Aw come on, does anyone really think this is a solution?

The Greenwich Board of Ed recently spent a great deal of time discussing the possible implementation of a grammar school curriculum focused on math, technology and science in order to address racial imbalance at New Lebanon School. This is grammar school, for heaven’s sake; a second-grader needs to learn how to read, add and subtract, not design bio-weapons – plenty of time for the latter in high school. Is a Riverside parent going to bus her child to Byram so the kid can learn calculus at 11? I think not (besides, in Riverside, they hire tutors for that).

Less time spent trying to placate the state’s demand that we assign students to schools by race and more on teaching basic skills to all students would be a good thing, I think, but then, I’m not a liberal, to whom intentions count more than results.

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22 responses to “Aw come on, does anyone really think this is a solution?

  1. LAK

    It’s just a gimmick that the boe is trying to pull b/c they know they have to comply with the State of Conn. (Racially balanced schools)..this way, it looks almost inviting to the parents in Riverside to bus their kids to this “special school”

    The boe in Norwalk tried this with the people in Rowayton. Telling them they would bus their kids across town. Guess who won?

  2. Anonymous

    LOL at more BOE and CT state education follies.

    Seriously though, instead of all these convoluted ‘lipstick on a pig’ contortions, why not just use the Elizabeth Warren Liawatha strategy, and redesignate the right number of New Lebanon students as white, martian, or whatever they need to be in order to satisfy the nitwit Hartford racists?

    Who needs the BOE for STEM, when khanacademy is available to all?

  3. Riverside Dog Walker

    The BOE is such a one trick pony. When Riverside and OG elementary schools were overcrowded and it was clear that some kids would have to go to Dundee they had the foresight to make it a magnet school. It succeeded beyond expectations.

    When they tried to do the same thing at Hamilton Avenue, surprise, no one wanted to bus their kids across town when they were happy where they were. Now they try the same thing at New Lebanon? That is farther away from where most people live than Hamilton Ave. Isn’t it by Israel or something?

  4. Anonymous

    A true magnet program, one where admission is base on ability and not lottery, would be well received.

  5. Greenwich Gal

    It is not a bad idea, Chris. Dundee has done very well and families are clamouring to get in. There is nothing wrong at all with having more choices. An emphasized math and science curriculum would be very attractive to me if I had young ones. The US is behind in math and science and we are getting our butt kicked by other nations. Microsoft and many of the big tech companies are starting to hire outside of the US for their top talent.
    I know you are against racial gerrymandering – as am I – but the schools in the big money sections of town do better for obvious reasons. More resources. At home and at school.

  6. Anonymous

    How about simply offering a decent STEM program in ALL grammar schools. The current math program is atrocious and science is non-exisant in the grammar schools.

  7. ILL-Logical

    Why is the State so focused on the racial imbalance at our Elementary schools? We only have ONE high school, so it is by definition in balance.
    The eleven elementary schools range in enrollment from 250 – 500 students. All it takes is one family of one racial category to move away and a new family of a different racial category to move in to upset the “balance”, and we’d be back to square one.
    Quit the labeling, call them all “American students”‘ let the local school boards go back to running schools and let the teachers go back to teaching.

  8. Georgie

    Well said, Chris. Well, we are onto our new silver bullet driving MILLIONS more in spending, which is “Common Core” standard for all the schools—requiring new text books, new teacher training, new computers for EVERY kid in school, and new tests. This all replaces No Child Left Behind.

    It really does beg the question why the schools with high minority count continyue to do poorly on student achievement given the same curriculum, teachers, principals and such?

    Could it be the PARENTS that make the difference?

    Was that racist of me to even ask?

  9. Anonymous

    Let’s look at the big money sections of town. Belle Haven feeds into Julian Curtis. Round Hill feeds into Gennville. These areas haven’t sent a kid to public school in 20 years. They send the live in help to public schools. The areas with the best schools are too poor too afford private, but not too poor to suck.

