Wednesday, January 22, 2014

'Were I permitted to speak' ... By Mayor Jon Mitchell

To New Bedford's School Teachers: 

Great schools make great communities. As you know, great schools can be established only when teachers, administrators, parents and community leaders engage in an honest dialogue about today's challenges and our mutual hope for a better tomorrow. 

We missed an opportunity for open dialogue last Friday when the head of the New Bedford Educators Association chose to deny me the chance to share my thoughts with you at the City Hall rally. With the widespread changes taking place in our schools right now, I believe you are entitled to hear directly from me, the chairman of the School Committee, about the direction and pace of change in the district and how that change may affect our teacher corps. I say this because it is important that you know all the facts. It is troubling that a major source of information about the changes in our schools is the NBEA blog, whose entries are usually submitted anonymously and are subject to the pre-approval of the NBEA leadership. As you well appreciate — and as you teach your students — censorship has no place in a democracy. The NBEA leader's refusal to allow me to speak begs the question: What does he not want you to hear?

This is what I would have said to you: I have enormous respect for the work you do. You get up early in the morning every day to take on the profoundly important task of cultivating in children the intellectual tools that will enable them to become successful, productive and responsible citizens. You are in the business of building the future of our community and our nation. Without teachers, there can be no free society.

Yours is as demanding and stressful a job as there is, and yet all too often, your vital work goes underappreciated. The rest of us rarely see the little things you do: remaining after school to tutor and counsel students, staying up late to correct papers, and spending your own hard-earned money to buy classroom materials that should be provided by the school system. You also deal with some parents who don't fully appreciate their role in their children's education. I believe that in exchange for 13 years of free schooling for their children, it is not too much to ask parents to send their children to school ready to learn and to behave properly. Unfortunately, some parents expect teachers to serve as surrogate parents, and that's not your job. And then there's the persistent drumbeat of criticism from purported education experts, many of whom claim to know exactly the solutions to "fix" public education but who themselves wouldn't contemplate sending their own children to public schools.

So it is understandable that in the face of all this, reforms like the ones now being implemented can be difficult to accept. If I were a teacher in our district, I, too, would feel like all the blame for the state of our schools was being laid at the feet of teachers. Like you, however, this son of two public school teachers understands that the heart of the problem lies elsewhere.

You know more than anyone that teachers don't work in isolation. In your job, being your best requires not only a combination of your personal skill and effort, but reliable support from the school administration and the entire school system. And the reality is that New Bedford's teachers haven't gotten that support.

For too long, the political leadership in our city failed you. It had been unwilling or unable to face up to the challenges in our schools and make hard, necessary decisions. The former leadership opted instead for easier courses, either to deny the existence of problems or to blame the MCAS system, pretending as though New Bedford's students were the only urban students in the state who took the MCAS test. The former leadership hoped the public would ignore the fact that other urban school districts were doing much better, including Brockton, a city with more intense demographic challenges than New Bedford, but which graduates 75 percent of its students on time, compared to 55 percent at New Bedford High School.

Problems tend to worsen when not confronted. So it was with our schools. The lack of political will to confront challenges produced weak central office leadership that proved incapable of supporting teachers and managing the district's finances. The systemic breakdown had reached a point that at the time I entered office two years ago, the state took the extraordinary step of threatening a takeover of our school district.

As the elected leader of our city, it is my job to confront, rather than shy away from, our major challenges. I firmly believe, as do you, that New Bedford can do much better. But it is imperative that we enter into an honest dialogue about our reality and be willing to depart from the old ways of doing business.

Many urban mayors today who undertake school reform have adopted the current fashion in education policy circles of simply throwing open the doors to new charter schools. That has not been my approach. I note that no one, including your union leadership, fought harder than me to oppose the low-performing City on a Hill school's effort to establish a charter school in New Bedford. I am convinced rather that we have what it takes to turn around our school system without having to blow it up first.

