• Stamford Board Of Education Gets Tangled Up In Shakespeare

    Drawing of Hamlet act 3, scene 2—the play-within-the-play variously called "The Murther of Gonzago" and "The Mousetrap"—in Otho Stuart's production at the Adelphi Theatre in 1905. (Public Domain.)

    By Cort Wrotnowski

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    The proper murder of this Shakespearean reference goes like this:  “Methinks the Stamford Board of Education doth protest too much.”  The original line was spoken by Prince Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, in Act 3, Scene 2 of Hamlet.  She was speaking of the Player Queen who put a lot of energy into claiming she was a moral and chaste woman by (overpromising) love and fidelity.  The implication was that a FALLEN woman would pretend to be a moral woman.  Now we get to talk about a FALLEN board of education pretending to be a moral board of education.

    The Stamford Board of Education version involves a comment made in an editorial by a fellow board member, Becky Hamman.  She suggested the Board is engaged in a cover-up over its refusal to account for the large disparity between low test scores and high graduation rates.  She had written an editorial for the Connecticut Examiner in which she complained that the Board had not made any accounting of the  disparity between test scores and graduation rates. It is a legitimate question.  This started the tempest on the Board of Education. 

    The editor for the Connecticut Examiner, Gregory Stroud, was quick to defend Hamman.  His defense included:  1)  Her first amendment rights, 2) The freedom of the (lazy, self-righteous) board members to write their own op-ed pieces, and 3)  Becky has a point.  The Board DOES need to account for its conduct.

    So, what does the Board do?  Shoot the messenger, of course.  It wants to censure Hamman for suggesting the Board was engaged in a cover-up.  Her original op-ed in The Connecticut Centinal provided a lot of facts demanding explanation, which are reproduced here:

    Student Achievement

    Achievement scores have not improved over a 10-year period in the SPS

    • Only 7 out of 23 schools have shown consistent growth
    • SBAC District English Language Arts, grade 3-8, scores of proficient or higher have dropped from 40.6 in 2021-2022 to 37.8 in 2022-2023
    • The 2022-2023 Connecticut State Department of Education District Profile & Performance Report/Summative Assessments (out of 100, state target = 75, Gr. 3-8 & 11*).  SPS performance levels for ELA = 58.5; Mathematics = 54.4; and Science* = 56.0
    • The 2022-2023 Connecticut 11th & 12th graders Demonstrating Post Secondary Readiness (DPSR)—based on SAT, ACT, AP or IB exams = 44.3.  SPS performance level = 37.4

    There also seems to be mixed messages coming from Central Office when the number of Stamford Public School students graduating far exceeds the number of students performing at grade level.  Why the cover-up?

    That’s right Stamford Board of Education Chairwoman, Jackie Heftman. Why the cover-up.?  The parents of Stamford have been held hostage long enough by a bunch of incompetent people who insist on substandard academic performance.

    Unfortunately, there are two groups ensuring continuing educational mediocrity in Stamford.  The first is the group on the Stamford Board of Education trying to censure Hamman.  The second is her so-called Republican colleagues who are nowhere to be found.  First up is the Stamford RTC Chair, Joe Andreanna.  Where are you?  The feckless and shameful cowardice you show is unacceptable. Mr. Larobina, a supposed fellow Republican, is still hiding under a chair somewhere.  Mr. Esses, does he even count because he appears to be a closet Democrat?

    So, who is going to stand up and push back against the campaign of educational failure?  

    Thankfully, some parents have finally found the courage to fight. Stay tuned.

    Cort Wrotnowski is the Chairman of the Greater Education Council of Connecticut (greatereducationcouncilofct.org)

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