Thursday, September 25, 2008
REPORT FROM THE SAINT MARY’S CLOSURE REVIEW COMMITTEE
At a meeting this past Monday the review committee created a strategy for spreading the Saint Mary’s message. In order to get the public’s attention and support in opposing closure we decided we needed to highlight certain points. It is in the best interest of our effort to save the school, and those who want to help us save it, that we keep our message simple, emotional and memorable. This will be accomplished with a platform built on three central pillars. As we go forward the Saint Mary’s community and its supporters need to emphasize that:
consensus was clobbered: In a display of unilateral and arbitrary decision-making the HRSB ignored the recommendation of its own consultant, subverted due process and changed the rules of engagement mid-stride.
community in all its forms was brushed aside:
· around the school: the impact on business, residential and institutional members in the immediate geographic community was minimized;
· within the school: a school of and by choice and likewise a community of choice and of spirit received repeated criticism for harbouring too many out-of-area students;
· within the region: the importance of preserving and fostering a youth presence in the downtown core was marginalized and the resulting effect on urban revitalization and renewal dismissed.
“small” is being slammed: government is rapidly pushing toward the bigger- is-better philosophy and we are at risk of being its next victim. We are falling prey to bullying by those in power because we don’t fit their model of education – big-box schools. Small is under attack both in principle and in fact: as an effective model of programme delivery and as a community that’s been targeted for closure five times in the last 20 years.
Whenever discussing the proposed closure, and we hope you discuss it often, these are the points we suggest and hope you will make. This is the way we hope to guide the discussion and attract support. The report that the committee is writing will stand as our full and official response to the board but our public message will emphasize these points:
Consensus, Community and Size.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the committee. You can leave messages for: Michele Gerard, co-chair, at Atlantic News, 429-5468; or Cindy Littlefair, 423-4229.