Thursday, April 24, 2014

A letter to Governor Patrick ... Joanne Maura

Honorable Governor Patrick:

I would like to add my voice to those who are decrying the terrible conditions that exist in the New Bedford Public Schools this year. I know first-hand because I am the teacher in the video who had a chair thrown in my direction by an 18-year-old student athlete because I had followed the school’s policy and confiscated his cell phone, intending to turn it in to the house office where he could retrieve it at the end of the day. He was so horrified by the prospect of spending the day without his beloved cell phone that he threatened me, whipped a chair toward my desk (hard enough to break the seat) and then knocked everything off my desk onto the floor.  Had another student in the class not videotaped it, it would have been covered up just like all the other violent incidents in my school. No one has asked the key question, “Why didn’t the School Resource Officers respond when called?”  I have the answer to that question; they were in another part of the school dealing with an attack by a student on a guidance counselor. But no one’s supposed to know that; it’s part of the cover up. 

Have you see the movie “Lean on Me”, where Morgan Freeman comes in as principal to reform East Side High? The incidences of violence in that movie were sporadic (even in condensed movie time) compared to what is happening at New Bedford High School. Our superintendent, Pia Durkin, is no Joe Clark, make no mistake; instead of throwing out the student trouble-makers, she and her rubber-stamp school committee, have made it a highly suspect behavior to be a teacher, do your job, and tell the truth. 

When Jon Mitchell was running for mayor the first time, he promised that he would eliminate the trouble-makers at the high school. We had no idea that he meant the teachers.

Again, unless you or an outsider visits the school in the guise of a substitute or college professor evaluating a student teacher, you can have no clue about how bad it is. I’m sure that a few classes are exceptional (I have one wonderful class myself thank God) but most of the time, the teacher tries to execute a lesson while spending at least half of the class time dealing with discipline issues. The attitude of the headmaster is “Every student belongs in class….all of the time,” which I’ve heard him repeat over and over again. Durkin’s goal at the beginning of the school year was to reduce suspensions by 50%.  I could go on about the terrible conditions, lack of technology, textbooks, materials, etc., but one subject is enough for this letter.

Please don’t forget about us here in the Whaling City that once lit the lamps of the world!

Sincerely,

Joanne Maura

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent letter! The abuse all teachers in New Bedford Schools are facing must be addressed. Violence and chronically disruptive behavior toward teachers is occurring at every level. Office referrals are tracked to teachers and teachers are reprimanded if they report too many student violations. So, most awful behavior is ignored. The snowball effect is we now have an out of control school district at every level. The solution is simple, we need more staffing at our alternative schools and smaller classes at all other schools. This solution is expensive; however, the many lawsuits that will be filed soon will cost much more. Please help us.

Anonymous said...

I stand behind you and admire your courage, so I followed suit.

Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with Governor Patrick. Stay involved and engaged…this is your government!

Anonymous said...

I agree about the need for more alternative schools. Isn't that one explanation behind Brockton's success?

Anonymous said...

The New Bedford school committee has turned a blind eye to crime in the classroom. The "education" mayor continues to laud himself as tough on abherrant behavior. Our State senator, Mark Montigny, has absolutely nothing to say about the matter. I pray that a student or teacher is not killed as a result of continued indifference by those elected to serve. Wake up, for the love of God, be proactive and avoid the inevitable ... It is never too late to do the right thing!

Anonymous said...

Don't expect anything from montigny. He's to busy looking at himself in a mirror to concern himself with the plight of his constituents

Anonymous said...

Chris Markey is in the pocket of Jon Mitchell and Bob Koczera has been asleep for years. These two clowns are as useless as Montigny.

Anonymous said...

If this were Winslow School it would of been rectified because the Mayors kids go there.

Anonymous said...

In today's Standard Times is a letter to the editor from the former Dartmouth Superintendent questioning what is happening in that school district concerning administrators leaving the system and why the school committee isn't being transparent with the community. We can't even get one SC member, former administrator, local politician or members of the New Bedford community to question what the hell is happening in our school system. It's a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

This so-called education mayor is full of hot air!

