number of students enrolled. This ratio of staff to students has gone up by 70 percent since 1970, swelling the ranks of the public school employee unions to about 4.5 million people. And charter schools are famously non-union. Which is why you see teacher's unions leading the charge against charter schools and school choice generally. I'm not against spending money. I'm for results. Both the data and anecdotes like Carl's tell us that we are not getting the results we have a right to expect from an almost 250% increase in spending.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) March 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I would agree with Milfordman here. My last neighborhood in Atlanta had a charter school that was so popular it turned to a lottery by its third year. People were moving in to my neighborhood to get within its boundaries. You want parents with young kids in city neighborhoods, which is where many of the charters are locating. And now many school systems are starting their own charter schools, because it gives them more flexibility with curriculum. I covered some amazing schools as a reporter that were charters. One taught Arabic. In Georgia. Imagine!
milfordman March 27, 2012 at 06:21 PM
There is a lot of innovation going on outside the constraints of the public school systems in charter schools, home schoolers, and web based instruction. Check out this fabulous website: khanacademy.org
carl berke March 28, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I disagree with the need or the conceptual goal of charter schools. This is a part of the trend by really insidous conservatives to undermine and dismantle the public schools. Conservatives do not think that an educated populace from that source is good for their constant war against progressive policies or democratic principles. They would prefer not to have what was produced in the late 19th and the 20th centuries which was 100's of millions of people educated in the basic tenets of participatory democracy. They have successfully misled people about the accomplishments and advances of public education. They would prefer what happens in upper class schools where elitism is bred. They have as an alternative, the charter schools, which has no distinguishing traits other than exclusivity. And they want to pay for it with taxpayer dollars. This is not only absurd, to not remedy whatever ills are perceived in a public system, but to throw it out as fit only for the non-elites. This country as well as other democracies are supported and grown by an early civic minded curricula that educates and promotes democratic ideas. That is not happening as well today because of many things, not the least of being neglect but also also due to a tremendous ignorance among those who are promoting elitism based on irrational principles, such as religion. To suggest that we abandon a public system is to actually destroy this republic.

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