On Tuesday, August 29, 2023, US News & World Report released its 2023 rankings of High Schools, revealing a further decline in Amity’s ranking compared to other Connecticut high schools—a decline that is both significant and alarming.
Amity High School ranked 39th among the high schools in the state of Connecticut.
Amity’s prior rankings in US News & World Report reveal this downward trend as the school was 1st in 2014, 26th in 2021, and 28th in 2022. And now 39th in 2023.
The Amity Board of Education and the Superintendent need to be held accountable for these results and for their failure to maintain excellence in academics.
As I’ve often mentioned in previous 'Public Comments' during Amity Board of Education meetings, the Superintendent and the Board instituted DEI in 2019 without Board approval, thus violating school policy P9132.3, “It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to establish and approve curricula for the District.” The Board has also violated Policy P9271, which under Code of Ethics/Code of Conduct for Board members indicate they should be staunch advocates of high-quality public education, keeping in mind the best interests of all Connecticut children.
During those meetings, I've cited the research from what is now a robust empirical literature that has shown DEI ineffective, counterproductive and a cause of additional harm.
Using DEI’s definitions and its approach to training people, there are decades of research showing that many of the problems that DEI is supposed to help mitigate continue to persist or grow worse. The actions of the Board and the Superintendent have resulted in the sinking of Amity’s ranking to a new low. While this latest ranking speaks to the decline of academics as a result of DEI, in addition, Superintendent Jennifer Byars herself admits that the school culture has not improved as a result of the DEI curriculum, saying, "The environment of anti-Semitism & racism has not improved in the last 3 years."
Our goal has always been to elect people to the Board of education who can better represent our opposition to the indoctrination of our children with the ideologically-driven DEI Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and who can also hold them accountable for their fiscal irresponsibility in managing the school’s budget.
Please support Bruce Marien and Daniel del Prete from Woodbridge, or Dana Lombardi, Cathy Bradley, Mike McDonough from Orange, or Donna Schlank from Bethany. These community members are candidates for the Regional Board of Education election that will take place on Tuesday, November 7th .
There are two other developments that will also help us reach our goal. There is now a state statute proposal to legislate the removal of ideological indoctrination in our Connecticut public schools, and along with State Representatives and other concerned citizens across the state, we will be vigorously advocating for its passage in Connecticut’s 2024 legislative elections.
In addition, we have been working together with like-minded community members in Guilford in the formation of the General Educational Council of Connecticut (GECC) so that the 169 towns and cities in Connecticut can share resources in ridding schools of this curriculum and the Superintendents that support them. Somers and Easton have already successfully accomplished that. Guilford, Greenwich, Stamford, Hamden, Hartford, and others have been sharing many similar experiences.
This trend needs to be reversed and these curricula removed. It is not about what political party you belong to. It's not about being a liberal vs. conservative. It is about supporting teachers who don't want to include this ideology when they teach as it takes up valuable lesson time and/or conflicts with their own ideas about education. Last year, 1,000 teachers withdrew from their state teacher's union because of the union's endorsement of DEI, and 20 teachers left Amity High school. Most importantly, it is about doing what's best for our children and grandchildren, keeping them safe, challenging them academically, and respecting parental rights to raise their children as they see fit.
I hope you will join me.