Anonymous said...

Other districts look at NBPS with disdain. The corruption is overflowing here. Everybody knows. We ended up with some of Attleboro's garbage.

Anonymous said...

Smaller class sizes and staffing will only address a small portion of the problems plaguing NBPS. The elephant in the room is quality leadership.

SyrenaBz40ish said...

Perfect.

Anonymous said...

I agee 100%!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious that people even think that this Mayor cares about education, he does nothing more that merely agree with anything and everything that Pia Durkin says. NBHS is a disgrace, no teacher or staff member should ever be subjected to abusive treatment from a student. Parents today don't follow through with consequences and that is where part of this problem stems from. Let my children EVER even THINK about pulling something like that!! Sad reality is that the current school committee/ superintendent and even principals place NO VALUE on their staff and our kids are only seen as data and statistics.. I fear there is little hope for this district ever returning to what it once was.

Anonymous said...

the parents of these children should pay more attention to their child!!!!its not teachers fault!!!

Anonymous said...

The fate of public education in this area, state, and country is in the hands of politicians who have never been educators. It would be like having a mailman perform your open heart surgery. When will they realize that they are crippling our children's futures!!!

Anonymous said...

She is on point and something needs to be done, even my step son come's home and is always saying he has to try and tell other kids to shut up because the teachers get no respect. He tries his hardest but its hard when other kids are talking and goofing off. This is taking away from the students who actually want to learn.

Martha Weeks Green said...

Where are the parents? Schools cannot do in 180 six hour days per year what parents do not teach the rest of the time. Schools cannot impose discipline on students who receive none at home and it is unreasonable to expect teachers to teach not just subjects but self-restraint and personable accountability.

Anonymous said...

I believe that chris Markey will not respond on this issue becouse he is a coward and he gets bullied around himself

Anonymous said...

Last I checked into it us the residents of new bedford pay taxes and our taxes pay for dr. Darkens salary and the administration salary so we the citizens of new bedford have a say on wats going on becouse were there bosses I think there should be some kind of picket or protest out side of new bedford high school or the school department get them to listen to us again we pay there salary through our taxes so they should be listing us not the other wsy around

Anonymous said...

That letter is perfect. There have been other places that schools have done the turn around thing and you did not hear any of this communication that what is going on is not happening. The other places it seems to have worked. But here for reason that may never be know they cannot do it.It just seems Ms. Durkin and her hired band of administration do not have a clue. Thisx letter is perfect. And there are more things going on but they do not want to admit to it. Again even one teacher being attacked is to much. Wake up everyone.

Anonymous said...

Education starts at home with discipline, morals,and respect,If you're not taught that at home, don't expect the child to learn that in school. The kids are in school to learn academics ,not how to behave that's the parents responsibility..

Gina Moura said...

Great Letter Joanne, I think the blame here is on Pia Durkin she thinks she is doing a good job but if she is not at the school she has a closed eye to things that happen there, I think she should be replaced as soon as possible, before matters get much worse.

Anonymous said...

I am a partent of a public school child. The mayor only put his kids in the public school system so that he could become Mayor and push his education agenda. Like all other uppermiddle class people that live in our city who are doctors and lawyers he and his wife sent his children to private school. You can bet all your money that they will be going to Stang or Taber for High school.

Anonymous said...

Good going glad you wrote the letter.When I was in school I was brought up to respect all teachers and people .We had love and we had discipline from our parents what he did to you that would never happen from my generation. Why would it?All the teachers are helping us to get a education so we can follow our dreams.I admire you just like I admire all my teachers I had through all my years in school.

Anonymous said...

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Very well said Joanne, Unfortunately these kids know they can get away with it. They do not belong in the school system..why should you have to teach animals like this..I say a good smack across the head would solve many of these problems, growing up we did not dare tell our parents we were in trouble at school because we would have be punished again..Teachers should not have to be afraid..and they are..

Danielle Medeiros said...

I agree 100%. I am a PTO President @ one of New Bedford Public Elementary Schools. Unless you are actually in the school you really don't know!

