• SHERR: Why Can’t Greenwich Superintendent Jones Run Schools?

    December 18, 2023
    Peter Sherr.

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    Submitted by Peter Sherr

    Here's my speech from the BOE meeting on December 14, 2023:


    Good Evening Greenwich Board of Education Members.

    My only credibility in your 2025 Budget discussion is I sat in your chair for 12 straight BoE budgets, so I know a thing or two about school budgets.

    My kids got an amazing education in Greenwich Schools. Truly first rate. They attend or attended the finest and most selective universities on the planet.

    The excellence that my kids enjoyed was built over decades by committed engaged Boards of Education. It was an amazing community legacy.

    Sadly, the school system that educated my kids isn’t the one educating Greenwich kids today. It is slowly being dumbed down. Parents need to get informed and stand up if they want the same excellence.

    I want to give you five numbers to consider.

    300

    19.7

    3

    567

    33

    Ten years ago, these numbers were the reality of Greenwich Public Schools.

    300. Greenwich Schools had 300 MORE students than today.

    19.7. The average elementary class size was 19.7. The elementary class size today is 19.7

    3. There were 3 Advanced Learning Programs (English, Math and Science) in ALL elementary schools. Fully staffed. Full amount of allotted classroom time.

    567 is the mean student SAT score in 2014. 567 is the mean SAT score today.

    33. Most important. The educational program was delivered with 33 LESS teachers than Superintendent Toni Jones proposed in her 2024/25 Budget.

    300, 19.7, 3, 33, 567.

    How is it possible that the 2014 Superintendent and team could deliver the entire educational program with 33 LESS certified teachers with 300 MORE kids? Dr. Jones is saying she can’t.

    Anticipating the political smoke machine that will object to these facts, parents might well think something else was different. You’d be wrong.

    33 percent of the student population was minority in 2014. Exact same percentage now.

    5.5 percent were English Language Learners in 2014. Exact same percentage now.

      Teacher pay then, highest in Connecticut. Today, still the highest is Connecticut.

      Sadly, overall academic achievement in English, Math and Science, same performance now as then.

      Net-net, in 2014, there were MORE students, LESS Teachers, SAME Demographics, SAME Academic
      Performance, and FULL ALP PROGRAM, FULL Elementary Spanish, and FULL PE Program.

      The only thing different is a different Central Office Leadership Team and a different Board of Education.

      I’ll let you figure that one out.

      Parents should be very upset. Superintendent Jones draws attention to “red herring” cuts so you’ll dutifully come to meetings and scream at town officials. You are being duped as pawns in a silly political game of deflection and misinformation.

      Greenwich Teachers and School Staff are amazing.

      They are not the issue. You should pull out your pitchforks (metaphorically speaking) and demand, from the Superintendent and Board, the school system Greenwich enjoyed for decades.

      Oh…and Merry Christmas.

      Peter Sherr is Greenwich parent, former Chairman and 12-year member of the Board of Education.

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