It is not surprising that a backlash to my blog post (You know my blog. It's the one that nobody reads) calling for a State take-over of our Southbridge School District has been swift. It is ironic that the blog that has published some of the most damning indictments that presume to illustrate dysfunction in our schools (complete with "insider" anonymous corroboration) now says essentially, "Aw, it's not so bad." The posting of these comments, as well as the full exit letter written by former Southbridge Middle/High School Assistant Principal Sharon Goulet with its thorough condemnation of current Middle/High Principal, Tammy Perreault, is a clarion call for an investigation.
We were told that Superintendent Eric Ely (currently placed on administrative leave) had appointed an impartial investigator to look into the veracity of the claims made in the Goulet exit letter. While we have had no indication of the progress if any of this investigation, anonymous commenters have already challenged the impartiality of the appointed investigator. Clearly any conclusion from this investigation has already been pre-judged by those "in the know." It makes little sense to continue this process.
Essentially, the response posted by the "other blog" attributes the difficulties with The Southbridge Public Schools to growing pains. Give me a break.
But people in a State Receivership District are Upset.
Well, of course some are. When the State labels a district as "chronically underperforming" the State-appointed Administrator acts as Superintendent and School Committee. Working directly for the Commissioner of Education, the receiver is empowered to by-pass the local political strong-armed tactics to make sweeping changes.
It has been pointed out that some teachers get fired in a State takeover of a school district. That is absolutely true, but any teacher who is qualified and doing the job has nothing to fear in Southbridge. The only ones who may be worried are those who Southbridge School Committee member Scott Lazo has famously referred to in the past as "dead wood."
Anyone who was watching the presentation by Amy Allen, Southbridge Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, would be hard-pressed to conclude that the Southbridge students are making adequate progress. The results of the spring 2012 MCAS are abysmal. Ms. Allen, who last year was the principal of Mary E. Wells, stated that the worst performance on the 2012 spring MCAS was at the middle school level. The Southbridge Public Schools have been declared as "underperforming" since September, 2004. Eight years with the same designation combined with the dismal 2012 MCAS scores demand greater State intervention.
Lawrence Public Schools.
It has been pointed out that Lawrence Public Schools are now under state receivership. It has also been suggested that the system was also under receivership in 1998, with the implication that it didn't work. The fact is that receivership in 2012 is under a new law that was not in effect in 1998. Apples and oranges.
Do your own research.
It is not my intention to spin the facts about State receivership. I will respect that my readers are capable of reading the documents and formulating their own opinions.
Commissioner Chester's Letter to Parents and Residents of Lawrence
Approval of Lawrence Turnaround Plan May 30, 2012.
Lawrence Schools Turnaround Plan, May 30, 2012.
What You can do
Erin Quinney: I just signed this petition and would encourage you to read it and to do the same if you agree with it
Click here to sign the petition.