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Sunday, November 8, 2015
Are schools really improving? ... By Christopher Cotter
As The Standard-Times wrote about education reform under the current administration of Dr. Pia Durkin, there are some questions. It was written that the New Bedford Public Schools are heading in the right direction. If this were true, why did the Parker Elementary School drop from a Level 4 to Level 5 and New Bedford High School from a Level 3 to Level 4? Also, the Carlos Pacheco Elementary School dropped from Level 1 to Level 2. A principal, appointed by Dr. Durkin, had no experience in the “Urban Setting” that Dr. Durkin references very often. She lasted just one year.
The teachers from the Gomes Elementary School received a state grant for Expanded Learning Time to extend the school day and the school year. This, I believe, was stated at the School Committee meeting in May or June, to show the state that they were trying and avoid a Level 4 designation. Is this education reform or just politics as usual? Recently stated, and confirmed at a recent mayor’s youth forum, the Normandin Middle School is “being considered” for an innovation school to again deflect its designation of a Level 4 school.
If this district is truly making progress and heading in the right direction, as stated by Dr. Durkin and the New Bedford School Committee, why are there more Level 4 and 5 schools? Dr. Durkin was hired to turn this district around, not upside down.
Unfortunately, under her direction we have lost years of experience in the classrooms of every school in the district. I strongly believe that we need to retain our teachers and not have them looking elsewhere to avoid the added stress in our schools. This stress trickles down to students, and they are the ones suffering.
Christopher Cotter was elected to the New Bedford School Committee last week.