The superintendent and School Committee stand ready to listen to and work with our teachers so that we can build a school system that supports what they do in the classroom. Our success depends more than ever on an open dialogue. Clear, civil communication — in both directions — will establish a common understanding and strengthen a sense of teamwork. And, I hope it will reveal that we are more or less on the same page. It turns out that, for instance, both the superintendent and the School Committee agree that the requirement of a 50 percent turnover in staff at the High School under the school Turnaround Model is unrealistic. In its zeal to inflame the public controversy around the turnaround plan, however, your union leadership has glossed over what it has known for some time, that is, thanks to the superintendent's advocacy with the state, last year's layoffs will count toward that figure, lowering the requirement to approximately 29 percent. Teacher retirements this year likely will lower that figure significantly further.

An open dialogue could avoid misunderstandings like this, and build the trust necessary to go about the hard work ahead. By coming together, we can build a school system that supports you, and does right by our city's children.


69 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the "superintendent and the School Committee agree that the requirement of a 50 percent turnover in staff at the High School under the school Turnaround Model is unrealistic." Is that why Dr. Durkin chose the turn around model? Isn't that a contradiction?

Anonymous said...

Up until now ole Jon was praising the superintendent's choice of the turn around model which required replacing 50% of the faculty at nbhs. Now 50% is unrealistic and only 29% will lose their jobs unless a lot of people retire or resign.

This guy thinks we're all stupid.

Anonymous said...

Both of his parents were public school teachers? One would think he'd have a little respect for our profession based on this alone. Guess he's too pompous to remember his roots.

Anonymous said...

This superintendent is a genius. She just saved 21% of the people who were going to lose their jobs. I wonder if the 29% who will lose their jobs will be happy with the clarification.

Anonymous said...

^ was she the one who chose the plan in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Mitchell has had numerous opportunities to speak to teachers and has refused. Once again this is another of his little ploys to divert from the real issue of the firing of 200 teachers and making them apply for their jobs. Apparently he and Durkin aren't communicating effectively because she DID go to NBHS and told them this. He didn't want to speak at OUR rally and knew Lou wouldn't let him. Id say Lou helped him save face because it would have been embarrassing for him.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Standard Times go to NBHS and see what is available to students? It was state of the art when it opened for the 1972-73 school year. it hasn't been updated since then except for painting the walls and polishing the floors. It's archaic. Mr. Nobreg, Ms Pollack and Dr. Finnerty have been on the SC for a number of years and weren't aware of this? Or chose to not care? Seems like they still don't care.

Anonymous said...

How sad that an open mind, which is what we ask of our students, as well as get all the facts, is not in evidence here. I must say I am glad that Mayor Mitchell did not speak at the rally, as I would have been embarrassed when he was boo'd, and we all know he would have been. At this point, my guess is that the superintendent and the mayor can say or do nothing right as far as our union is concerned. And again I say, how sad is that! I do think it's time that the teachers of NB start thinking for themselves, get all of the facts and keep an open mind! We forget, we are in this field for one reason and that is the children and without them, we'd have no job.

Anonymous said...

Mitchell is the Mayor of the NB. If he wanted to address the teachers he could call a press conference and invite the media. He could have addressed us at the school committee meeting (which he reminded us that he IS the chairman) . The SC meetings are televised and also attended by media. He also moved public comment time as a ploy to deter speakers. If Mitchell wanted to sing our praises as he claims he did not need to wait for a union event. He also did not ask until the rally was in session and he saw all the other speakers that do support teachers. Only then did he decide he wanted to speak. Mitchell is top notch with grandstanding. He is an I would've. If I could've kind of man. He blames previous administration for the perils of our system and I do agree that our schools are in dire straits but face it Mitchell is not interested in working as a team. Now he shares that his parents are teachers. Interesting. Because it makes me wonder if his distaste for teachers stems from some undisclosed animosity toward his parents. Mr. Mitchell if you would like to publicly praise teachers, I will be at the next school committee meeting. I will be in RED!

Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING to thank this superintendent for. Those of us with our boots on the ground are the ONLY ones who speak with true authority on the climate in our schools. This attempt at schmoozing the troops is weak at best. Any NBPS teachers that believes this hogwash is an instrument of their own destruction.

Anonymous said...

If his fight against City on a Hill was his best effort--we can see how that went. Welcome to NB City on a Hill. Opening Sept. 2014.

Anonymous said...

