Inferences can be misleading

We look to the hills of Hartford, from whence cometh our strength, and orders

We look to the hills of Hartford, from whence cometh our strength, and orders

Greenwich Time has a story on its pages entitled “Unique School Exemption Addressed” implying that the argument put forward by Board members Peter Sherr, Herr Pieter Von Brätwurst and attorney Ben Bianco that , because New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue schools are designated “magnet schools”, they are exempt from Connecticut’s racial balance laws and we can ignore the state and get about the business of improving student performance there without interference from the Hartford.

“Addressed” can imply “considered” – a more accurate headline would have used “Dismissed”, because that’s what’s (not) going on.

Leslie Moriarty, the board’s chairman, also expressed wariness about seeking unique-school status.

“Let’s say you go forward with that plan, our history would tell you that they would not accept that decision,” she said. “And then you’re in the ambiguous world of what happens next. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie said the state would entertain a Greenwich bid for unique-school designations.

“The board can vote to bring that question to them — that’s your call,” he said. “They’re open to the question, but they’re not encouraging it.”

At last week’s hearing, the board declined to answer my own question as to the status of the town’s decision whether to challenge the constitutionality of Connecticut’s racial laws and what the attorneys we hired this past June to render an opinion had concluded. Perhaps they did answer it last night, where the proceedings were conducted entirely in Spanish. If they didn’t, I’m sure they will in two weeks, when they’re holding yet another meeting, this time in Urdu.

31 Comments

Filed under Right wing nut rantings

31 responses to “Inferences can be misleading

  1. TownieGirl

    They also provided babysitting last night…seems like a double standard to me. They’ve never offered babysitting when the meetings have been at GHS or Eastern.

  2. Greenwich Taxpayer

    It is sad that the largest portion of our Town’s budget is being run by a bunch of people that keep bringing our school system further and further into the abyss. At least Sherr and von Braun are looking to explore options that appear to be viable ones. The worse that can happen is that the Board challenges the State and they get slapped down. But at least they tried. Now all we get is the “law is the law” (to quote Ospina). How sad.

  3. Chief Scrotum

    Just raise taxes until the people who object move away. Simple,

  4. housecat

    Interesting that the Ham Ave parent quoted in the article expressed opposition to sending her kids to North St or Pkwy, because she wanted them at a school with a quorum of Hispanic kids. She said that to applause by the other parents – so, she’s apparently not an outlier. I don’t suppose the State BOE has ever considered *that* possibility…

    • Anonymous

      There have been very interesting integration studies done. What they show is that when planners plan neighborhoods – mixing up all races , that over time the various groups regroup to be with similar people. Sad that as I write that I worry some will call me racist for saying “similar”.

      • I think that was the exact experience of Columbia, MD, which was presented to us in high school social studies as the perfect planned community. Wonder what other bullshit I was fed in the late 6os-early 70s?

  5. greenwich dude

    what if at some point we have to address the disturbing possibility that things are generally fine, except for achievement? and that fixing achievement starts in the home. and with language facility. what then, my god, what then?!

  6. GWChase

    Greenwich Dude hit it on the head – accept responsibility for raising your children – now there’s a new idea.
    GW

  7. CatoRenasci

    Give IQ tests, the expensive, individualized kind, to all of the entering students at the beginning of first grade. If the kid comes from a Spanish-speaking household and is not an obviously fluent English-speaker, give them the IQ test in Spanish. Figure baseline cognitive abilities.

    It’s impossible to assess the “achievement gap” unless you know the relative cognitive abilities of the various “groupings” and, indeed, the individual cognitive ability of each child. You simply can’t expect to close the “achievement gap” between the 90 IQ child from a household with parents who are not educated or cultured (Ms. HamAve), on the one hand, and the 145 IQ child from a household full of art, music, and the high culture and parents (and often grandparents and greatgrandparents) with good undergraduate and graduate degrees who take an active interest in the child’s educational development (Ms Riverstrive). It’s not going to happen. Ever.

    What you can do, is substantially narrow the gap between young Ms. Riverstrive and young Mr. NewLeb who (despite his disadvantages) tests with a 130 IQ on a Spanish language IQ test. At least at the grammar and high school levels, if you give Mr. NewLeb immersion instruction in English and put him in an academic environment with a peer culture that encourages academic achievement.

  8. TraderVic

    Included in the Braun/Sherr proposal was something like…”anyone who feels racially isolated can opt to move to a different school..” Personally, I don’t feel this is a bad approach because it is obviously miserable for anyone to feel odd-man-out, but wouldn’t the schools become even less diversified? Or perhaps I am misreading the proposal…? Help, anyone.

    • CatoRenasci

      I tend to agree with you, but there is a risk that letting “racially isolated” kids move would result in “white flight”. Or, that Hispanics or Asians, or even blacks, would choose to cluster in particular schools, making racial imbalance worse.

      That’s why the focus on racial balance, rather than a focus on the academic program, grouping by ability, and demanding each child work to the best of his or her ability, is so misguided.

      Would anyone care about racial balance if all of the schools had scores within a narrow range? Of course not.

      • LMNOP

        Years ago, at the request of a friend, I paid for a Hispanic girl from the Bronx to attend a parochial school in upper Manhattan. The mother was thrilled to have her daughter out of the worst PS in the Bronx. The girl didn’t last a year. She was miserable. In a sea of whites and blacks (often blacks and Hispanics do not get along!), she had no friends and no peers. She went back to the Bronx, where she did okay in class, despite having lousy teachers, but she was happy. I’m not convinced KIDS are unhappy in schools that are racially [un? - Ed] balanced.

