Alternative education needed

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At its April 13 meeting, the SAD 52 Board of Directors voted for suspension of the River Valley Alternative School and to hire a consultant to tell them what to do about it.

Is this community willing to give up on its youth in order to feed the deep coffers of consultants? The experts are students, teachers and parents who have used this facility, and others who desperately need their services now. Many young adults and families described the lifelong impact of their involvement with RVAS as powerful persuasion for keeping it open.

If this were not a life-threatening decision, I would be amused that this discussion happened when the national eye is on the disgrace associated with dropping youth from the rosters of our schools. A recent Time magazine, CNN reports, and Oprah highlight critical information for increasing options for alternative education.

The development of RVAS created a surge of attention in the national pool of education. Bill Nave was recognized as Maine Teacher of the Year and our first Milken Educator. Tom Brokaw found his way to the little white building in Turner Center to highlight the exciting news that we cared enough about our youth to invest in keeping them. The board’s decision warrants the same level of national attention – from shine to shame.

Kudos to the lone board member who raised her hand for the education of all youth.

Pat Hunt, Turner

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