FRAMINGHAM – My name is Davin Maskell and I am with Boy Scout Troop 51. I am currently in my junior year at Keefe Tech High School and a Life Scout, the second-highest rank in scouting.
I have been working with Dr.Tremblay and the Framingham Public Schools on my Eagle Scout project in order to achieve this highest rank in scouting.
The goal of my project has been to educate the Framingham community on the importance of participating in the 2020 Census and the impact it has on our schools.
I created a traveling information booth and have been present at 4 schools: McCarthy Elementary, Barbieri Elementary, Wilson Elementary, and Fuller Middle.
I am writing this op-ed in hopes of reaching a wider audience.
I would like to share with you some important facts that I have learned and why it is critical to fill out the census.
You can find these facts and more at the 2020 Census website:
The U.S. Constitution requires that each decade we take a count-or a census- of America’s population. It is perhaps the most reliable and least exciting of all civic events.
In the United States, we have been counting our population every 10 years since 1790.
In March of next year, we’ll be doing it again.
Most of us know the principal function of the census: it tells us who lives where and apportions U.S. House seats.
And yet it also does so much more than that. The Census directs more than $675 billion in federal funds to hospitals, infrastructure projects, and education each year, exerting unparalleled influence on students, teachers, and schools.
In Fiscal year, 2016, Massachusetts received almost $23 billion through 55
federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 Census. That is a lot of money!
If you look at all the things that are determined by the count, you see just how important the census really is. Its data determines how much we receive for school programs and services such as special education grants, Title 1 grants, free and reduced lunches, and Head start programs, just to name a few.
It affects students and teachers in other ways too, ways sometimes less direct but nevertheless important. Our community’s share of Section 8 housing vouchers, heating assistance funding, and Supplemental Nutrition Program, or SNAP, benefits, for example, all depend on the census data.
In other words, the census keeps kids housed, fed, rested, and safe. For our students to come to school ready to learn in 2020 and the decade beyond, an accurate count is crucial.
In 2020, new technology will be introduced to make it easier than ever to respond to the census. For the first time, you will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail.
The 2020 Census is only a few months away, and we have only one chance to get it right. Your children and our schools are counting on it!