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This week’s edition!

Enough is Enough: Progressives believe big, expensive buildings improve education

By Robert E. Macdonald

Mayor of Lewiston

What could possibly be the reason that Maine legislators voted down legislation, put forth by Governor Paul R. LePage, that would assure that every teacher in Maine, from Caribou to Kittery, would receive the same salary and benefits? Oh, I know, it was another “awful” idea put forth by the Governor.

This legislation would have helped cities and towns, like Lewiston, to retain seasoned teachers—teachers who often leave for other cities and towns in order to make more money. It would have also helped reduce the financial burden of local property taxpayers by relieving them of the cost of teachers’ salaries and benefits placed on them by their local school system.

But the Maine Education Association (these union bosses are not to be confused with teachers) decided it was unacceptable, thus making it dead on arrival. Yes, it was dead on arrival because of progressive state legislators who depend on the unions for campaign cash and support at election time.

Test scores go down, school populations (except Lewiston and Portland) go down, yet education costs continue to rise. New schools go up because in the minds of progressives, large and expensive new buildings are essential to improving test scores. New, not refurbished, facilities are supposedly needed to create a positive learning atmosphere.

Progressive Democrats have no problem dictating and insisting that you conform to their beliefs, but what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?

In Lowell, Massachusetts, the city is in a quandary. They must decide whether to build a new high school or renovate the current high school, which was built in the 1920s. To renovate the current school would cost $352.2 million. To build a new school would cost $340 million, which equates to a $12.2 million saving for taxpayers.

So what’s the problem?

Apparently if you are one of Lowell’s elite families, the last thing you want is the new high school built in your fashionable neighborhood. Imagine the poor and the great unwashed permeating the space around your personal fiefdom. But what makes this notable are the names of the people attempting to stop the construction. Progressive U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas and former progressive Congressman Marty Meehan, who is currently the president of the University of Massachusetts, have sent a letter containing the signatures of other neighborhood elites urging the Lowell City Council to renovate the current school and keep it where it is.

What can be learned from this? Progressive Democrats are always pushing for the building of new schools—except if it means building a school that brings the poor and the unprivileged into their elitist neighborhood. Then suddenly their attitude changes: not in our neighborhood!

Several years ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a black pastor rented building space to set up a school for a dozen black children. Immediately the Cambridge elite passed around a petition to stop the school. One of the signers of this petition was renowned progressive Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, a one-time candidate for United States Supreme Court.

Shortly after signing the petition he was chagrined to find a picture of the petition with his name plastered on the front page of the Boston Herald. And what was his excuse for signing it? He never read it!

In many impoverished neighborhoods throughout the country, parents clamor for more charter schools. Many of these children are on long waiting lists to attend these schools. Parents want their children to live in condos, not projects. Parents want their children to be successful and work for a major corporation, not deal drugs on the neighborhood streets. They want their children vacationing in popular vacation spots, not the city pool down the street.

These children are endowed with the potential of being tomorrow’s leaders. Yet they are

being denied a chance for upward mobility and success by progressive politicians and union leaders.

In November 2018—remember.

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