Article

‘SITUATIONS’ AT REID CONTINUE TO PUT EDUCATION IN ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ SITUATION

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION MAY 17-9, 2019) — What’s going on at Reid and Herberg Middle Schools, Reid especially?

The school has 546 students and 54 teachers for a 10:1 ratio. Average teacher’s salary in Pittsfield is $76,981 plus bennies, putting it third in the entire state, although the district is 34th in size (source, teacherportal.com). The good teachers have been overwhelmed by out-of-control students and lack of administrative backing. The bad teachers are painting by the numbers, trying to hang on to collect 80% of their salaries at 55 years of age.

THE PLANET‘s recent series on incidents at Reid were duly noted inside those halls. One source told THE PLANET of several more incidents of “intimidation,” including one where a student, called out for not having completed assignments, allegedly threatened the teacher with a knife. That was after language that would make a trucker blush. Nothing was done. The kid remains in class, learning nothing and preventing others from learning. Another “situation” allegedly occurred after a teacher “said something” about the inappropriate dress of several female students — short shorts, falling out of the top of blouses, underwear showing. One of the girls spit in her face. Another threatened violence. The girls allowed to remain in class.

———- ooo ———-

There has been no official confirmation of these incidents. Officially, they didn’t happen. It’s nearly impossible to get administration officials to comment. They ignore queries unless it’s from a “friendly source” that broadcast or publish only official information — how great the classroom environment is, how test scores are improving, how bullying doesn’t exist, how there is a dire need for additional staff and millions more in the budget.

Administratively, Reid is a mess. There’s no principal. Dean of students Kerri Carlson occupies the office on an interim basis. The school has a vice principal (Dennis Carr), an assistant principal (Michael Henault), and the usual gang of administrative support staff.  Supt. Jake “JIV” McCandless and school committee chairwoman Kathy Yon “preside” over them. This information tells its own story in response to THE PLANET‘s opening question. Teachers are hung out to dry, reporting daily to classrooms that have become a mix of day care, battleground, and psychiatric ward.

Academically, Reid ranks near the bottom statewide although it’s near the top in the coveted category of “diversity,” with nearly half of its students non-white. We leave it to the armchair sociologists to explain what, if anything, that might portend. Under such chaotic conditions, teaching cannot happen. Learning is nearly impossible. Educating remains a fantasy. And yet …

… and yet, McCandless, Yon, and the other officials escape, unaccountable for their abject failure.

They have the perfect system:

  1. In the election, suppress candidacies for the school committee to
  2. Ensure compliant members who won’t rock the boat. This will
  3. Keep in place hand-picked administrators who are
  4. Rewarded on the basis of keeping the “status quo,” which is failure. They will
  5. Pretend that “Education,” that noblest guarantor of a decent future, will occur yet
  6. Encourage failure because that brings in more personnel and millions more in money.

Follow the money.

Follow the power.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

————————————————————————————————————————–

“The world when I was young was a solid world”Bertrand Russell.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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110 Responses to “‘SITUATIONS’ AT REID CONTINUE TO PUT EDUCATION IN ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ SITUATION”

  1. Mr. X
    May 17, 2019 at 3:09 am #

    DPW Superintendant Ostrader will be fired today…they should send Turoucy with him.

    • Brian C. Marquis
      May 17, 2019 at 5:11 am #

      I grew up with Danny Ostrander. What happened?

    • danvalenti
      May 17, 2019 at 7:50 am #

      MR X
      The department is in chaos.

      • Herb Pease
        May 17, 2019 at 10:43 am #

        Those type of situations don’t happen overnight .

  2. Pat
    May 17, 2019 at 4:09 am #

    So sad what is happening at Reid. It was my favorite school. I attended when it was called North Junior High School. Principal Reid, who the school is now named after, was a great man who walked the halls of the school everyday and had the respect of all the students. He made sure his presence was known to all of the students. He was stern, but also had a sense of humor. He would NOT have tolerated what is going on in this school today.

    Why is there no principal in this school?

  3. Thomas More
    May 17, 2019 at 4:24 am #

    Teachers do not get 80% retirement at age 55.

    • Shakes
      May 17, 2019 at 5:30 am #

      Maybe the Planet, Pat, Mr. Fritz, and the other pro-whitey posters on this blog can adopt a bunch of unwanted white babies and Make Pittsfield Great Again?

      • Spagirl
        May 17, 2019 at 5:55 am #

        Shakes
        This is no joke about this School Administration’s failure. McCandless should lose his job along with the other responsible parties who have failed the teachers and children in Pittsfield Schools. These disrespectful juvenile delinquents that have violent behavior need to be removed permanently. Black, White, or otherwise.

        • SHAUN
          May 17, 2019 at 6:44 am #

          LIKE

        • Spider
          May 17, 2019 at 10:52 am #

          Right on, Spagirl!

      • danvalenti
        May 17, 2019 at 7:49 am #

        SHAKES
        It is you, my good friend, who have made my comments into something they’re not. “Pro-whitey?” Seriously. Your remark exemplifies how those of strident political leanings, left or right, try to turn everything that mentions demographics into a “racist” thing.

        • SHAKES
          May 17, 2019 at 8:33 am #

          Academically, Reid ranks near the bottom statewide although it’s near the top in the coveted category of “diversity,” with nearly half of its students non-white. We leave it to the armchair sociologists to explain what, if anything, that might portend.

