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Clockwise from top left: Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, Chalrlie Day, Laverne Cox, Capt. Richard Phillips and Michael Bloomberg.
Robert Norwood April 12, 2014 at 08:14 am
You can bet Ayaan Hirsi Ali won't be speaking at any of these higher institutions of liberal leftRead More hypocrisy. Too bad Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez aren't available.
Bob April 12, 2014 at 06:31 pm
Robert - amazing isn't it? She is speaking out against women being mutilated and for getting themRead More educated and the left hates her! Flipping up side down country we now live in! PC gone haywire. Let's not offend the practitioners of the cult that kills thousands of their own people over religion and shoot a little girl in the face because she wants an education!
malcolm nichols April 14, 2014 at 07:49 am
Amherst College?
Patch File Photo
Kathleen April 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm
Can't understand people on here advocating for their children to be 'friends' with their teachers onRead More FB...They are NOT friends, they are teachers, mentors and there are many other ways that they can mentor a child if they want to help them. How about the good ol' face to face discussion? Probably would do more to help a child that is in need of a little guidance better than FB. Also, many teachers today set up classroom blogs for day-to-day communication with their students, which is a great use of technology. Also, most of these kids shouldn't even be on FB since the rules of FB actually require that you be 18 to sign up. (though this is usually not enforced by FB or parents, me included). Once a student reaches 18 or 21 years of age and they are no longer students of their teacher(s), then fine if they want to be friends with their teacher(s). Just doesn't make sense to me that parents don't understand that their should be boundary lines while they are.
nedlam1968 April 9, 2014 at 06:48 pm
Unfortunately, we've become a society where too many do not understand boundaries. I don't thinkRead More it's appropriate for school staff to "friend" student's - there are "rules" that outline appropriate and inappropriate behaviors with students ... unfortunately, everyone thinks that what matters is being "buddies" with the kids ... too many professionals have forgotten how to be professional ...
Mrs. B April 10, 2014 at 12:09 am
Teachers friending students on Facebook is unprofessional. I would think a teacher would beRead More intelligent enough to know this without being told by authorities.
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. File photo.
Charlie Kadlec April 3, 2014 at 08:18 am
This year, for the first time in Acton, the Board of Selectmen has voted not to recommend theRead More proposed school assessment. There are several very good reasons why the voters should follow the Selectmen's recommendation and vote NO on the school articles. First, the real increase in the school budget is much higher than the 4.7% cited by the school committee. For example, the 4.7% does not include $500,000 for retirement costs that was left out of the school budget and will have to be paid by the municipal side and does not include the true costs of additional personnel which, for the next fiscal year, the school administration is funding from "off budget" accounts such as Community Education to make the budget increase appear to be lower. Second, the formula in the new Regional Agreement which determines how the costs are allocated to Acton and Boxborough continues the flawed practice of using only enrollment, aggravated by the relatively higher Acton enrollment in the K-6 grades now added to the District and not corrected by the temporary "fix" which was added to the Agreement at the last minute. The formula results in Acton subsidizing Boxborough not just for the next fiscal year but every year -- the Agreement does not have an expiration date. Third, the proposed new positions are not classroom teachers but mostly administrators supposedly needed to implement another unfunded mandate from the state. There is much more to this, visit the ActonForum for more information. The vote on the school articles at this Town Meeting will have a very significant impact on the future of Acton, on our ability to provide adequate services to all residents. Please attend Town Meeting -- which starts Monday -- and vote NO on the school assessment Article 21 as well as Article 22. Charlie Kadlec Acton
Poppaone April 3, 2014 at 09:31 am
AAs an Acton taxpayer, I feel that it is inappropriate for the Acton Patch to publish biased pressRead More releases from the School Committee without giving equal time to the other side of this issue. Obviously the School Assessment issue is controversial as the Board of Selectmen negative vote demonstrated. Support for this assessment is not in the best interest of the Acton taxpayer and, hopefully, the smart and informed voters of Acton will reject this article at Town Meeting. I recommend that the School Committee deliver to Acton what they promised at the last town meeting – or do the right thing and resign.
Scott Smyers April 4, 2014 at 02:17 pm
Not so fast. The School Committee is well aware of the unnecessary expenses due to implementingRead More PARCC/Common Core, but they are careful not to discuss this publicly. The voters of Acton have been educating themselves on these issues and some of us will be ready to question these issues at Town meeting. You need to know that the costs are going up to implement State and Federal requirement we do NOT NEED (substandard tests and curriculum), CANNOT afford (extra Vice Principals just to do paperwork required by the Common Core), and will not result in a better education (see NY state's fight against PARCC and Common Core). And that is just the beginning.
