By Dr. Mary (Mimi) DeSouza, MBA, PhD., Norristown Council First District
I was dismayed and disheartened to have received an email about the NASD School Board not approving the application for the Eisenhower Middle School Students to attend the International Robotics Competition in California. As an educator, resident of Norristown and a local elected official, I find the position by the school board to be not only counter-intuitive but actively hostile toward children trying to improve their chances for their future. We need to encourage students in school and allow them as many opportunities to expand their horizons and reach for the stars. Children in Norristown see very few opportunities for themselves in their surroundings; as adults/educators/parents, we need to provide the vehicle to help them find a dream and make it a reality.
Mr. Mauthe's comments in The Times Herald about how the children were raising the funds for their expenses not only was nonsensical, but also made me wonder why the School Board or other School Administrators see fit to interfere with how the children raise the funds. I see many a school football team, cheer leading squad, baseball team, etc. standing on street corners with hats and buckets asking for spare change. Why can those boosters use this method but the Robotics Team can not? Would the school board prefer that they sell useless products to cash-strapped parents and in turn, reduce the efficiency of their fundraising efforts?
Next Monday's School Board meeting is past the deadline for the application. But maybe they can ask the organizers of the Robotics Competition to provide a grace period. This is a significant misstep by the School Board in denying the student's request the first time, with no real reason other than vague concerns and for dragging their feet over the last two weeks. The only way they can rectify this travesty is to obtain an extension from the Robotics Competition for the application, hold an emergency meeting to support the application and allow the students to participate.
Mary (Mimi) DeSouza, MBA, PhD.
Norristown Council First District