Danielle Medeiros said...

I agree! I am a PTO President @ one of the Elementary Schools in New Bedford. I have been been deeply involved for the past 4 years. Unless you are actually "in" the schools you really don't know the half of the disciplinary problems!'

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just incredible!

Anonymous said...

Apparently These people AND I say people in office can afford to send their children to private schools and sadly to say til a mass shooting like the many that is happening in this country happens or when re election comes more lies and broken promises will be made til then Public Schools in New Bedford will always be a great risk to get an education to get a better life.

Get off your f*cking politician high horse and implement rules to protect these teachers and our children.
Stop taking our tax money just to buy your way of life!

Yours Truly,
A father of a bullied child

Anonymous said...

Nice letter! I have taught for over 35 years, and am now retired. Thank goodness! Until the parents of these children are held accountable, the situation in the schools will get so much worse! Unfortunately, parents need to discipline their children much more. They think the schools will do the job BUT the schools and teachers can only do so much. It's time for the parents to step up! Hold them accountable, teachers and administrators! Get them out of work to take home their misbehaving children. Make them come back in when their suspended child returns to school. Until you enlist the parents' support, things will not get better. I fondly remember the days when I substituted as a brand new teacher at NBHS back in the 70's. I had no problems whatsoever!! However, I was hired shortly thereafter at a suburban school. The kids there were well behaved and if they weren't, the parents needed to take them home for a suspension and return with them when allowed. Yes, our suspensions were high BUT for a bit but soon improved.....food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Good, old fashion discipline doesn't exist anymore. When we are not backed up by our principals, it is even worse.

Anonymous said...

Great letter Joanne!

Anonymous said...

Ever wonder what its like to swim in a shark tank? It is what we do here in NBPS.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Brockton...Pia Durkin does not have the fortitude or integrity to accomplish something like this...She sits on her morals and ethics...


News Alert: BHS NAMED ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS FOR THE 5TH TIME BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

BHS NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST HIGH SCHOOLS FOR THE 5TH TIME BY U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

Anonymous said...

Yup. Re-victimize the victims. Fame and acclaim!

Anonymous said...

I wish this tyrant would stop hurting others who dedicate their lives to their profession of teaching.

Anonymous said...

When our administrators and educational leaders do not care, what kind of message does that send? Really think about that.

Anonymous said...

I have a child in the 2nd grade and she WAS at Taylor school and I stress eas because I had her pulled out because of a boy in her classroom threatened her toget the biggest knife in his kitchen to stab her and the principal and teacher felt it was OK to inform me in her homework agenda... my child was in fear for her life... what did I do? I called the superintendent whose supposed to be there to HELP yet was in metings for 2 days and would get back to me ASAPstill havent received a phone call from her & that was in November. .. I also informed our wonderful Mayor and he never returned my call either smh... Good for you Joannne Maura for sticking up for yourself.... if anyone in my generation woulda pulled that we woulda been livin in the woods hiding from our parents!!!

Anonymous said...

Watching the SC play-acting opens many wounds. Everything is A-OK in their world while we are left to suffer.

Anonymous said...

Durkin and Mitchell never respond to anything that may pose a confrontation or threat. They can't look us in the eyes. As a parent, I would be outraged!

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher at an elementary school in New Bedford. I first would like to thank each and every parent that is supporting us in our time of need. My second statement would be for everyone who is unhappy with the direction of the school system, please show your support not only by writing into the blog but into the newspapers, to our city council, and also and most importantly attend our school committee meetings. We, including teachers, all must band together now more than ever to show Dr Durkin that she cannot bully us any longer. A lot of teachers have stayed silent and not attended because they didn't think the climate of fear would creep into their schools. I sadly am one of those teachers. Unfortunately, the climate of fear and misery has creeped into my school. I will be at every school committee meeting from now on, not to speak but to just show that I care. We need people to gather into these meeting so she knows she is losing her grip. Please parents, taxpayers, make yourself seen at the next school committee meeting and for those of you who have stories to tell, tell them. Everyone's voice must be heard!!!!

Anonymous said...