Acton teachers held a protest in mid-March, demanding a new contract. Credit: Pat Clark
ActonGuy March 27, 2014 at 07:57 am
There's free speech and there's appropriate professional behavior for educators. Yes, safeRead More environment, yes, free exchange of ideas, yes - all the politically correct stuff. We are talking about teachers using their position to push their own political agenda - which has nothing to do with the subject matter they are teaching. This is manipulation and indoctrination of children by authority figures that they look to for guidance. When teachers start wearing pro- or con- abortion buttons, will you have an opinion? Pro- or con- ObamaCare? Pro- or con- same-sex marriage? This is *not* a teachable moment, it's a sad comment on just how far off the tracks we have gone. Our schools reflect the larger society and the blatent manipulation of children to gain an advantage in a financial negotiation doesn't sound like free speech or open exchange of ideas to me - it sounds like what our moral values are 100% against.
ActonGuy March 27, 2014 at 08:03 am
Allen - Exactly. Thanks for clarifying. The teachers have the *legal* right to do it. We need toRead More understand how what's legal isn't always what's right. Most professions have written or unwritten codes of conduct - what is and is not appropriate for them to engage in. Certainly lawyers have very strict standards - if teachers had similar standards we would not be having this discussion.
Charlie Kadlec March 27, 2014 at 09:33 am
Danny -- teachers promoting their side of adversarial negotiations to a captive audience ofRead More students is not a free exchange of ideas. Charlie Kadlec Acton
The Acton School Committee. File photo.
Michael Fleming March 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm
Yes Jill, when looked at properly, most things are interesting life experiences. But that doesn'tRead More justify what they were doing. Let's say your parents were against unionization. Let's say they didn't like unions because they always donate money to left wing politicians. Should the teachers usurp the parents prerogative in teaching that child their values and what their morals are? The teachers have a right to whatever politics they choose, be it right or left,but they should NOT involve our children in their political battles. Children should be left to learn about politics, morals, values from their parents, or their church. Teachers are there to teach reading, math, writing, etc. What if a teacher was against abortion, and decided to teach her students it was murder, and involved the kids in a protest march at a Planned Parenthood clinic, but you, as a parent were pro choice. How would you feel about that teacher influencing your child in that manner? Would you let her? Would you say that it would be an "interesting life experience"? Teachers should be politics neutral. And that includes involving their students in labor disputes and wearing buttons that influence children one way or the other!
Marc Lewis March 27, 2014 at 06:59 am
Several references have been made in this thread to the ground rules that were agreed to between theRead More School Committee and the AEA at the start of negotiations, and inaccurate assertions have made that the AEA violated those ground rules by sharing details of those negotiations with the public. We certainly have shared information about the negotiations and encourage the public dialogue, but the ground rules were not violated in the process. The ground rules we agreed to stipulated that once we entered mediation, either side could share the substance of negotiations as long as the other party was notified. We provided such notification prior to our attending the School Committee meeting on March 6 when we first made a public statement. I appreciate the opportunity to correct this inaccuracy. Marc Lewis, Acton Education Association President
Allen Nitschelm March 27, 2014 at 07:46 am
Your statement seems to be at odds with the statement released by the schools on this matter:Read More "At the School Committee meeting on March 6th, 2014, members of the Acton Education Association (AEA) addressed the School Committee (SC) regarding the ongoing teacher contract negotiations. Up to that point, both the AEA and the School Committee had respected their mutual agreement that the contract negotiations would be done in executive session and that the nature of these discussions about employee compensation and benefits would remain confidential."
Acton teachers held a protest Thursday, demanding a new contract. Credit: Pat Clark
Allen Nitschelm April 3, 2014 at 05:23 pm
Cathy, fair enough. I read in one of these posts that the school day was lengthened in order to keepRead More the same number of teaching hours. If that is the case, then I would probably lean towards keeping one or two days if not all of them. But I'm not one of the negotiators and I'm really only hearing one side of the argument. This is a perfect example of why we want "experts" to hash these issues out and not have an ill-informed public debate.
