Who Speaks for the Average Student?


By: Gerry Nutter, April – 2011

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (or the one).” Mr. Spock

I have used that phrase before but it comes to my mind every year around budget time for the Lowell Public Schools. The week after this paper hits the newsstands Lowell will have hired a New School Supt. Here is one parents wish that this Supt. keeps in mind the needs of ALL the students and realizes it is more important to communicate with your School Committee than with your local newspaper editor (sorry Tom) and the teachers union President.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I was not an outstanding student. I probably could and should have been but I was never a big fan of studying. It just wasn’t something I was ingrained with. So I was your average student, who thanks to some good teachers who made class interesting graduated with mostly B’s and a few C’s (back then is was mostly 80”s and a few 70”s).

I’ve always felt that the “average” student gets overlooked. There is no one speaking in front of the sub-committee or school committee for the average student. The Athletes get support, the “Special Needs” get State and Federal mandates, the “Smart” kids get their supporters, even the Musical and talented art kids have someone who speaks up for them. The average kid who goes to school because he has to, hangs out with his friends, doesn’t participate in extracurricular activities has no one stepping up to the mike and saying we need media Specialists, new textbooks, and supplies.

It’s not that people don’t care it’s just that people get caught up because they or their student are part of one of the special interest groups and want to fight for their student and their needs. I was one of 11 kids both my parents worked so there wasn’t a lot of time to get involved in the needs of the kids at school. They were working to keep food, clothes, shelter and medical needs possible for us.

Many families especially in this economy find both parents working or are in a one parent household and they are struggling the same way my parents did. My wife’s job was cut from 40 hours to 25 hours a year and a half ago, I went from 40 hours to 32 hours then back to 40 hours and now we have to take 2 furlough days a month. It is that way for many in the private sector and they don’t have the time to speak up for their student who gets by and gets average grades. For many years I was on one shift and my wife on an opposite one so there was always one of us home with the kids. Many households do that. They just don’t have the time to advocate for their average student and are happy that their student is attending and passing. Ask the teachers how few parents turn out for an open house. You get the good students and a few averages but the majority can’t or don’t have the time and have no one to be their voice.

Who speaks for the average student?

The current School Supt. on local radio recently mentioned an Athletic Budget of Approx. $1 Million dollars Total for all the sports (coaching, transportation, uniforms, equipment, etc. see attached). There was an article in the paper that said 1500 students participated in Sports programs. I’m a sports fan (was the Asst. Swim coach when I worked at the Voke) and my daughter did Crew when she was at Lowell High.

Yet for just about the same amount of money we could have kept the Library and media aides that worked at the elementary, middle and high school to service all the students. Yet because the average citizen and the average student doesn’t have or make the time to appear before a committee the average student gets overlooked, sports get saved and media and special get cut so the average student loses out. (Sorry to pick on the Jocks nothing personal)

Here’s my hope that this year with a new Supt., the average student gets kept in mind and that this year someone will step forward to run and represent the average student and parent!