^ Mitchell's manufactured crisis of the school system was practically an invitation to city on a hill to set up shop here.

Anonymous said...

I recall that Lou testified against city on a hill. Mitchell's friends on the education roundtable testified in favor of city on a hill.

Anonymous said...

Craig Dutra and Kate Fentress are huge supporters of Jon Mitchell and Pia Durkin. Fentress testified in favor of City on a Hill.

Anonymous said...

Will legitimate grievances continue to be ignored, minimized, and ridiculed by this mayor? Those are just the tip of the iceberg. He should understand that many other types of grievances could be filed. Teachers just don't file them--they suffer in silence, they stay dedicated, they blame themselves(with the help of this administration).

Anonymous said...

He pats us on the back in public but he slaps us in the face in private.

Anonymous said...

Dutra organized the vote of confidence for Durkin which appeared in the rag.

Anonymous said...

^Just about all of the people affiliated with the signers are directly linked to Mitchell. Many are also connected to bob Unger and his blog.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks to our mistreatment of teachers, many of you will retire prematurely." BRAVO Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, only 29% are getting fired wellll that's different, silly us and we thought teachers were being unfairly blamed. John Mitchell IS a strong supporter of teachers after all, I'm sure glad he cleared that up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mayor Mitchell,
Your dad was my eighth grade teacher. He was a knowledgeable, engaging educator as well as tremendous historian. In fact, he was an inspiration for my becoming a teacher. I can't help but wonder how difficult it would be for him to impart his wisdom if he were working in the conditions that presently exist at NBHS. I implore you to walk in his shoes by substitute teaching for one week at the High School. If nothing else, it will give you an understanding of how hard your parents worked to educate the children of the Greater NB Community as well as the sacrifices they made for your higher education. This is an extention of the olive branch and an opportunity for you to directly interact and affect change at the ground level. You were most certainly correct when you stated "problems tend to worsen when not confronted". You have both the power and authority to directly confront them. Please seriously consider taking this most important first step in bridging the gap between administration and teaching staff.
Respectfully,
An NBPS Educator

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mayor, if you truly cared about the teachers in New Bedford you certainly would not continue to allow them to be bullied by this Superintendent. You are wise enough to do your homework and look at the relief the people in Attleboro and Narragansett still feel. As a Teacher, there are many, many like me that go to work with a pit in their stomachs for fear that this tyrant will walk through our classrooms. Is this the legacy you want to leave? On your watch the WRONG person was hired. It is time for you to listen to the pulse of this city and to realize that even where your own children go to school there is a climate of fear. You need to realize that and understand that the best Teachers in the state are in New Bedford, and almost daily some are leaving or thinking of leaving. Be the hero, take a stand for us. Do not tolerate the continued bullying of Teachers. We are invested here. Most of us live here. We have gone to school here. This Superintendent has no clue. Time to do the right thing Mr. Mayor.

Anonymous said...

By no means am I a Mitchell supporter, but I thought former Mayor Scott Lang shouldnt have been using the NBEA rally for his own political grandstanding. HE HIMSELF is a large part of why Mitchell Chester has targeted this school district for takeover. Lang's personal "crusade against the evil MCAS system" seems to continue ad nauseum. Jon Mitchell brought up a good point regarding Brockton system ultimately accepting MCAS framework- we must do the same as well. From what I saw last Friday, he is still mired in his own battle against the state. That battle is over Scotty- time to move on and stop being a part of the problem. Lets focus on saving these Teachers' jobs, NOT on long-winded attacks against the State education system....that is a battle you ALREADY lost, and precious time you ALREADY wasted.

Anonymous said...

I am leaving teaching in this city. I am not a quitter, just a realist. Have never seen the Mayor in any classrooms in this city. He has no touch with reality. People in surrounding towns comment to me on the living hell we must be going through. Not reapplying for any job. Sorry to say..they can shove it!

Anonymous said...

Bring back Lang!!!

Anonymous said...

Bring back Lang!!!

Anonymous said...

SCOTT LANG IS NO TED KENNEDY- there will be MANY other NEW candidates to run against Jon Mitchell come 2015. ENOUGH of the Scott Lang idol worship- it makes us all look like sycophantic fools!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr Mayor,
You have created your own legacy and it will follow you! Unlike Dr Durkin, when she's done destroying our city, she will return from where she came.

