Commissioner Dianna Wentzell has been on the job just over a month at the helm of Connecticut’s Department of Education. She has been welcomed with a debate over the future of education in the state that is thick with challenges and fraught with political controversy. Pick an agenda item: Common Core Standards implementation; teacher evaluations; narrowing the achievement gap between rich and poor districts; meeting and funding the growing demand for special education; and the perennial conundrum of how to fund education in the state.
SOS-squared, to the second power. It is extremely gratifying to see signs across Newtown calling on our local leaders to “save our schools.” But, as we seek to maintain our neighborhood schools and protect our buildings from future moth-balling, it is also important that we direct our energies toward saving our schools and our students from the destructive impact of bad educational policies, known as Common Core implementation.
To the Editor:
Like others, I moved to Newtown with the hopes of starting a family in a closely-knit community with an excellent school system. I want to advocate for keeping our schools open especially when all the facts aren’t in.
This is the time during budget season when the “Yes at any cost” party pulls out all the stops to pass a budget on the first try. Not a difficult task considering their videos, articles, letters and “guidance” are filled with the good things that any $100 million budget would be chock full of.
When the holidays get started in earnest next week, the town will again embark on a season of heightened sensibilities with a celebration of Thanksgiving. Elsewhere, the fulsome holiday spectacle of twinkling lights and jingling cash registers seems to go a little farther over the top with every passing year. But in Newtown the sense of what we have, etched as it is in high relief by what we have lost, has an authentic value worthy of our deepest thanks.
As we approach a new school year, there are many parents and residents in Newtown who seem to be upset over the fact that the current school budget did include the customary tax increases seen in the past. It is remarkable that we continue to believe that increased spending on education will protect our students from getting an inferior education. “It is wrong to deprive our students of the education they deserve.” The idea is apt to make parents anxious and even angry.