Al Parker April 4, 2014 at 02:18 pm
Everyone comments on a "fair" salary. Let's not forget that pretty much allRead More non-governmental salaried college-educated employees don't get a "fair" salary. They get paid a market salary implicitly based on supply and demand. In the real-world your pay is based on what is needed in the market for a business to hire and retain a good employee, nothing else. (BTW A system where pay is decided based on someone's definition of "fairness" rather than the market is called Socialism.) The key information that is needed in order to determine whether AB teachers are over or under paid are real statistics on hiring in AB over the past year or two, noting how many applicants there are for each open teaching position and how many teachers are leaving for other districts. In reality, for every open position they receive an over supply of qualified (licensed) applicants and no one leaves the district for a better job. Some might respond that this is great, and allows us to get the best-of-the-best, but in reality we all know that if 30 people apply for an open teaching position that coincidentally the one that is the niece of a long-time AB teacher is most qualified. This is expected because overpaying and therefore having many more applicants than positions pretty much insures nepotism because it's nearly impossible to find the true "best" in 30 qualified candidates. There's a myth repeated again and again in the media that there's not enough good teachers and their pay is too low. This is false. The truth is that there are not enough good teachers willing to work in socioeconomic disadvantaged areas, and a vast oversupply of those willing to work in affluent and safe suburban schools like AB. In other words urban teachers are underpaid and suburban teachers are overpaid. I know several former young teachers that were working in tough schools in Boston that quit teaching because of the terrible environment and not-so-good pay. I once made the mistake of asking one why she didn't just get a job in the suburbs (didn't she know there was a teacher shortgage) and she schooled me in how ignorant I was on the topic. It's nearly impossible to get a job in a nice suburban district like AB. Think my comment is BS, then someone track down how many applicants AB had for the last open teaching position and prove me wrong.
LL April 7, 2014 at 01:17 pm
As the parent of 2 young elementary school kids, I do not like the early release days. Because theRead More kids do not eat lunch at school on those days, my children are so hungry by the end of the school day that they can barely function. In addition, my children do better with a regular schedule. The early release Thursdays are very disruptive.
Patch File Photo
Martha Magee March 23, 2014 at 08:32 am
You New Englanders really need to learn how to chill. Except for Prometheus. Prometheus is alreadyRead More cool. I say ban all shoes altogether. Require humans to walk barefoot on the Earth in the sunshine for a minimum of 1 hr a day and reconnect to Mother Nature. The problem is not flipflops. In fact, flipflops are a step in the right direction. The real problem is materialism ~ the disconnect with Nature.
Merry Christmas March 23, 2014 at 04:42 pm
I wear flip flops. Their especially good when you go to court because the judge likes people whoRead More dress well
Dark star March 26, 2014 at 08:49 pm
File photo.
Steven Sadowski April 15, 2014 at 09:47 am
Joe: Actually, you are sort of correct. Public Education was founded by English settlers and itRead More did mostly focus on the Bible. So far so good. BUT, there were two schools of thought (pardon the pun) on public education: the English view that education had a responsibility to conform the individual to the collective (as you described) and the Dutch version which educated based upon individual needs. To this day, the Dutch have a workable and very successful voucher system where parents choose where to send their kids and competition creates efficiency and excellence. I believe they are #1 in the world? Outside of New York, the Dutch had very little influence in the New World and so we got stuck with the English view on public education which is that the individual must conform to the ideals of the collective. In the old days that was religion, but now, that is the state. I completely agree with your criticisms of NCLB. I don't know, maybe you're so indoctrinated in the two party system that any criticism of Obama automatically means the other person must be a republican, so whip out the Bush card? It would be nice to have a discussion that did not involve the same old tired finger pointing based upon political parties and just solve the problem, which is that testing as a means of determining quality of schools would not need to exist if school choice and competition allowed parents to support whichever school they felt gave their child the best educational outcomes. In lieu of such choices, we are stuck with these idiotic barometers that teachers hate and parents loathe.
Joe Beckmann April 15, 2014 at 11:30 am
While it's refreshing that you know about the colonial foundation, and your observations about theRead More Dutch system are interesting (actually it's the Finnish system with the highest scores, until, at least, the Chinese really get into it). But my view of public education is Horace Mann's (neither British nor Dutch, nor colonial). The justification for public funds for education is to create a public - a community with some common skills (largely interpersonal and career, less academic and data driven). That means that public schools are a public investment to assure all generations that the youngest can join a culture of success. This "magic" of school choice merely re-frames the segregation of pre-civil rights with a penumbra of "individual rights," a false kind of consumerism. In fact, there has always been "school choice," and private and parochial schools have always offered an option to those who either paid or took vows. For that matter, I personally think Secretary Duncan is one of the worst possible representatives of "educational change," and that testing, while a worthwhile means of documenting curricular impact, is an abysmal means to "evaluate students." Any 7 year old now knows that any standardized question is online via google, and dismisses the utility of putting such junk in their head. They're not all right, but...they're not all wrong either.