Anonymous said...

Congratualtions on a well written communication to the educators of this City. if only those "anonymous" posters would identify themselves, everyone would note that they are nothing but union lackies.

There are serious concerns from all sides and I "thank you" Mayor Mitchell for your thoughtfulness and courage in addressing the educational needs of our city. I have lived here all of my life and you are the first person I have encoutnered with this courage. I had hopes for others, but they failed us...thank you for marching forward! Let me utilize Anonymous as well so you can know that it does not only stand for negative comments against you!

Anonymous said...

So right!

Anonymous said...

This letter is a whole lot of CRAP.

Why hasn't the School Committee, mayor, and superintendent increased the school budget to give us the books, materials, and modern technology we desperately need for our classrooms?

Why is this superintendent increasing her administrative team with an hefty increase in salary?

I am sure all your negative comments about the school system that might be the reason we now have the City on the Hill charter school.

Why didn't you or the other members of the School Committee discuss other options for the turnaround plan during the School Committee meetings?

How can the superintendent count employees who were laid off as part of the 50 percent reduction as these teachers are NOT currently employed? Can we expect to have the rug pulled out from under us at the last minute?

Has she guaranteed that she will re-hire 50 percent of the present high school staff or just take back a few teachers?

Answer these questions here and at the next School Committee meeting. Let the general public ask questions without a time limit and ANSWER THOSE QUESTION just not sit there listening like bumps on a log. You claim to want open dialogue, now is your chance. You are the Mayor, work for us the citizens of NB, and are paid by us the property owners.

Anonymous said...

Based on the ignorant posts I see on this site I agree that those teachers who post should lose your jobs until you come back down to reality - shame on you for not wanting to work to improve this system. Your union rep is nothing but a hot headed disrespectful bully who distorts facts - SHAME ON ALL OF YOU mindless followers who buy into his propaganda!! Take responsibility for the role you play in the failure of our kids education! Whiniest profession in the country! My job is stressful but sadly I do not have 3 months time off during my work year to unwind! Mayor Mitchell is 100% correct about the union and prior administration who ignored the issues.

Anonymous said...

It was no big secret there was going to be a rally on the steps of City Hall. Why did the mayor wait to send a staffer to ask Lou to speak during the meeting and after Scott Lang spoke?

Anonymous said...

They should be in the 29% to be dismissed

Anonymous said...

Mitchell's kids go/ went to Catholic school. Only when he was elected mayor did he choose to put one in Winslow.... btw, NOT his neighborhood school

Anonymous said...

Dutra should pay attention to what is happening in Westport. The entire city is in fiscal crisis under his watch. Oh, that's right. He is ignoring Westport to stick his greedy liquor covered fingers in New Bedford's business

Joey Fiano said...

13 yrs "free" education ??? All this time I thought my taxes paid for schooling.

Anonymous said...

If Mitchell truly wanted us to embrace the Brockton model, then put money where your mouth is. Open alternative schools that can offer the behavioral supports students need. Discipline the students and hold the parents accountable. Have a conversation with a teacher and ask what would help. And we respond as anonymous because WE ARE retaliated against and targeted if we do speak out. Stop ignoring our contract and grievances by pushing them to arbitration. Resolve these issues and show some real concern for education in the city

Anonymous said...

Ask Dr. Fletcher about his recent visit to NBHS

Anonymous said...

