ELT Defeated in Methuen

The possibility of Methuen accepting a one year grant to implement the State ELT (Expanded Learning Time) program was defeated tonight by the Methuen School Committee. The Committee vote was unanimous. This process began in Methuen when the School Committee voted to accept a ten thousand dollar state grant to study the possibility of bringing ELT to Methuen. As that grant driven process began both the Superintendent, Dr. Jeanne Whitten, and the School Committee pledged that such a program would not be implemented without community and committee consensus. Such consensus was not able to be built around this issue. My own vote against ELT was driven by the inability to reconcile the necessary school reassignments that the program would have mandated. Under this voluntary program not all of Methuen’s four K-8 schools would have participated, forcing us to designate two “ELT Schools” with the attendant student reshuffling that would have occurred upon program adoption. The unrest this potential had created in our community simply outweighed, in my opinion, the benefits of the program. Having made that point I must concede that the program does have many positives, and could have benefited some section of our student population. As the State of Massachusetts looks at this program they need to consider the problems that led Methuen to turn down ELT. I feel that Superintendent Whitten kept her word, and ran a strong and open process that truly took into account the strongly held views of the parents. Is there any view on ELT that you would like to share? Did the Committee do the right thing, and is there any redeeming value to ELT? Does anyone think that the Commonwealth may move towards mandatory ELT?

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2 Responses to ELT Defeated in Methuen

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    It’s good to see our liberal citizens turn down free money (the grant), and are suspicious of Government (school committee)intentions.

    I agree with the vote to drop the program. But, not for the reason you may think. WE ARE NOT GETTING EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE WITH THE EXISTING MODEL. (Sorry for yelling).

    The existing school management system will, in my opinion, fail our kids. Inclusion of Mayors, Governors and Presidents along with their complimentary legislative bodies will favor Unions, administrator and only pay lip service to the consumers of educational (the students). Good local management will trump acronyms any day. (“No child left behind” will destroy education in the country, even more than it is.) In spite of the trumpeting of the MCAS improvements We fall far behind other countries in math and other subjects.

    Someday, if you are interested, we can discuss means of improving education.

    Conservative Philosophy: Money does not solve problems, proper program design does.

    Have a good day your honor.



  2. TeacherLady says:

    That’s a relief! The funding issues, upheaval of students, and transportation issues were all huge deterrants. I personally also do not feel a longer day would benefit younger elementary students; ultimately, it could have turned into extended daycare instead of extended learning time.

    I think the needs of those “sections of our student population” can be met in other, less expensive (and less invasive) ways. For example, could we expand the Century 21 After school program? There is a waiting list, and I have seen many students benefit from this program. It offers snacks, transportation, homework help, and other “enrichment” activities… sounds a little like ELT, doesn’t it?


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