Sent by Mary Ellen Palermo
President Obama stated at his State of the Union that America would “need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world” to keep pace with the global economy. Federal educational stimulus money was given to schools to improve technology so that children can learn through simulations, interactive games, ‘intelligent tutors’ to assist in improving the quality of learning and instruction, and enabling parents to interact with teachers.
Lynn received ARRA Education Technology stimulus funds that were to be used to reform/upgrade Lynn schools by providing modern technology and computers. The obvious purpose of the stimulus grant money from the Educational Technology funds were to help to provide funds to close the achievement gap and help students from all backgrounds achieve high standards.
I hope that I am not the only one shocked to learn that Superintendent Latham and Mayor Kennedy have used the money to buy new computers and upgrade technology at City Hall while our Title 1 schools are without. Mayor Kennedy read the terms of the grant which she stated said that the money was NOT to be spent for administrative needs – what is more ‘administrative’ than City Hall? To buy 100 computers to go into City Hall and to think that 20 new computers are still sitting in the City Hall basement since August that they don’t know what to do with I find shocking. This money was for the children of Lynn to enhance their education – how can they be expected to measure up to the other children in this country and compete on the MCAS when they do not have the same resources?
It sounded to me like School Committee was never consulted on this decision. What guarantee do we have that the “Race to the Top” money is being used in the best possible way for the children to benefit? I see noted in the Item that Lynn receives grant money regularly – where does it go? Where is the ‘checks and balances’ to ensure it is being used appropriately and in the best way? I would like to see the Daily Item or Lynn Journal track and itemize the spending of the grant money given to this city at least going back 5 years or more.