Parents do not receive "13 years of FREE schooling". Parents pay for school through either their own property taxes or through the property taxes of the landlord to whom they pay rent. This is not a free education.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that all the 'comments' are about the teachers, and teachers are important...but more important are the students. I have a student at the high school, a girl. While walking in the core she was approached from behind and yanked by her pony tail in an attempt to bring her to the floor. She turned swinging. A teacher in the core observed what happened...and stated that it was the other girl who instigated the incident. My student didn't even know the girl. What happened BOTH girls were suspended for 5 days. My student lost 5 days of school because I was told 'she swung'. Yes she swung...wouldn't you? I asked what would have been the correct behavior in that incident. I was told, "well without my being there, I can't comment and unfortunately the camera in the core didn't catch a clear view of the incident". Really? They had a teacher witness the whole thing. Had she waited for the teacher to intervene she would have been beaten to a pulp. (oh but then she would not have been suspended. :\)
I also very recently had to address an incomplete class for my student. I had to chase down this teacher, who clearly ws not being truthful. She would tell me one thing and turn around and tell the guidance department something else and administration something else. Really? She set up a meeting with my student and failed to show up or tell us in advance that she wouldn't be there. Outcome? Well she has now changed positions and washed her hands of anything from the year before...never did meet with us. Really? We had to go through the administration to get it worked out. It only took from start to finish...September til November! There definitely needs to be changes at the high school...and in my opinion some of those changes absolutely need to be in the teachers and administration as well. I don't know if this will be 'okayed' But change is necessary...I agree let the people making the decisions and changes serve as substitutes at the high school for a week...they need a first hand view.

Anonymous said...

Another politician that does not get that this country was built to be a Republic not a Democracy. I still do not hear an answer to how administration is planing on turning around student behavior. Untill teachers have respect any other action is a waist of time. It looks like both sides agree that behavior an lack of suport at home is the main issue. If you can't solve that nothing else that is done will matter. And for those complaining about so many anonymous comments let me see you go tell your boss they have no clue what they are doing and see how that goes!

Anonymous said...

I've spoken with a few Brockton teachers over the past five years because I was curious about how they turned their school around. This is what I was told. The very first issue that Brockton High School and middle schools dealt with was the discipline problems. They were removed, not by reducing suspensions but by confronting head on, those students who were having behavior difficulties in the classroom. They have numerous alternative schools, none of which the students want to attend, (except the middle school for the gifted) so the threat of being sent to the alternative schools was just that, a real and recognized threat. I was told by several teachers that every year by October all the students who were major discipline problems or blatantly disrespectful were removed to the alternative schools where they could receive the services they needed before returning to the mainstream school, with the tools they needed to participate constructively in a classroom. One of my friends said she has 40+ in her science class. My first response was that was nuts. But, as she pointed out, imagine 40 cooperative students who were there to learn, she claimed that was easier than a class of 20 students some who were major discipline problems - she was there before the transformation in Brockton and saw the improvement first hand, as were the other teachers with whom I spoke. I asked how long this took? I got answers that ranged from 6 to 10 years to change the climate and make constructive behavior business as usual. I told them it was my understanding that the literacy initiative turned the school around. They explained that was the politically correct explanation but in reality discipline control came first then literacy. So my question is this, the mayor stated that Brockton graduates 75% and NHBS only 55%. Brockton is a success from everything I've heard. So, why aren't we doing exactly what Brockton did or at least using their proven strategies as a starting point? Why aren't administrators looking to them as the model, similar demographics, similar issues, if it worked there why wouldn't it work in New Bedford? And I like statistics, so in my opinion the turnaround should have been one of the first models dismissed. Why? If 94% of our teachers are proficient or exemplary by administration's own evaluation tool, then that leaves 6% who are not performing, or in real numbers around 12 teachers. So if the turnaround model requires the dismissal of half the staff, or 100 teachers, that number seems to be much larger than the 12 teachers who should be eliminated due to poor performance. Now, if 30 were already eliminated, and maybe 30 more are retiring or job hunting, that adds up to 60. Add the 12 teachers who should be eliminated that brings us to 72. That means 28 highly qualified teachers, who are doing their jobs well and are devoted to New Bedford are going to be eliminated, through no fault of their own. In my opinion, New Bedford needs every highly qualified teacher who is doing their job well. Can we really afford to loose 1/8 of our highly qualified sfaff based on the demands of a generic model? I think it is a crime if even one highly qualified teacher is eliminated based on numbers and not performance.

Anonymous said...

Mr. St John is far from a bully. He has been forced to become a strong advocate for teachers and their students. He has distorted no facts, he has exposed the facts that truly have damaged our schools. The mayor's "courageous" fight for schools is misguided. Calling teaching "the whiniest profession in the country" exposes the real problem here. Believing that our teachers are the problem has poisoned the learning environment. Your disregard for teachers trickles down to the students in front of them. How can they garner respect when our entire society has turned against them?

