Monday, September 10, 2012

Innovation Schools will harm the vast majority of our students and teachers

The New Bedford Educators Association believes that we should all be working together to improve the schools we currently have now rather than create new schools that will be a financial drain on our system.

The proponents of two innovation schools being proposed in New Bedford, specifically the United Interfaith Action political group (UIA) and a handful of teachers – half of whom don’t work in New Bedford – would like the community to believe that these schools will solve New Bedford’s educational problems. We disagree.

Anyone who reads the prospectuses developed by these teachers will quickly realize that these proposals are not “cost neutral” as the proponents, say they will be. They will create two classes of students, ultimately a system of haves and have-nots. These proponents want more for the students they will serve but this “more” will come at a steep price for the rest of our children in all other schools across our system. For some students to have the additional programs these schools promise, other students will have to get less.

The three teachers pushing this agenda at Gomes School advocate for more services for their students. They want four times as much art and music, and two times more physical education time for their students per month than students across the district get now. We agree that our students need more art, music, and physical education. NBEA advocates for more services for all of our students, not just for some of them.

Additionally, they want more professional development time for the teachers working at their school. NBEA advocates for more professional development for all of our teachers, not just for some of them.

NBEA believes that all of our students should have the same educational opportunities and services. Anything less creates separation and separation is not equality.

Students at the Gomes Innovation School will be guaranteed a maximum class size of 15 while students at the Roosevelt Innovation School will be guaranteed a maximum of 20. However, students across the hall within these schools and across the district have no such guarantee. NBEA wants every student in our district to be in a small class.

Our community needs to know that the faculties at Roosevelt and Gomes had no idea that these schools were being planned for their buildings. They were never included in any of the discussions between the UIA political group and the teachers that ultimately submitted the prospectuses.

In fact, the vast majority of the faculties of these schools do not support these proposals. At Gomes School a petition signed by 60-plus staff members was sent to the superintendent and the school committee condemning the proposal. We are being told that teachers at this school will have no say in the matter. It is out of their hands. The decision will be made by the teachers who submitted the proposal and the school committee.

NBEA encourages parents, teachers, the mayor, the school committee, the superintendent, and all citizens of our community not to support these proposals that will benefit the few at the expense of the many.

Lou St. John


Anonymous said...

The truth must be told. This scam must be exposed.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should read the whaling city watch blog. They just wrote an article about the innovation schools that's a real eye opener.

Anonymous said...

The Charter Conspiracy…

The folks here at Whaling City Watch really aren’t into conspiracy theories. In other words, we don’t spend our time looking over our shoulder for black helicopters. However, when it comes to current and potential charter schools in our fair city, there appears to be a conspiracy of silence and misrepresentation.

First, there’s the blab sheet on Elm Street. Why do they ignore the data on the shortcomings of the Global Learning Public Charter School? Now the blab sheet is using its editorial and news pages to promote the City on a Hill Charter Public School (CoaH). Not only did the Opinion page whitewash their dismal performance, but Charis Anderson wrote an article trumpeting its status as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Speaking of that award, it appears that the U.S. Department of Education is also ignoring CoaH’s lackluster performance. That’s no surprise, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan has aggressively pushed for the expansion of charter schools. When will New Bedford High School receive its Blue Ribbon award? NBHS does a better job educating ALL of our students than the select few that make it at CoaH.

Then we have the bureaucrats at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education who ignore the failings of these schools and renew their charters. The DESE also forced the City of Gloucester to accept a charter that they didn’t want.

We even have Mayor Jonathan Mitchell getting in on the act. His negative comments about our schools have lured City on a Hill and another charter school operator to New Bedford. Plus, his appointment of charter school guru Jonathan Edelman to the Superintendent’s Search Committee is like letting the fox into the chicken coup.

Those of us who believe in quality and equitable educational opportunities for all students are in for quite a fight. We just have to create our own conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

charter school and these innovative schools do not accept "all" students. So, in my view, this is a violation of every child's civil rights in New Bedford. Every teacher would like smaller classes, specialist once a week for an hour, problem solved! Every child-not the SELECTED few-would benifit. We wouldn't have these Einsteins coming up with these dim-witted proposals.

Anonymous said...

How can they take this decision out of anyone's hands? Who died and made them God?

Please, tell me we aren't just lambs being led to the slaughter here.
Tell me we aren't trapped in a nightmare crafted by a select few, who made sure to feather their own nests before plucking us stark naked and pitching us out of the tree!

How can this happen? How can we stop it? Is it just time to "tag it, bag it" and bid out, or find a new district that isn't quite so "innovative"?
I was planning on making NBPS the district I stayed in for the next 20 years. Now I don't even know if I can teach here for the next 20 months!

Anonymous said...

When will the school committee advocate for our kids ? They want the job but they aren't interrsted in doing it. Shouldn't they be advocating for our kids? Where is the mayor and the superintendent? Why are they silent on the charter school? Why is it that they have not made any public statement on the subject?

Anonymous said...

Pollock and her puppets, Fletcher and jack uiamento have to go. Those 3 are ruining the school system.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed jack Livramento has a lot to say st school committee meetings but if you listen to him he really doesn't make sense

Anonymous said...

Does Marlene Pollock know the difference between a lie and the truth? One of th first things I teach my students in September is not to lie, accept responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else get nauseated by the "friendly banter" between Pollack and Livramento? It was worse than the lunch room in a Middle School. I thought we were supposed to be dealing with professionals, but their flirting was less than professional- watch the tape if you don't believe me.

Anonymous said...

I felt bad for the people from the DESE. They tried to answer Liv"s question, but first had to try and decifer what it was... good thing the DESE can talk in circles too, so Liv thought they answered him! And they are leading the schools.... the real reason why teachers in their first 5 years leave!

Anonymous said...

I definitely became nauseated with both of them at the school committee meeting. It was more like kindergarten children.