Steven Sadowski April 15, 2014 at 04:01 pm
Joe: It is a half truth that educational choice exists in this country. Property taxes are taken,Read More whether you send your kids to private school, or homeschool. You have zero choice to pay property taxes. If you don't, your home goes to land court and you lose your home. It is coercion. A regular family is stuck sending their kids to the town's public school because they can't afford to eat the taxes AND pay tuition. Instead, only the top earners can afford to pay the town "vig." and send their kids to a private school on top of that. The private schools then have to charge a higher tuition since they have to make budget through higher prices as opposed to higher numbers/volume. This in turn creates a viscous cycle of only the rich being able to attend private schools and further cements a caste system of elitism based on income. Furthermore, where one lives can determine where one ends up in life. A student, for example, on the Lawrence/Andover line could have an entirely different existence depending upon their zip code. I am luck we live in Westford, but I could have easily lived in Chelmsford. Same area, different schools. There should be a voucher system so that parents could send their kids wherever best fit their needs. I think your way f public education creates segregation, not the other way around, because the rich tony towns have their great schools and the poor towns are stuck, unless they can have a Charter school, but those are sometimes given by lottery. I agree that testing is not a good metric for evaluating students en masse. In the classroom to insure you know the material, yes, but as a blanket test to determine compliance or aptitude, no.
File photo.
commonsense March 16, 2014 at 05:17 pm
Fred, Do you think the changes will make it less biased? If not, what do you recommend as anRead More alternative?
deb of see-attleboro March 16, 2014 at 05:24 pm
According to his Patch profile, he is chairman of the Foxborough Democratic Town Committee. NoRead More mention of teaching. Reading his comments, I hope I am wrong about that.
Kathleen March 17, 2014 at 10:17 am
Obviously Dennis hasn't been reading the local newspapers. Is he even remotely familiar with what isRead More currently going on in neighboring Salem MA with the Bentley school? There's an example for you. The school is a Level 4 under performing school that is in it's second year of a three year turnaround program with not much success. (Next step would be for the state to come in and take over the school). It's to the point where the Mayor now wants to contract with a private company to have them take over the day-to-day management of the school. Despite lengthening the school day, revamping the school schedule, seeking outside help and securing a $500,000 federal grant, MCAS scores have actually gone down (during the 'turnaround') under the current administration. To make matters worse, the school has been without a principal since December due to the current principal being out on an extended family medical leave. Seems to me that this is a perfect example of our public schools failing our children. Does the fact that the school has one of the highest percentages of poor & limited English speaking students make it OK with him to just sit around and let the school fail these kids? You only get ONE chance with a child's education. These kids deserve better!
Patch file photo
John Teets April 22, 2014 at 01:14 pm
DynoMutt said - "By the way Mr. Hunt, MLK Jr. espoused hard work andRead More responsibility/accountability and stable families for blacks in the US." Unfortunately, Mr. King (he plagiarized his doctoral thesis) was a serial adulterer just like many young men now - so stable families? Hardly. I agree he said some good things, but a man is better evaluated based upon what he DOES, not based upon what he SAYS. His life spoke so loudly it reallt is hard to take anything he said as authentic. I mean, he even stole the "Dream" speech.
commonsense April 22, 2014 at 05:15 pm
Janine, My cable show is out of Beverly, MA. It is called "What's Happening". We are notRead More yet on Youtube, but coming soon.
commonsense April 22, 2014 at 05:17 pm
We are going to be doing more shows on Common Core soon. For information on CC, look on the PioneerRead More Institute website. It is very informative and will give you reasons to fight against CC and PARCC testing.
Tina Mqs February 27, 2014 at 02:11 pm
now *THATS* what we need to see here! thanks!
Brenda February 27, 2014 at 04:42 pm
Natick parents cared about the 2 school meetings this week, which Patch ignored and did not cover.Read More We do NOT care that Wilmington is getting a new high school! How about some school news that is actually happening in Natick?
