Letter: A plea to state
To our state officials:
As you are probably aware, the proposed closing of Massachusetts Virtual Academy (MAVA), as well as the manner in which we, the parents, were made aware of the closing, has caused an untold amount of fear, pain, uncertainty, anger and sorrow. Currently, over 470 children are enrolled at MAVA who have found safety and shelter in virtual education.
Since the announcement of the closing, we have sprung into action. We have written letters, signed petitions, attended meetings, read transcripts and researched legislation. What we have heard, over and over, from the Greenfield school board, our state representatives, the governor’s office and the Board of Education, is that it is someone else’s responsibility. We take umbrage at the suggestion that the well-being of the children of the commonwealth is someone else’s problem.
Now that we have learned what each of you cannot do, we would like to know what you CAN do on behalf of these precious children. There must be some type of compromise that would allow these children to continue their online education for one more year. Just one more year is what we are asking and pleading for: One more year for our children to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, where they aren’t afraid, where they can learn how to love to learn.
At this late date, it is nigh impossible for us to find alternative solutions for the upcoming school year. The lotteries for the charter and other alternative schools are over and done with. Few, if any of us, have the financial resources for private school, either online or brick and mortar. Under M.G.L. c. 76 §12B(k) our children have the right to remain in the Greenfield school system until their high school graduation. So we ask again, what CAN you do to help us?
There are several ways you can help. The RFP deadline for Greenfield’s application could be extended to June 1. The redacted item in the legislation that allowed Greenfield one year to wind down could be added back as a one-line amendment. Greenfield could be grandfathered in with the local school committee in control as the Horace Mann charters were. As citizens, we cannot cause these things to happen. But you CAN.
MELISSA R. PAIGE