    • FF

      Anon – you couldnt be more wrong. A large amount of parents in these supposedly tony locations send their kids to public school. Some out of commitment to public education, some because they couldnt get into the capped private schools, some because they dont feel like paying twice, but to infer that people who live in expensive homes turn their back on these issues is an unfortunate and completely erroneous. Malformed comments like this just serve to further divide the community. This reads like you want and like an elite (of which I suppose you are desperate to be a part of), and the 10000 kids and their families that attend pubic school are somewhat unworthy. Complain away about the law, the parents the money, but not this nonsense

  10. Georgie

    My quick research shows Dundee BEHIND North Mianus, Riverside, North Street, Glenville, Old Greenwich…..and so say again Dundee is the shiny example of IB stellar performance?

    Only in schools can you come in 6th and be considered a model for others to follow.

    Just deliver a school with solid reading, writing, artithmetic….and oh throw in geography and civics and you have a solid elementary school.

    I still would like someone to explain WHY they believe there is a discrepancy in performance. And, please don’t say money otherwise Washington D.C. schools would be the BEST in the nation rather than the worst with the HIGHEST cost per pupil.

  11. CatoRenasci

    Political Incorrectness Warning!

    The state mandate for racial balance is idiotic. Everyone knows that. The only way you’d have “racial balance” in a school system would be if residential neighborhoods were “racially balanced” and that’s just not going to happen.

    Greenwich is primarily an upper-middle-class community, with significant upper class and working class populations.

    The upper-middle class and the upper class want the public schools which provide an excellent education, first rate athletics, and a social niveau in which upper-middle-class (and higher) behavior is seen as the norm, and any behavior inconsistent with upper-middle/upper-class values is not tolerated. That’s the model on which the Greenwich public schools were built a generation or more ago, and it’s why the schools were among the best in the United States as recently as the early 1980s.

    The upper class and the more affluent among the upper-middle class will only use the public schools to the extent they believe the schools meet those criteria. While some will always prefer private (local or boarding) schools, the better the public schools are seen as being, the more likely those who can afford private schools will stay with public schools.

    The lower-middle and working classes will generally support schools built on the upper-middle-class model as long as they perceive them as providing an avenue for upward mobility in which their children are treated (reasonably) fairly.

    I think that despite the significant deterioration in the perceived quality of the Greenwich public schools since the early 1980s, most of the elementary schools still can be characterized as embodying the upper-middle-class model.

    With changing demographics in Greenwich, the population is no longer as homogenous as it was 30 years ago. The racial changes are not uniformly distributed, and are concentrated in the areas of town that have long been more or less working-class in Byram, Chickahominy, Cos Cob, and parts of central Greenwich.

    One of the results of this concentration has been that the student populations of New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue Schools, and to a lesser extent Julian Curtis, have student bodies that are increasingly less white and increasingly poor. Always more working class that schools like North Street, Riverside and Old Greenwich.

    I think most people want their children to go to school with children whom the parents perceive as essentially their children’s peers. That means families with comparable (or better) educational backgrounds, social status, and economic resources, and it means children who will behave in ways compatible with typical middle or upper-middle class community norms.

    No parent wants his or her child to go to a school where most of the children come from socio-economic backgrounds significantly lower than his or her own, especially if those children do not achieve at the same levels, do not speak well, and/or do not follow the same behavioral norms. If they have any choice in the matter, almost no parents will respond to any incentives to get them to put their children into such a school. Those factors are far more important, for most parents, than race.

    What this means is that there is really nothing that can be done about racial imbalance in our schools that isn’t coercive. You can guild the New Lebanon or Hamilton Avenue lilies all you like, but the upper-middle and upper class parents won’t send their kids there.

    The only way you’ll achieve racial balance will be by forced redistricting, which will be a fight, and created bitterness. Those for whom the public schools were a philosophical, not a financial, choice, may well reconsider. Those in the upper-middle class whose public school choice was partly philosophical and partly financial, may well decide they need to make the necessary sacrifices to move their children to private schools.

