When the holidays get started in earnest next week, the town will again embark on a season of heightened sensibilities with a celebration of Thanksgiving. Elsewhere, the fulsome holiday spectacle of twinkling lights and jingling cash registers seems to go a little farther over the top with every passing year. But in Newtown the sense of what we have, etched as it is in high relief by what we have lost, has an authentic value worthy of our deepest thanks.
As we approach a new school year, there are many parents and residents in Newtown who seem to be upset over the fact that the current school budget did include the customary tax increases seen in the past. It is remarkable that we continue to believe that increased spending on education will protect our students from getting an inferior education. “It is wrong to deprive our students of the education they deserve.” The idea is apt to make parents anxious and even angry.
On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, my oldest daughter graduated from Newtown High School. She has attended the Newtown public schools since our move to Sandy Hook in 2004. She started in 3rd grade at Sandy Hook School and moved through Reed Intermediate and Newtown Middle until the high school commencement last week. In looking back over the decision to move to Newtown I am confident I made the right decision because of the fabulous, caring teachers in this system that impacted Ryanne in such encouraging ways.
This is the season when, after years of having their heads filled with ideas, ranks of graduates put on caps and gowns and contain their excitement long enough to hear a succession of speakers offer a few final insights before they step out into the future. Whatever the horizon looks like from beneath the mortarboard this year, two things are certain: the future is brighter with a college education and a college education is now so expensive that its financial obligations are likely to be a part of that future for a long time to come.
As a parent and taxpayer, I am disappointed to read Trent Harrison's comments regarding overlapping programs and initiatives in the article "Concerns Aired: Teachers Offer 'State of The Union'" published Saturday, May 24th.
The US Department of Education and the State Department of Education want the public to believe that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) education reforms simply need more time to work out the kinks of implementation. But here are some facts:
1. That the CCSS were developed and written by think tank lobbyists in conjunction with the testing corporations,
The state’s Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor received a letter from the US Department of Education last week telling him that Connecticut has another year to implement a system of teacher evaluation that is linked to student performance — much to everyone’s relief. The state was supposed to start the new evaluation system next year, but this aspect of the state and federal government’s push for education reform has proven to be an easier thing to talk about than to implement.
Newtown, we have a remarkable new school superintendent! For the eight years he was Southington's superintendent of schools, I was honored to work closely with Joseph Erardi, Jr. In my 43 years as a high school English/Language Arts teacher, I encountered scores of administrators. Sadly, some followed the Peter Principles' rise to be competent with adults but disenfranchised around students.