Anonymous said...

I raised my own child in this city. I have helped educate hundreds of our city students. I refuse to be blamed for economic injustice, drug addiction, trauma, poor housing, and misappropriation of funds in this city. STOP THE WAR on NB TEACHERS!

Anonymous said...

I worked under three different superintendents as a teacher for the New Bedford Public Schools. Mr. Paul Rodriques, Mr Constantine Nanopolous, and Mr. Mike Longo, these three men had tough jobs and made hard decisions, I didn't always agree with them but I respected them because I knew they respected their staff and teachers. They didn't blame us for mandates that didn't work. And they didn't work, not just because they were unfunded, they didn't work because they were stupid and unrealistic to begin with. Mayor don't point the finger at others. Point it right where it belongs at yourself and other politicians who don't have the guts to say no to the state when they cut art programs and music programs. When they think every kid can be taught the same way. You want good test results the teach math and not tests for passing math. Bring back smaller class sizes, and classes where kids are able to progress at their level and not everyone has to be able to work in the great mega math and science conglomerates of the future. So you graduated from Harvard Mr Mayor, well Bill Gates went and quit, so I guess it isn't the school you graduate from but the ideas you dream and fulfill that truly makes one a success.

Anonymous said...

We need to come to the table armed with testimonies of students and parents, pictures of broken and obsolete computers and graffiti in obsolete textbooks. We must show documentation of lack of special education teachers and paraprofessionals, Spanish speaking staff, and a lack of critical equipment and supplies. How about pictures of broken down school buildings that the district had money to rebuild but spent on other things or other schools aside from the school that was earmarked? Or monies earmarked for books that went to other things? Or monies spent on fired superintendents or temporary consultants that could have been spent on student learning? We must be at the table demanding respectful and civil discourse that includes not belittling and terrorizing teachers in front of their students. We are ready to listen,but it has to be both ways! Let's go to the table armed with the truth and be unafraid. Document how many interruptions you must now tolerate in your class because disruptive students are now ruling the building! What do we have to lose? Our jobs?

Anonymous said...

If he were so open for discussions, why hasn't he agreed to meet and discuss until there's a rally. If he had done something like round table discussions there wouldn't be this problem of "lack of communication" that he claims. The truth is that the communication has only flowed in one direction so far and it's a little too late to call for discussions.

Anonymous said...

25 years ago when children received bad grades it was the fault of the children. Now when kids receive bad grades it's somehow at the fault of the teacher? It's time for the powers at be to remove their heads from their anal cavities and realize that even the best teacher in the world can't teach a student that doesn't want to learn. I truly feel sorry for the few children that want to learn because they are stuck in classes full of children that don't. It starts in the home. Parents need to to teach children morals, respect for others and teach the importance of a good quality education at a young age.

Anonymous said...

Why Mayor Mitchell do you believe you should have been allowed to speak at the rally at city hall? You sound upset because your voice wasn't being heard. The teachers voices haven't been heard for some time. This rally was a chance for them to be heard. Are you angry because the rally supported teachers? Sorry, Mayor Mitchell but your actions and comments do NOT support our educators. Although you write about the "enourmous respect" for what they do each and everyday, you choose to reward their efforts with an extreme plan designed to eliminate those who you hold in such high regard. If the Turnaround Model is unrealistic and both the superintendent and school committe are in agreement about this, why is Dr Durkin steadfast on continuing to implement it? It is because of this gross injustice that quality educators are choosing early retirement. This plan does more harm than good and will continue to hurt the students and educators of New Bedford.

You agree that teachers are being unfairly villified and aren't being supported. Your sympathy is too little too late. The wounds are real and the scars will forever remain. According to Dr. Durkin, none of this matters and the plan is to stay the course. The decision has been made and there is no turning back. The plan is wrong. You know it, the teachers know it , and the public knows it! "The heart of the problem lies elsewhere." Mayor Mitchell, you admit the polical leadership failed the teachers. This political leadership includes YOU. You can't feign sympathy for teachers and turn a blind eye allowing this unrealistic approach to continue.


