There is no question, we have been taken advantage of. We are paying exorbitant prices for fuel; costs of even the most basic foods have been driven up; our bankers and insurers, our HMOs have robbed us of our fundamental need for a secure present and future; and our CEOs have continued their greed in the face of our poverty. But denying our youngsters the right to the finest education we can and should provide is an outrage we cannot allow.

To let some define a good education by a superficial budget number is to try to force a size 10 foot into a size 8 shoe - the "make it fit" philosophy. Whatever the current economic climate, providing quality education needs to remain our priority; an investment in education is indeed an economic investment, as well. We need to maintain high standards so that every child has the highest quality education and, consequently, the best chance for future life success. One size does not fit all. What size classes work best and for whom? Which diverse learning styles bring out the best in our diverse population? How many educational challenges will we successfully overcome? How will your children be prepared to best cope with an unknown future? These are some of the questions we should be asking - and allowing our educators to answer. Pulling a magic budget number out of the air is no solution.

Marie Jo Spinella

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