There’s a sad mischaracterization being exploited about Greenwich and its public school system regarding diversity.
Greenwich is a diverse community and residents not only embrace diversity by living here, but also generously donate time and money to help those less fortunate.
Greenwich’s school system has been cited again for racial imbalance, a Connecticut statute whose constitutionality is in question. However, the school system is actually in compliance with the statute because New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue are magnet schools, therefore defined as “unique schools” and exempt from the law.
The Board of Education should now be excited to focus on implementing effective programs and strategies at the named schools which increase academic achievement i.e., longer school days, longer academic school years, parental involvement, higher expectations of students and frequent feedback. Additionally, supplemental programs coordinated with private organizations would be a win-win for students.
But the majority of the Board believes the magic bullet to closing the achievement gap is racial and socio-economic integration. The cornerstone of this questionable plan shifts the educational responsibility to students and families, and assumes non-minority middle income and affluent students achieve better than their lower socio-economic minority peers. Therefore, by simple exposure to intelligent students and families, an academically challenged child will perform better in school. This plan has organically been in place in our school system for years, yet the achievement gap in Greenwich has persisted.
Obviously the next logical step would be to eliminate the successful Advanced Learning Program since students should not be segregated with their intellectual peers, but should be mainstreamed to help educate and enrich their peers.
The questionable “choice” proposal underway is expensive and will siphon funds from other schools. For every successful result under this proposal, there are ten under the proven method of teaching challenged learners.
Why would the board pursue yet another unsuccessful plan?
Unfortunately, education has become a political hotbed and a profitable
business. It’s become about what is best for the adults first, children second.
As we say in business, “When it’s not about the money, it’s always about the money.”