Brockton High graduates 75 percent of its students but they didn't implement such a drastic Turnaround Model. Apparently other options have been proven to be effective but not here in our city. It is my understanding the City on a Hill will open in September.
Willl this school accept and retain Ell students, Sped students or children with behavioral issues?

It takes a big person to admit a mistake. It takes a bigger person to apologize and right the wrong.

Anonymous said...

I went to NBHS. All but one teacher i had did a great job and did everything they could. Fact is a huge population of students did nothing but be disruptive, disrespectful and a long list of other wrongs. These kids did not fear punishment and purposely acted up. They are a direct cause of what is happening here and that is not the teachers faults. It starts at their home and it is the fault of the parent or parents. When i pick my daughter up the things i see and hear from the other parents there make me sick. Have the administrators go in the class room and sit at dismissal and see whats up. They would shut their elitist mouths then and support the teachers.

Anonymous said...

100% THE PROBLEMS START AT HOME!!!

Anonymous said...

Politician's words are empty! Judge them by their actions. Who's pay they cut.... who they fire....... etc!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I think Lou saved him Friday. Whatever message he had to share would not have been heard, good or bad. They have had dialogues and meetings, and he has his hour on the radio each week. That particular time was for the teachers and not a grand stand for the "other side". My hope is that the union and the School Committee are able to come together and find a solution in the best interest of the students, teachers, and our community.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mayor, will I be censored at school committee meetings if my dialogue exceeds 3 minutes? Will you be counting me down aloud as I am speaking?

Anonymous said...

sounds like some back pedaling to me (for the sake of other comments made)...but the plan is still going forward...that hasn't changed

Anonymous said...

To the commenter who called us union lackies signing our post anonymously, where is your name? Oh so you can come here, call us lackies,complain that posters sign anonymously and then..........you do not have the courage to sign you name. Must be a slow day at City Hall that you have your staffers reading blog and making posts.

Anonymous said...

Great Brockton blogger post. That is the type of blogging that needs to occur.

Idea! There should be a special SC meeting open to the public with the only purpose and agenda to compare and contrast the transformation and turnaround models.

Lets get it all on the table for "all" to hear and judge. Each position can be represented by select group of professionals that are proficient in each model, while challenging the others'.

Debate is a fixture of American Democracy, as Mayor Mitchell himself has stated. Politicians debate all the time on important issues. Is there any one topic more important than our city's student education?

Does this make sense to anyone other than me?

Can this be thought of as thinking out of the box? Good idea or pipe dream?

Anonymous said...

The blogger who went to NBHS and commented about the disruptive students who acted up without fear of reprisal is "spot on." Our scores are low because many students come to school to learn but are unable to do so. I see their faces every day. Also, teachers are battling electronic usage. We should follow Brockton's model and come up with an alternative location for the disruptive students who are not interested in learning and ruin the education for the others.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to be a NBHS graduate because I received a wonderful education. I started my teaching career in NB, but because of politics, a friend of the Supt took my job and I was laid off. My children started their educational careers in NB, but with class sizes too big and one horrendous year, we moved out of the city. I am still an educator, just not in NB. It saddens me that many friends have to deal with this nightmare every day. I urge the mayor and school committee members to visit and observe classrooms, especially at the middle and high school. Fights are rampant, respect is forgotten, and there's little support from administration. I've been in the trenches and am so glad I am no longer. That saddens me to say it because it once was an excellent school system.

Anonymous said...

My niece is a student at Keith who takes Algebra at NBHS. Needless to say, she's very bright. She is getting an A in her high school math class, but will not be attending NBHS next year for high school because of the terror in the hallways. How sad! NBHS is missing out on a wonderful, intelligent young woman to another area high school because of the lack of discipline. Our students deserve the right to an education without fearing walking the halls. Shame on everyone who allows this to occur!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mayor… A speech does not a dialogue make.

Anonymous said...

Who's crusade was it to close down West side alternative high school? Marlene Pollack! Who went along with it so he could have her vote on the school committee? Scott Lang! Is there a coincidence that behavior has gotten so bad at the high school since West side was closed ? Go after Pollack for poor policy making.

Anonymous said...

