TRIM would be a great idea--if it were installed in a Utopian community. However, Prince George's does not fall into that category.
Sure, its a nice idea: put a limit on property taxes and tighten the county's belt a little. County Executive Larry Hogan and his colleagues are willing and eager to do their part. So the rest of us should do the same-- right?
I, for one, want a good education. It seems to me, considering the state of affairs in the world as well as of the United States, that Prince George's citizens would be concerned about, and aware of, the precarious position in which TRIM is putting education.
A child's mind is not a thing to play with. We cannot afford to lose any teachers, any education programs or, for that matter, any extracurricular programs. We are not concerned only with the cuts that affect us directly. A school is like a business or a city--all parts must function properly for the whole to succeed; and as members of the same body, working cooperatively, we care a great deal about the welfare of every individual.
I hope to take a number of advanced courses next year and have been elected president of Friendly High School's Honor Society. I can honestly say, though, that if I were informed that all AP (Advanced Placement) courses were to remain (despite overflowing class sizes elsewhere) and the Honor Society were to remain intact, I would still protest staff and budget cuts. I also would continue to support wholeheartedly Friendly teachers, who have elected to abstain from sponsoring any organizations to display their dissatisfaction with the effects of TRIM on the education system.
I am particularly pleased with the response of the teachers, both those who have been RIFfed and those who have not. Whether the citizens who voted for TRIM or the leaders who advocate this program realize it, teachers in Prince George's County-- elementary and high school--are dedicated to the children they instruct. I know for a fact that many teachers put in a lot of overtime, a lot of their own money and a lot of love (although some will deny it) to help their kids.
Do not think that student concern for teachers and education has arisen only since the effects of TRIM have begun to be felt by the student population. Personally, it has always been my belief that teachers are underpaid and often unappreciated. Teachers play a vital role in our nation; they are greatly responsible for the famed prosperity we enjoy as Americans.
Salaries, with increases that have lagged far behind inflation and the high cost of living, have deterred many would-be teachers and driven off many excellent teachers in search of more dependable professions. We have already begun to feel the effects of this movement. As a matter of fact, we at Friendly have organized a group called YES (Youth for Educational Services) to unite the students and maintain Friendly's reputation of excellence. We have, and will continue to, believe in and support our teachers.
To relieve these men and women of their duties would surely be "biting the hand that feeds one." For where would you, the reader, or the editor of this paper or Mr. Larry Hogan be if it weren't for teachers?
Surely, there must be another answer. You citizens owe it to yourselves, the kids and the future of our country to put a stop to this trend before it spreads throughout the country. If we are to keep up with the world and maintain national dignity, we must maximize the potential of all students, not sacrifice the less able student by favoring the advanced student, or vice versa.
Neither can we place more or less importance on sports and extracurricular activities. These programs unite the school and often are the key to a student's acceptance by a college; without receiving scholarships for their exceptional abilities in these areas, many kids would never make it to a college or university.
I cannot tell you what the answer is, but I can tell you what it is not-- cutting educational funds. I entreat anybody who is involved with TRIM to reconsider. After all, the tables will be turned when we control the vote and we run the administration.
Please, give us the sound education you enjoyed so we can continue the progress made in the 20th century into the 21st century.