One caveat: in terms of academics, the schools Cahill would use as models have plenty of science labs and facilities that could host lectures or be used in a number of different ways. The schools are academically sound, which would ensure that many or even most towns would want to use all or part of these designs to save costs. However, there are others that wouldn't want to use the designs at all - we shouldn't make them. Also, the idea that towns wouldn't be allowed to add to the designs is ludicrious - using any part of them would save on some of the costs, so let's try to get as many towns involved as possible.
Here's the most contemptible thing Cahill has to say:
That just reeks of know-it-all-ism. People don't like that. Are these towns really trying to 'one up' each other? Is that the only motivating factor Cahill can possibly think of? Is it at least conceivable that a majority of people in certain communities would want a community building that would have a field house or a pool? Is it not conceivable that these facilities serve a role for the entire community - a place where kids can learn how to swim or skate?
Cahill hopes the program will eliminate one-upmanship, which at times has prompted a spate of field houses, swimming pools, and other expensive perks.
"It's not just what the state can afford for these projects but what the towns can afford," Cahill said in an interview last week. "Standardization will take the envy factor out of the process."
These things are expensive - and certainly not necessary - but since when was America about doing the bare minimum? America is about Democracy - let the towns decide. It's not as if one town building a field house would cost the rest of the state anything - the state only helps to reimburse expenditures deemed necessary - academic. The extra frills aren't covered.
Furthermore, while not every town needs a pool, a field house and hockey rink, we need at least some schools in every region to have one of them. We can't ship off our kids in busses for an hour every day in the winter, just so they can get to hockey practice. Every region will need a couple of each, so if a town wants to build one or two of those "extra perks," as the Treasurer put it, it may be completely necessary for the student athletes in the school. Let's not forget that student athletes perform better in school - and many sports are what keep students active and interested in learning, or even keeps them from otherwise dropping out.
So, let's go full steam ahead with the model school plans, but for heaven's sake let towns modify them or do something else if they're willing to cough up the dough. Let's not prevent communities that are willing to expand community resources from doing so, by creating keep-everyone-down policies. That's not what America's about, that's not even what equality is about, that's more like something out of the CCCP. No thanks.