It is a difficult time to make sense of what is happening in public education today. Our political and educational leaders have adopted a “business-minded” strategy that does not ring true with parents and teachers and have promoted it by forcing its Common Core Standards and “test and punish” assessment protocol in all our public schools.
The convocation on Monday of educators and school district staff at Newtown High School was true to its name, which according to its Latin root (convocare) is a great calling together. The Board of Education, Legislative Council, selectmen, finance board members, school administrators, teachers, and professional and skilled staff members gathered to acknowledge the start of a new school year and to appreciate the portents in this moment of their togetherness.
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.