Everywhere but here

I’m tracking down the ranking of the capital district school districts in the Albany Business Review in their just released annual “Schools Report”. I happened upon this paragraph in the “Editors Notebook” introducing the survey:

There is no arguing that quality schools are essential to our community. Public schools are at the heart of any community and its economic future. The quality of the schools determines real estate values and the ability of companies to recruit quality employees to the region, as well as our ability to attract quality employers.

I had to chuckle as what is glaringly, amazingly obvious to everyone else does not seem to apply here when it comes to: “There is no arguing that quality schools are essential to our community” and what follows.
Regrettably Amsterdam once again proves itself an exception. In Amsterdam, we take great pride in ignoring the argument altogether. That is why we will not, must not, will not ever talk about our schools’ scores on the NY ELAs and Math; not by the board, not by the administration, not by the press!
But what if you did? What if you were to make a case that maybe, after all, academic performance matters. That maybe, just maybe, the community would be a better community, a prospering community, a vibrant community.
“Such fools” they would say. “Such snobs”, “such suches!” and such much more.  “There is none to be done, not a thing to rethink, so go away, go away, go away.”
That’s how we find ourselves where we are today. I think it boils down to a few key reasons: 1) a large segment of our community and community leadership does not subscribe to what is obvious to everyone else 2) the school district  operates with a strategy and mission completely counter to the goals and strategies of the overall community 3) the unwillingness to demand accountability from the board and administration even if it means challenging — oh dear– the status quo.
Once again “everywhere but here”.

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1 Response

  1. Ann Peconie says:

    I think as residents and tax payers it is our role to hold the GASD accountable for the performance of their schools and students on NYS tests and for us to make them hold teachers accountable as well…. wow, I said it, shutter the thought of actually questioning the teaching styles and methods of our educators. It is time to do just that and start asking the BOE tough questions- are they thory based? if so, what theory is being used? etc. so that they will need their Super to find the info and data for them. No more excuses. WE need to demand it. That is our right as taxpayers and residents/parents of GASD. Try visiting another state like FL or CO where teachers are constantly challenged by educated and knowledgable parents regarding teaching styles, methods and evaluation systems/rubrics. This is the norm there and it makes the educational instruction stronger and keeps the teachers on their toes striving for excellence- what a novel thought…Our children deserve better…

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