Dear Superintendents: Fairy Tales are for Kids, Not Parents

An epidemic has hit Massachusetts.

An epidemic of critical proportions that threatens the lives of children in every city and town and jeopardizes the future of every community in the Commonwealth.

It’s a public information crisis.

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Some Massachusetts school superintendents are systemically lying to the public about how poorly their school districts are performing. They are painting a picture of glory and triumph that spins minor gains in areas of little consequence into major victories worthy of front page news stories a la Donald Trump.

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And yes, when lying to the public about the state of our public schools leads to a failure to make the interventions needed to improve these systems — there is no question that these failures will lead to poverty, incarceration and death for some of these children.


Districts  are failing our students who are in desperate need of immediate intervention. They’ve been doing so for generations. Instead of making tough choices, our districts are spinning fairy tales s about how it’s just a “failure to promote the good things” and a “public relations issue,” instead of an absolute lack of courage to step in and make the changes needed  for significant change.

First, Springfield Superintendent Daniel Warwick produced a 50-page fairytale on the triumphs of the Springfield Public Schools,which practically everyone in Western Massachusetts knew was a total piece of spin and garbage other than the Springfield School Committee, of course, who lapped it all up with a spoon.

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And now in New Bedford, the Superintendent and his elected enablers are weaving a tale of incredible success in a school district that is a breath away from state takeover by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

I wrote this piece for CommonWealth Magazine that addresses the delusional spin being presented by “the system” in New Bedford — where community leaders have the audacity to tell parents that things are just amazing.

I used to think it was plain ignorance, but now it’s just blatantly offensive how stupid these people think we all are.

Why do they do it? Because keeping your job as a Superintendent of schools in Massachusetts is a political one.

If you can BS your way into tricking the local school committee into thinking your “a good person who means well and is working hard” than you can keep your gig, regardless of whether or not you are completely incompetent and incapable of making the change needed to make a difference.

That doesn’t mean that these superintendents are bad people or aren’t doing their best — it’s just that your best simply isn’t good enough.

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The bottom line in all of this is: The numbers don’t lie. Which is of course WHY teachers unions are pressuring electeds to kill testing.


Without numbers, we won’t even have to go through the exercise of cooking the books anymore. Once a year, the Superintendent can go up in front of the school committee and congratulate themselves for their “excellence” while taking a picture with the one kid from the district who makes it into an Ivy League school and our state legislature can allocate more money to the county sheriffs to build bigger facilities to house our children who end up incarcerated as a result.

I’m going to keep saying it — over and over and OVER again.

We are standing up, because for too long we heard the common refrain, that its not our schools that are failures but parents.

It’s time to get honest: Our schools continue to fail black and brown kids. And while the data tells a clear a story, parents are ignored (at best patronized and at worst disrespected) the system continues to fail.

No more.

We hope it makes you uncomfortable enough to start squirming your way into doing something different:

If we do not EDUCATE these children, we will INCARCERATE these children.

Our kids deserve more than spin and political platitudes. It’s time for transparency and accountability. We need real solutions for these kids.

Progress isn’t proficiency. We need to start making an action plan YESTERDAY about how to improve the quality of education for children who are otherwise in the school to prison pipeline because of ineffective tactics and a lack of urgency from administrators and superintendents to make real changes.

In the words of the newest member of Congress from Boston: Change can’t wait.


What do you think?

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