Heizenburg February 27, 2014 at 05:54 pm
What's in Nebraska? You are!✈️
Boston College. Photo Credit: Boston College
Linda Kollett February 27, 2014 at 09:00 am
Why did you use BC when Williams is number 1 and of course in Massachusetts?
Laura February 27, 2014 at 09:41 am
Maura, you're right - it is now a picture of Gasson Hall. But the picture that was originally postedRead More with the article was St Ignatius Church. The editor, Liz Taurazi, changed it to an on-campus picture in response to my post. And Linda, I'm a big fan of BC (my husband worked there for many years and my son graduated from there), I'm also confused why they didn't choose a picture of Williams or one of the other top-four schools.....??
Maura Kenney February 27, 2014 at 09:46 am
Laura, good point!
Sunny February 26, 2014 at 05:43 pm
I don't want anymore 40B housing in Chelmsford on Littleton Rd. There are too apartment dwellingsRead More (one burnt down to ground even though the fire station was less than a mile away), condos, and trailer park (sorry that taxes as permanent housing). Now, Chelmsford Crossing (40B) is in the future. Who's going to live there? Not Chelmsford senior citizens on the waiting list or layoff Chelmsford citizens but outsiders? Problem families with troubled kids. Chelmsford should get assigned social worker. Note: Westford / Chelmsford town line is another 40B, Princeton Apartments.
Steven Sadowski February 27, 2014 at 08:09 am
Bob: I think this is a fair article that takes in both of our POV's:Read More http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/business/21admin.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
John f caruso February 27, 2014 at 11:33 am
Does this mean that if any kid feels like he is bullied he can get suspended and we pay them to goRead More to school even at home. Does this that the total of kids say 100 in a district the school get the monies for their education but if the kids drop out of this also who gets the monies. Sounds like unfounded and back door tax payers tax on the monies. Sounds like say a school in boston that is mismanaged by management could reap profits when and if the students rebel and don't go to school. This sounds great but seems just another way to tax the taxpayer after all the poor people do not have the monies to tax so it is another middle class sham.
Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Jill Maxwell February 12, 2014 at 09:08 am
I see now that way down in graf 7 it says there will be a SAMPLE of students. I think that thisRead More information should have been in the lede. You know, the part where it lists the FIVE schools involved.
Matt Schooley (Editor) February 12, 2014 at 09:38 am
Apologies on the four versus five confusion. I had originally missed one on the list when puttingRead More the story on the site and added it to the list in the story. However, I mistakenly did not correct the headline. Sorry for the confusion!
Scott Smyers February 14, 2014 at 01:19 pm
This is a great example of the inherent problems with Common Core/PARCC. Which students willRead More "volunteer" to take two sets of standardized tests? This lucky "sample" of students will certainly give it their all?! I expect these scores will follow them in spite of what parents are told. Some will take the test on paper and others on computer systems. I'll venture to predict that we'll need to upgrade some computer systems for all students in the near future (probably many times). How much will that cost us? According to my research, the state authorities claim no extra cost. We now know that was very, very incorrect (a deliberate lie to us the parents). Plus, all the mandatory teacher evaluation paperwork that has now required NEW adiministrative positions at every elementary school. Although I don't like MCAS in the first place, Common Core/PARCC is going to be much worse simply because we will lose most control of our local curriculum/frameworks to an even more distant authority. In other words, our teachers and schools are losing control of what they are allowed to teach. Until now, the authority we gave up was at the state level, but now the it is going to the Feds. In education, one size does not fit all. Our students are not test-subjects for educational testing companies/Common Core nobles. It isn't too late to take back the local schools, but the longer we wait, the harder it will become.
The three finalists to be Acton-Boxborough's next Superintendent of Schools will participate in public interviews this Saturday, Jan. 25, at RJ Grey Jr. High.
Allen Nitschelm January 22, 2014 at 08:19 pm
I've written a series of articles on Acton Forum about one of the candidates not having the minimumRead More qualifications to be considered for this position, and questioning the circumstances of her appointment to her current post in the AB schools. I was looking forward to showing up on Saturday to ask a few direct questions, but it now seems that "members of the public" will not be allowed to ask questions directly of the candidates. What does that say about transparency and public participation? Why should anybody bother to show up? Why go through a public process if the public will be restricted from participating? Since only School Committee members get to vote, and the public is effectively being silenced (they can come to witness, that's it) then the public's attendance is really meaningless. Well, this type of behavior is really par for the course for our School Committee. Let's see if they end up going with the inside candidate after casting the proverbial "nationwide search."