Schools should be palaces

To the Editor:

I am a young Cleveland Heights homeowner. My wife and I bought our home near Cedar Lee almost five years ago. We love our home, our neighbors and our neighborhood. We spend almost all of our disposable income at the businesses on Lee Road. When we have children, we are unquestionably sending them to public schools. We don’t know yet if we love our schools and the academic community around them. In other words, we are exactly who the city and school district should be working to attract and keep in the district. We want to stay here.  In the hopes of beginning to develop a relationship with the schools, I toured Heights High on Sept. 10. There is no question that it is in disrepair and needs investment.

I am a seventh-year educator in a nearby district and I have a graduate degree in educational administration. I do not need this experience to know that the physical state of Heights High is not a sound educational environment. My training does, however, lead me to a sense of deep respect for the students and educators who have excelled despite these challenges. I trust that they will continue to persevere whether the bond issue passes or not. That’s just what kids and educators do. However, an unsafe and unsupportive learning environment is a considerable and lamentable handicap for young learners. Fixing it is just common sense.

After the tour, I described to my wife the people who attended, the way it was coordinated, the deeply committed staff and the content of the tour. We realized that we are less interested in the details of the schools’ decay and disorganization and more interested in our community’s priorities. We are concerned that there is any doubt about renovating the schools.

My wife and I are lucky enough to be economically mobile. We could, if needed, put our home on the market and move one neighborhood south to where we grew up (yeah, we used to be Shaker Raiders). But we don’t want to leave. We love our home. We love walking to TavCo and the Wine Spot and more. We love that so many local business owners live within a few blocks of us. But these great assets will be overshadowed by the message our neighbors will send us if the bond issue [Issue #81] fails.

My wife and I want to live in a community where a safe and supportive environment for our students and teachers is considered a basic utility. We want to live in a community where educators and administrators alike are trusted and admired as hard-working professionals. We want to live in a community where schools are palaces. Voting yes, passing the bond issue and effectively implementing the plan will convince young families like ours to move to and stay in the CH-UH school district. More importantly, voting yes, passing the bond issue and effectively implementing the plan are critical steps in giving our community’s children every opportunity they deserve.

Joey Mallin

Joey Mallin
Cleveland Heights

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 1:13 PM, 10.01.2013