Do you notice how jon mitchell keeps his eyes downcast when he is speaking at a SC meeting, etc.? Isn't that an indication he is not telling the truth, or hiding something? Honest people don't do that.

Anonymous said...

Education does start at home! Teachers are not with you when you deliver your children! You determine your child's attitudes by YOUR attitude! Don't expect the teachers to turn your child around if YOU_THE PARENT do not teach them discipline and morals! WE are there to teach them how to succeed academically! Be a good parent..after all -YOU gave birth to your child!

Anonymous said...

I have been teaching for NBPS for over 20 years and I can honestly say I have never seen it this bad. For me, one of the worst things to see a teacher that is highly respected and wants to become an administrator that never has the opportunity because they aren't part of the "in" crowd. I can assure you that I know of several teachers would make great administrators and I'm sure my colleagues would agree. People that are certified, good at what they do, and respected NEVER get anywhere in this system. However, incompetence, poor teaching and kissing a** are what move you up around these parts.

Anonymous said...

You said it.....NO RESPECT My children are grown men now so I don't have any in school now. I taught my boys to have respect. That is what is lacking with these kids that are acting out. The parents need to teach them respect and that there are consequences when your not following rules.

Anonymous said...

I think this has gone on too long something needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are not baby sisters! Some patents need to wake up and not think that their beloved punks are in the right. Discipline is diminishing.

Anonymous said...

I agree "RESPECT" is totally lacking in the district.

According to our Education Mayor, Pia is the best superintendent in the country--Really Jon!!!! Well, this superintendent is failing miserably at making our students learn one of the basic fundamentals of live "RESPECT."

Perhaps we should all act and treat her, the mayor, and school committee the same way our students act and treat us by yelling out, oh wait a minute didn't the mayor call the woman who did that a member of the peanut gallery, being defiant, banding chairs and tables, and using intimidating tactics, and being verbally abusive. Wonder how they would all like that happening at the school committee meeting???!!!

Durkin, you are a FAILURE at running the school district and are sending the wrong message to our students.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned Scott Lang in the discussion of the sad state of affairs our schools are in. People are complaining about Mitchell, but he inherited this under-performing mess from Scott Lang, Jon could have let the state take over the schools, which he probably should have done. Instead, he's been fighting a losing battle. Lets not forget though that Lang forced the pick of the previous Superintendent who was eventually fired and he left the city schools in this sad state. Jon may not be a superstar getting this turned around, but he didn't create the mess.

Anonymous said...

Sorry PIA is Mitchell's albatross. All the current suffering should be blamed on this administration. He will never escape his 100% support for Pia.

Anonymous said...

Jon Mitchell allows this to continue. He protects the wrong people and his views are distorted. What has he done to help teachers? Denied all grievances... If not for the video, he would have have hung Joanne out to dry. The mayor is a sneak, liar, and coward. His inflated ego is his worst enemy. Do not expect him to fire Durkin. She does his dirty work. As long as he is in office, the more he will screw the teachers.

Anonymous said...

This mayor was fully aware of the state of affairs at the high school but continued to let incompetents run the school. HE didn't want to rock the boat.

Anonymous said...

I went to nbhs several years ago. there were fights all the time. everyone did their own thing in the classroom. when you didn't like a teacher, you would specifically do things to pick on them and piss them off. the students knew they could get away with it. There is no respect in this city for anything. I live next to the worst elementary school and I bring my daughter to a charter school in a different area.. not that that one is any better... but at least there isn't "f*$k you" written in graffiti on the walls outside. this city is a disgrace to me. and I am moving out in a few months and the day I move back will be the day I die. the city does nothing to care or get involved with the citizens, children, students or anyone outside their bubble of friends. I am currently working on my degree in teaching and would love to teach, but not in New Bedford. why would someone want to teach in a school where they have to be afraid of: 1. Getting hurt. 2. no support from the admin or city. 3. not being able to defend yourself without penalty. there is really no positives in the education system in this city. if it was bad when I went to school there.. I'm sure it's much worse. and I thank every teacher in that school for having the strength to keep on doing your job.