September 20, 2007

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Publisher's Note
By†Jody Reese

After failing federal standards for three straight years the state government can now come in and take over the Manchester School District, but there is little chance that that will happen.

Instead, the state is working with Manchester to update text books and figure out why its schools arenít doing better.

One issue that can easily get lost in the talk about failing schools and all the property tax dollars it takes to keep the schools going is Manchesterís large school-age refugee population.

Manchester has seen groups from Greece, Ireland, Italy and Quebec come here to work. And in each case, it was our schools that helped get the second generation ready to fully integrate into the city by becoming teachers, business owners, doctors and tradesmen. Education (and hard work) was the building block that lifted these folks out of poverty and into middle class America.

That much hasnít changed.

Manchesterís refugees arenít going anywhere. They arenít going to go back to where they came from. These folks are here and they are here to stay. That raises the question then, are we better off by making sure their kids are well educated or not?

Of course at this point, it become obvious that our only option as a city and as a state is to make sure these kids get a sterling education, so they grow up to become school teachers, business owners, professionals and tradesmen. We surely donít even want to imagine what will happen if these kids drop out of high school.

While more money for English as a second language is helpful, perhaps even more helpful is community support. There are already several groups, including the Manchester Boys and Girls Club, that have been helping these groups become part of our community. This additional community support could come in the form of after-school tutoring, internships, mentoring, coaching and whatever else will help these refugee children excel in school. Not only would this help keeps these kids in school and keep them from failing, it also doesnít cost much money. A project like this could be organized by a non-profit, the school board or even the mayor.

Manchester needs leadership on this issue before it gets beyond us and becomes a lot more expensive as welfare and crime costs skyrocket.

Pride, Nashuaís pride
The Nashua Pride won their world series, the Can-Am championship, recently, but the team is still in danger of being moved. As it turns out, a baseball team is a business and it needs to make a bit of money. Sounds reasonable to me.

If Nashua wants to keep the team, then Nashua needs to get out and support the team by going to games and buying merchandise. The future of the Pride is in hands of Gate City residents. If itís important to residents, the team will survive. If not, it wonít. Whatís the saying ó people get the government they deserve? How about, people get the baseball team they support. .