It is so unfortunate that this situation has eroded so many good and genuine teachers’ aspirations of serving their students’ educational needs to the point of despair. I too feel this way. I have taught in NB for over thirty years and was not yet ready to retire, until now. This mayor, school committee and families of NB will realize one day the mistake they made by their lack of support for so many dedicated teachers. If the Mayor has not come to realize the negative impact that his actions may impose on the quality of education for the students in NBPS then maybe he should consider that of his own children. Unfortunately this climate that we now work in is adversely affected our performance even though it is not our intention. The children can sense it and feel it, no matter how hard we may try to hide it.
I intentionally omitted the school administration in experiencing the consequences of their actions unlike the true city stakeholders because I believe the turnover of administration positions that we have already witnessed and will continue to experience under Dr. Durkin is akin to that of carpet baggers. For many, their interest is primarily in their own hopes and dreams of their next job opportunity. You need only look at where many of these new administrators have been and for how long they have stayed at each of their previous positions. New Bedford will not become their home, merely a stepping stone to bigger and better opportunities. I don’ t begrudge them, simply stating what I believe.
I was educated in NBPS, K-12. I went to college and received a degree in education and returned to teach in my city for the past 35 years. I lived in New Bedford for 37 years, before moving to an area town. I will continue to live in this area for hopefully years to come.
I am a STAKEHOLDER in NBPS.
I know I have more to offer my students but in this current climate, I feel it is time to go.

Anonymous said...

Pollack and Liveremento have to go...start preparing for the next election cycle.

Anonymous said...

Oh isn't it strange your name is anonymous. waving hi to you Jon

Anonymous said...

Guess who has now thrown his hat into the ring? George Leontire,lol. Remember him? Yes he has come out of hiding from his farm I Westport to get involved in the NB school system. Gee, George, Craig.....makes me wonder who is watching the Westport School? If you live in Westport, worry about Westport. If you want to meddle in NB business, move to New Bedford.

Anonymous said...

First of all i would like to say I am posting as a concerned parent who has children in all age groups in the school system. I am also a former nbps student. I was forced to get my ged because my test scores were two high for the city to pay for me to go to school for two more years. I accepted that because it was my own poor choices that caused me to get caught in the change of credits to units as I should have graduated before the change. Unfortunately as a child that had undiagnosed disabilities I was in the foster care system and got bounced around and missed a great deal of school. I along with many of my potters remember what our school system was and the pride we carried as New Bedford students. It saddens me to see the state of our schools presently. I have children with special needs and advocate for them as well add working hand in hand with the teachers to give my children the best chance they can have at being successful in school. I have meet teachers that fight for students right along with the parents and are turned away disappointed because that student is denied what they need because of lack of funding. It used to be each district had a school with teachers hired specifically to work with sped students. Now if your cold goes to a school where they don't have the services your child needs oh well your child goes without unless you can afford to pay for the bussing to a different school. Handicap children are being sent to schools that are not handicap accessible and are not even being granted a paraprofessional to assist them. Parents that can pass a CORI and are willing to go into these schools and aid the teachers are being denied. We get told we are not allowed to have parents help in the classrooms. How do you expect teachers to teach 20 to thirty children in a classroom where half of those children need some type of services that they aren't getting without any help. How can they teach a lesson when they constantly have to stop and redirect a child who has behavioral problems or to help a child with a learning disability? We no longer have classrooms for these children in most schools, and the behavior rooms aren't good for a cold that is acting out because of a disability instead of truly being unruly. The budget cuts the government is approving is hurting our students and our teachers. Mismanagement of funding that has been granted is making it worse. Yes there are parents that don't care but a good prob of them are former students or school system had already failed, so they have lost faith in our school system. The reform needs to begin at the elementary school level. If not nothing we do at the middle and high school level will be long lasting. Our children deserve better than what they are being given but it is not the fault of the teachers. It is the fault if a failing school district that does not give or teachers the told they need top productively reach or children

Anonymous said...

When you Mr.Mitchel hold a rally to support teachers I will surely come out to listen to you. Why are some class sizes being raised this semester with no prior notice, planning, preparation, or supplies? We hear what goes on at our schools, don't you?