Springfield Public Schools: We Hurt Your Feelings By Telling You That You’re Failing Kids. We’re Not Sorry

We’re had alot of reaction to our blog on the Springfield Public Schools — and frankly, we’re pretty happy about it.

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It’s about damn time that we started having a real conversation about the crisis in education that is happening in the western part of the state. We’re glad so many of you agree. We were even able to get a copy of the 50 slide presentation that Superintendent Warwick presented to the School Committee so you can see how awful it is for yourself: School Committee Presentation 10-4-18 (002)

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Is there an award you can win for excellence in cherry-picking and spinning data? Because I think I’m ready to nominate the data analysts in SPS for some kind of national recognition.

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Meanwhile, to bring you up to date since our last post — we’ve had some push back from those inside the Springfield Public Schools about us not valuing the “amazing and incredible” educational foundation they are giving their students. Some of it has even come from principals within SPS directly:

(By the way, this Facebook comment came in the middle of the school day.)

The problem is, here’s what’s happening at Principal Regan’s school — the Mary M. Walsh School in Springfield:

Please keep in mind that this school is majority Latino and 75% of the kids are not proficient — a key marker for the school to prison pipeline.

I’m sure Principal Regan is “doing his best” but “his best” is not working. We have many, many examples of poor kids who are able to not just achieve proficiency, but EXCEL. This is not a “quality education” Principal Regan. FYI: Even poor children are capable of proficiency.

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By the way, this is only Regan’s third year as a principal — coming just last year from the West School in Southbridge — a district that is currently in receivership. We’re not entirely sure Principal Regan even knows what the hell he’s talking about at all. 

I mean, are these acceptable results to you, Principal Regan? Because they ARE NOT for us.

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Principal Regan is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the huge DENIAL PROBLEM in Springfield.

Now listen, I know that it can be an incredibly upsetting experience for community leaders and educators to be told they are failing. I just wish the grown ups in this situation cared more about the fact that they are failing children then how they feel about being told that they’re failing. 

We get it. You’re doing the best you can. The problem is, the best you can isn’t good enough. Sorry if that hurts your feelings. But I’m more concerned about the feelings of children who are robbed of access to high quality education and the families that end up in an endless cycle of poverty, desperation and incarceration as a result.

Some of the Dan Warwick Cheerleading Squad have asked me, “What’s YOUR solution, EduMom?”

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Well isn’t THAT a fascinating question.

You see, it’s not my job to come up with the solution.

That’s YOUR job.

That’s how this works. We are parents.

We are not educators.

It’s not my job to develop of culturally-inclusive, rigorous curriculum and teacher mentorship and development program to eradicate the achievement gaps and foreign language violation issues that are currently bordering on a civil rights violation in your school system.

You see, that’s what we hire YOU to do.

In fact, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spends BILLIONS OF DOLLARS for you to do just that.

Me? I’m here to check the receipts and make sure my children get what I’ve already paid you for. The problem is — I know that people have figured out how to do this better, and you my friends, ain’t bringing it to the table.

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These receipts do not add up.

Another interesting angle of pushback has been the same old blaming of parents for everything that is ailing the clearing broken system. It must be the fault of parents that the public school system is failing children.

Parents are lazy!

Parents don’t care!

Parents won’t read to their kids!

Parents aren’t teaching their children (?) the way we want them to!

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It’s always interesting how when students aren’t doing well, it’s automatically the fault of the parents. But when the students are doing well, that’s just a result of excellent teaching. Sorry, the data from actual high performing schools just doesn’t bear this “parent blame” out.

By the way — as we noted in the last blog — DESE has called you folks out for doing an ATROCIOUS job engaging parents. And it’s obvious by a quick trip to your website. #2 item under “Parents and Student Information” is “Helpful Guide for Parent Complaints”:

 

Even before school cancellations. YIKES.

One teacher on our EduMom Facebook page even compared having children of color and low income kids in the classroom was like having a little league team trying to play against the Red Sox.

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I would say what we’re dealing with is more like having a little league team called in to teach our children when they really need the starting line up of the Sox at the head of the classroom. Isn’t it about time that our children who have the greatest need had access to the World Champions of teaching?

All of this to say, we believe we’re hit a nerve here. And so, we’re going all in.

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Over the next three weeks, Massachusetts Parents United is going to be developing our own briefing of the state of Springfield Public Schools for presentation to the Springfield School Committee, the Springfield City Council, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and other key members of the business community.

If there was ever a community that needed a real “Come to Jesus” conversation about education — it’s Springfield.

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We’re here for it.

 

What do you think?

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