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Is More Money for Tolland Schools the Answer to Better Education for the Children of Tolland?

Is More Money for Tolland Schools the Only Answer to Better Education?

I am one Tolland Mom who has nothing but praise for our children’s 39 years in Tolland’s public schools. Do the math.…3 children, grade K through grade 12 = 39 years!     

Recently, there have been numerous negative comments in the Patch concerning Tolland’s school system. An outspoken number of parents believe that our Tolland schools do not live up to their dreams of perfect all-around education for their children.            

As a senior resident of Tolland for 43 years and registered Independent, be aware that politics play no part in my personal praise of Tolland schools. Concerned citizens have indicated that we seniors should move out of town now that we are out of the educational loop. It is a fact that our children have finished school, but we are not planning a move to Florida or to a retirement community to get out of the way of Tolland’s younger and seemingly more affluent and more intelligent? movers and shakers. We do still care what becomes of Tolland's youngest citizens.  

My husband and I hold advanced college degrees, and education has always been a priority. A decision was made, early on, to send our three children through the Tolland school system, Tolland kindergarten to Tolland High School. Parker Elementary School (formerly Meadowbrook), Tolland Middle School and Tolland High School offered small-town personal education and that was good enough for us. We briefly considered area private schools, but decided against taking the children away from friends and solid small-town values. 

School problems that arose over the years were addressed immediately in our home.  We were the parents and that was our responsibility!  We never expected teachers to know and understand our children the way we did. When our son had an early math problem, we hired a private tutor and gladly paid the fee. All three children had private music instruction and we gladly paid the fees. It was the time for our children to experience their dreams and their opportunity to excel. Family vacations and superfluous activities were put on hold. 

Our elementary school principal at the time, Bob Lincoln, knew me well and was never surprised to get a phone call. He likely doesn’t recall my request, first day of one school year, to change one of our son’s teachers. I phoned him immediately because I knew that this was not the best teacher for our son and might result in poor performance. Bob likely doesn’t remember another conversation when I asked him if he would like our very talkative and overly sociable son to move in with him until high school graduation!

Homework was top priority in our home. It was our responsibility each and every school day to make certain that homework was checked and completed. Remember, there were no home computers at that time which meant numerous trips to our former very small Tolland Library (now Tolland Historical Society) for books and research. 

There was plenty of time left for extra-curricular activities and sports enjoyed by our children. If there had been a fee for cross country, baseball, extra science or math activities, we would have gladly paid the fees. Band instruments were our responsibility and we wrote the checks for used and new instruments as needed. We are not wealthy, but the children came first.

We told our daughter and two sons to "reach for the stars" and they were able to do this through the Tolland public school system. Our daughter is a respected Developmental Pediatrician specializing in autism, physical and mental disabilities and holds M.D. & D.M.D. degrees.  She is on staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore. Both our sons graduated from top-rated universities and hold advanced degrees and financial letters in accounting and business administration. And, by the way, you won’t hear any of this from our children, modest about their accomplishments. My husband and I are proud to do the bragging for them. 

Our 3 children did exceedingly well without a multi-million dollar state of the art high school, without an expanded town library, without all the extras that have seemingly become so necessary and important to some Tolland residents.   

In conclusion, take responsibility for your children’s educations. Encourage them and give them the confidence to succeed in life. This is your job as parents. True, “It takes a village to raise a child, ” but it takes involved parents to guide a child on the road to success. Don’t expect the Tolland school system and teachers to perform your miracles.  IT’S ALL UP TO YOU!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Disgusted April 20, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I have actually attended quite a few Town Council meetings, and was especially amused at one of the last TC meetings at the High School when your husband got angry and called Mr. Guzman out on the carpet for "having all the information" people needed to know, and was then admonished by another board member who felt his remarks were too hostile towards Mr.Guzman...ah well, I guess we all have our moments of being "upset," Paulette.That said, I am indeed angry at the way I have seen things handled by the BOE and other town officials over the past year and wish I could identify myself. But I cannot and do not need to justify my reasons for being anonymous. You do not need to know my name in order to have a thoughtful discourse with me or any other people who have posted anonymously on this site. And frankly, your suggestion that the Patch force people to give their names in order to opine is suppressive in nature and a form of blocking people's freedom of speech. I see that you like to quote authors, so I ask you to ponder this Shakespeare quote..." What is in a name ? " The point being, what matters is what something "is" not what it is "called." I could put any "name" I wanted on here and no-one would know the difference. It doesn't matter. What matters is that people are allowed to speak freely whether they agree with you or not. And as for your comment about "moving on" when you see my "Disgusted" posting. Then why didn't you this time ? (Were you angry?)
Paulette Belsito April 20, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I agree with much you say. I did not move on from your comment this time because the "Patch" has not been having major trouble with their system & when I arrived home this afternoon, I immediately looked to see if it had been corrected (I'm waiting to post my next blog post; I'll bet you can't wait!) Excellent that you attend TC meetings....many more residents should be attending. So, you are acquainted with my husband & have seen first-hand that he doesn't back away from his beliefs. I will agree that people are free to use any name they wish on their comments. The name "Disgusted" just seems negative to me! The "Patch" policy will not change to require actual names because it is a matter of freedom of speech. It's just easier & more personal for some of us to address a person by his or her name. I wasn't angry at your comment but was annoyed that my husband was brought into the conversation. I pay little attention to Sam's political involvement. Remember? I'm a registered Independent! Sam probably isn't sure if I voted for him! Keep commenting whatever you choose to call yourself. The "Patch" needs every contributor.
Disgusted April 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Paulette, I only mentioned him in reference to the fact that, having a board member in the family, I thought you would understand some of the unfair "politicking" that goes on in town. I have seen the games first hand, and being able to speak freely without fear of retaliation is important. As for your opinions, you are entitled to them- I only addressed you directly because I took exception with your admonishment of my anonymity.
Megan Bard April 26, 2012 at 01:09 PM
To all, Paulette is correct. Patch had problems with the comment system a week or so ago, but that should be corrected now. Please keep the conversation going, but I ask that you do so in a civil manner and after having read the Patch Terms of Use: http://tolland.patch.com/terms. Best, Megan
Tolland taxpayer April 27, 2012 at 06:34 PM
And tolland taxpayers also have one of the largest Tax burdens in the state! There's nothing more to give! We're going to have to get more reactive with what we have or widen the tax base. simple

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