  9. burningmadolf

    I bet unique status would be granted, but then the likes of Moriarty and McKersie wouldn’t be able to apply for status of great civil rights leaders.
    Was conducting the meeting in Spanish even legal? There have always been a lot of Japanese in town so when is their meeting? And what about Mandarin? Ah, forget it, meetings would be on school nights and those parents would be making sure their kids did their homework.

    • Perhaps someone should ask the Board this question? Although they won’t admit it, it’s because of their racist views towards Hispanics: Japanese, Indians, Germans, any race or culture other than Hispanic is expected to be fluent in English or at least capable of learning it. The “little Brown Ones” from south of the border are considered too stupid to get it.

      Why they don’t provide a similar soft environment for the Irish is a puzzle, but perhaps McKersie can explain that, too.

      • Anonymous

        i have friends in so. calif. whose kids attend schools that are something like 50-60% asian. academic performance is off the charts, generally, it’s ultra competitive, and the kids’ PARENTS are employed & overachieving families living the american dream and putting heavy reliance on education.

        funny how you don’t hear crying for racial diversity in that scenario, eh?

  10. Anonymous

    the dumbing down of public education continues…

    and as others have said, it starts at home. uneducated parents with no fluent or at least proficient english speaking skills? the kids are statistically doomed from the start.

    same thing happens in poor neighborhoods. years ago i had a family member that was a teacher who was offered, literally, combat pay (there was a technical term but that was the gist of it) to go teach in a particularly poor neighborhood school. the teachers union negotiated that for folks willing to do it. needless to say, the job offer was declined.

    • I’m beginning to suspect that the whole racial redistricting fight is the local equivalent of Obama’s war on Syria – a distraction from the real issues of the day such as, here, the declining performance of Greenwich students. Threaten to break up neighborhood schools and who has time to look at our curriculum and teaching methods?
      And of course, there’s always the $75 million music palace to divert us.

      • CatoRenasci

        You’ve got it: the last thing the educational powers “what am” want is anyone to look at the curriculum, the cognitive ability and academic performance of the faculty, teaching methods, the amount of time wasted in one sort of non-academic distraction or another (non-academic activities are valuable, but the should take place before or after the academic day), and the administrative bloat in the system.

  11. Ghost of the FAR Czar

    Here’s what puzzles me. This is the quote in the GT from last night’s meeting by Ms. Ospina:

    “The law is the law,” Ospina said. “We have a large achievement gap between minority and non-minority pupils. The state wants to see that Greenwich is making progress towards addressing that achievement gap.”

    What did I miss in all of the meetings over the summer? The state law doesn’t care about an achievement gap, only race statistics. If we came up with a busing plan, for instance, that resolved the racial imbalance at Ham Ave and New Leb, the State would say “you are now in compliance”, stop sending letters and not care what happened to student achievement as a result.

    After all of the discussion, how can a BOE member not understand the basic issue?

    • CatoRenasci

      After all of this discussion, how can a BOE member not understand the basic issue?

      1. They don’t want to.
      2. They don’t understand English very well.
      3. They don’t have the cognitive ability to understand the issue.
      4. All of the above.

    • burningmadolf

      Hahahaha, Google: Public Act 11-85 and witness first hand your state government at work.
      I don’t think it’s a law, but it’s the type of BS coming out of Hartford that gives educrats the delusion that they have a mandate.

  12. greenwich dude

    here’s a proposed platform for when the voters in this town decide to replace the BOE in one fell swoop:

    1) screw hartford. we fix the problems we see here, first, and worry about what the state thinks after that. consequences? whatever. bring it.

    2) we see the problem here: achievement and achievement balance. no problem exists with race. so different communities have different racial compositions and the community schools reflect that? welcome to planet earth. leave it alone, let communities sort themselves out

    3) establish residency for public students, if not done already (for all the noise, i am still a bit unclear on that item)

    4) establish english proficiency level for students. if there are real gaps, then THAT is where the extra spending should go. you should come to an american school prepared to speak or learn english. but hey, if you don’t, this is a rich community – let’s spend the dollars on tutoring there so bright kids have a chance

    5) measure, test, measure, test, weed out, right up to the limits of the law. i’m talking about teachers here. then slightly overpay most teachers and really overpay the great ones. another great spot to spend.

    6) calm down with the facilities. cancel MISA. great talents that practice have a way of flourishing, even in totally shitty surroundings. ever seen the guys who play instruments in the NYC subway? talent has NOTHING to do with surroundings

  13. ChillKitty

    According to GT, parents in the audience were complaining that the residency requirement paperwork is too much too bear. Sorry, but I don’t know why the verification extends until October 1. This should have been done prior to the first day of school. If you can’t comply with the verification, your kid can’t enroll in school. Too bad! Make this a priority, parents!

  14. another starbucks 4 me

    Urdu speakers don’t qualify for affirmative action therefore they don’t need the special meeting forum. Similar to Asian dominated Californina schools mentioned above, Edison NJ’s school district is brimming over the curry pot with ultra competitive kids and parents. In addition, let’s not forget Asians and South Asians had to fly over here and for the most part are legal immigrants vs. wading across the Rio Grande after a popping a few tamales for sustenance.