    This will not end well

  12. Anonymous

    I don’t think working class economics have changed much in Greenwich. However the color of the working class has. Greenwich parents, and more importantly the state, need to get over 1960s style racism and social engineering. We are all Americans, stop obsessing over color.

  13. 3G

    Magnet schools are the bone the BOE gives to the state to make it look like we are doing something worthwhile. Julian Curtiss is a Magnet School and was cited by the state not too long ago for doing a lousy job. Dundee is a success not because it is a Magnet School, but because of the material, the children, who come from stable households where the parents are on top of the kids and their focus is education. Those same kids would be successful in any of the elementary schools. If they are threateing to teach math and science in New Lebanon just what were they doing before? If there is a magic math and science program out there, does this mean we must deny the kids in the non-Magnet Schools this same silver bullet?

  14. Brown Eyed Girl

    Here’s an idea: There are 13 grades (including kindergarten) and 11+ 3 + 1 = 15 school buildings in Greenwich. Send all kindergarteners in the entire District to (say) Julian Curtiss, all first graders to ISD, second graders to Parkway, third grade to Cos Cob, and so on for K-8, using 9 of the school buildings for single grades which can never be racially out of balance. Everyone attends the high school as usual. Close the other 5 buildings to pay for the busing & gasoline costs.

    • There are communities who have done just this, always for financial reasons. These places are also geographically smaller than the town of Greenwich. The massive single grade schools that are created seem awfully factory-like to me. The commuting factor in Greenwich would be horrible and few parents would want to lose a community multi-grade school.

  15. Balzac

    CatoRenasci is right: “The state mandate for racial balance is idiotic. Everyone knows that.”
    This is one more example of a Democratic, utopian government in distant Hartford creating some left-wing egalitarian day-dream of a policy. The liberals who did this no doubt congratulated themselves, and send their kids on to Weslayan and Yale. Meanwhile towns like Greenwich have to contort themselves to actually satisfy the government definition of “racial balance”.

    Can someone identify a real human youngster whose education was improved by this law, and the contortions it forces on some of our school systems?

  16. NewsJunkie

    The reason Dundee is successful as a magnet school and Hamilton Avenue, New Lebannon, and Julian Curtis are not is because Dundee is in a successful geographic location. That is, if Dundee closed tomorrow, those children would go to Riverside, OG, or North Mianus; and don’t overlook the fact that Dundee is a feeder school to Eastern.

    • LAK

      This is all b/c of Sheff vs. O’Neill “Sheff Movement”

      http://www.sheffmovement.org

      • CatoRenasci

        Sheff v. O’Neill , 238 Conn. 1, 678 A.2d 1267 (1996) wasn’t the beginning of the end for Connecticut schools, but it was a significant milestone in their deterioration. The only Connecticut communities with really first rate schools today are a few Gold Coast towns which are relatively small, economically and (at least mostly) racially homogenous, and wealthy.

        Combining the state intrusion into school finance and administration with forced unionization and the profusion of unfunded state and federal mandates ensures the public schools will continue to deteriorate until an enterprising town says “enough” and eliminates its public schools altogether, providing a voucher in the amount they previously spent per pupil for the parents to use at any school they choose.

  17. Anonymous

    sumthing is wrong here. hispanicos and blacks have taken the place of hunkies polacks eyetalians and fudruckers and now its a racial thing?

    it was ok when the dumb fuckers were white but now yall gotta gerrymander when the dopes are people of color?

  18. Greenwich Gal

    The bottom line of what is wrong with our school? UNION PROTECTIONISM! The Teacher’s union protects those who are incompetent. Those who have no desire to achieve excellence are “mailing it in” until they get a pension and you can’t fire a total loser without miles of red tape. Talent is not rewarded. There are some great teachers here in our school district – but there are just as many who should be doing something else.