End The Silence On Education

On a day thousands rallied on the New Haven Green for public school equity, long-time political observer Andy Fardy weighs in with this commentary:

Why are we still sending our kids to failing schools? Year after year we have the same schools that are listed as failing and yet nothing is done to correct this problem.

What is the problem that makes these schools fail? Is it bad teaching? Is it the burden of having maladjusted kids in classrooms? Is it poor management on the part of the school’s principal? Is it a Board of Education whose elected members are too busy trying to seize control of the school board to care about the kids?

Year after year we are graduating kids who have no hope and not enough education to get a regular factory job. What happens to these kids? Many end up in crime and live lives of crime and end up in prison. Many of these kids end up as statistics such as a shooting fatality. Many end up disabled and spend their lives on disability payments. Wouldn’t we have saved money if we educated these kids?

Let’s assume we have all the new schools we need for the time being and let’s assume we have enough money although it seems like we never have enough money.

We need to do something about the non-English-speaking parents, people are always blaming the parents for the kids not learning, well my question is how can the parents be expected to help their kids if they don’t speak English and don’t understand what their kids are learning?

Why aren’t we offering English classes at night for all people who don’t speak English and have kids enrolled in the schools. Teaching these parents English will certainly help the kids in their academic endeavors.

We need to offer kids who are not going to college an education they can use when they enter the workforce arena. Right now teaching them nouns, verbs and participles is a waste of time and is not working. Teaching them a lot of meaningless BS is not working.

The Board of Education is doing very little if anything about these failing schools. Who is being held responsible for these failing schools? Is it the principals? Is it the teachers? Is it the course of study? What is it?

Are principals evaluated at the end of every year? How many have been terminated for bad performance? Are teachers being evaluated on a yearly basis? If not, why not? If the teachers union is the problem they must be dealt with because many of their members are mailing it in every day. Tenure needs to be eliminated as teachers basically have lifetime jobs when they get tenure. When was the last time a tenured teacher was fired for bad performance? When was an excellent teacher rewarded with a pay raise for exceptional work? Never. Teachers all receive the same raise regardless of their performance.

The Whys go on and on and this is just a start. It’s time for the people of Bridgeport to say enough is enough.

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4 comments

  1. Andy,
    You raise a great issue in looking at the results produced in the school system. Some of us know one or more positive stories, about a parent, a teacher, a principal, a para-professional, or some hard-working students who participated in one or more acts of wonder and accomplishment. But when you attempt to summarize the results of a system that spends $250 Million or more annually, it is disappointing.
    I did watch the Facilities Committee on Monday evening talking to City/BOE-tasked employees responsible for much decision making in recent history. The questions were probing and continuous. The questions asked the opinion of those making the decisions and that was a surprise to all parties. Answers were not smoothly delivered. Accountability for what has been practice and process in the past, and requests for additional accountability was not necessarily expected. So at least one thing is clear in that many people in the system have no clear and firm idea of who is supposed to do what, in what way, by what time and date, and how. So assumptions are made, expectations are disappointed, and the system stagnates or worse yet, spirals into the toilet.

    What are three practical priorities all can focus upon for a school year? All stakeholders together, and requiring real skin in the game to get a desired result? Time will tell.

  2. Andy,
    Nice commentary. You touched on something related to the current graduates being prepared for the job market. Let’s take that a step further, we should be looking to train them on jobs that cannot be outsourced. It used to be manufacturing jobs were targets for outsourcing to other countries. But now, finance jobs are also being shipped overseas. We should expand training on jobs that are US based–first responders, carpenters, technicians, etc.

  3. Good post, I think the City should proceed in opening one or two new Tech Schools that are directed towards what is needed in the local business and commercial arena.

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