          Hard to take this remark, even in greater context, as anything but correlating poor academic performance with statistically significant diversity.

          My problem is, even if you have some more sophisticated reasoning behind a blatantly close-minded statement, is that most people do not. They read your comment and nod their heads in agreement with your supposed correlation.

          The FACT is that significant levels of non-white students have zero causation for poor academic performance.

          • danvalenti
            May 17, 2019 at 4:19 pm #

            SHAKES
            But that’s exactly what “progressives” do when they makes remarks such as yours. When “progressives” point out how the so-called rich schools are predominantly white, and when they demand more money for underperforming schools with heavy minority presence, they ARE correlating performance with diversity. I do not do that. That I point out the factual makeup of Reid is to condemn the very point of which you accuse me. I admit, it’s a subtle point, but one I think my readers including yourself are capable of grasping.

      • Pat
        May 17, 2019 at 9:48 am #

        I won’t be called racist for suggesting that a strong presence is needed in the schools….I don’t care what race the principal is, but we need a strong principal who sends the message that discipline will be enforced in our school and kids will behave while in school regardless of what race they happen to be!!! Just like Principal Reid did while I was a student in that school.

        You name call, Shakes, but have no solutions.

        • shakes
          May 17, 2019 at 10:19 am #

          Oh I have plenty of solutions, but I put my kids in schools that don’t have Pittsfield problems. Read my below post about diversity in my kid’s high school. They also do not have some sort of retarded strict dress code because there is no causation between discipline and academic performance.

          • UAlbany
            May 17, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

            eeeks – you used the word retarded…..bad bad bad

          • Acute Angina
            May 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

            Are you anti whitey?

          • Pat
            May 18, 2019 at 5:22 am #

            We are not talking about discipline and academic performance. We are talking about discipline and good behavior in the school system.

        • The school committee
          May 19, 2019 at 3:15 pm #

          This is what Ed Reform brought us.It is the result of not progressives but late eighties conservative destruction of the public school system in America. Anyone who even casually followed this issue can see what was accomplished as the right feared Japan .The right always fears everything.Their response is always that it is unions.Nope not the unions it is the regressive conservative radical right who have destroyed America.

  4. CC The Maze Sun
    May 17, 2019 at 5:57 am #

    Such is the modern state of the teenage mind, after the mind wipe being kept in the Game.

    “All and all is just A-nother brick in The WALL”
    “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding”
    “HOW CAN YOU HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DON’T EAT YOUR MEAT?”

  5. Dave
    May 17, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    I foresee SAT scores in Pittsfield breaking records soon due to the new adversity factor index. Pittsfield students should qualify for most of the benefits. My question is how long before JIV and the school committee take credit for these increased scores?

    • LoneGunMan
      May 17, 2019 at 9:02 am #

      I’m sure that letter to the state complaining about the MCAS question will fix these issues and pull those scores up, right?

      They were so up in arms about a freaking question that put you into the perspective of another person, that they are essentially blaming it for a plethora of students who are going to fail.

      You fail McCandless
      You Fail Yon
      You Fail Cutler
      you Fail Elias
      Etc
      Etc
      Etc

  6. Mr. G
    May 17, 2019 at 6:13 am #

    Your “diversity” crack above leads me to ask, to confirm, that you DO believe that non-white students can learn; that race is not the deciding factor in behavioral issues and ultimately in school performance issues, right?

    C’mon people. I’ve been preaching for years that all people, despite race, political party, income or any other factor, agree on 95%+ of everything. EVERYONE wants a better life for their children; that’s just one thing. I have worked in near-homogenous white schools where the same stuff you describe above happens. There are also many successful well-diversified schools.

    We agree on the root of the problem though. Parents are letting their kids down by not establishing and enforcing rules and boundaries; essentially relying on the schools to raise their kids. The schools are bloated with management, too many chiefs and probably too many Indians too, working on a 19th century delivery model in the 21st century! The fixes aren’t easy, but they sure are necessary.

    • danvalenti
      May 17, 2019 at 7:46 am #

      MR G
      In answer to your question, “Good heavens, Yes, a million times.” The comment was misunderstood and misinterpreted, something that could have been predicted given how race has become a socio-cultural flashpoint. We reported something the school and district itself has broadcast: Reid is 47% non-white. As we said in the column, we shall leave it to others to say what, if anything, that means. To us, it remains a neutral factor. Not to the district, though, which will use that figure to its monetary advantage. Your final paragraph nails it. The root of the problem is poor parenting and a bloated, disinterested school administration. As we wrote, the middle-school classroom today as exemplified by Reid and Herberg is not a place for learning. It is a place for day care, combat, and acting out of mental conditions.

      • Harrison
        May 17, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

        DV, not sure it why it was even included. Not really relevant.

  7. Kermit Frog
    May 17, 2019 at 6:35 am #

    I didn’t like that comment either.

    To be honest I see many more trashy and tough white girls and boys around Pittsfield than brown girls or boys.

    Re the rest of the post:

    Has no one who works for PSD or the City ever had a job anywhere else? The dumb problems they get themselves into that you think if they ever had a job in a reputable place they would know better. If there is a dress code issue why not tell the principal and get them to enforce it? Why would a teacher get involved? I’m guessing because none of the 7-8 admin staff on site do anything. FIRE THEM.

    Also, if the elementary schools are pushing kids out when only 1/2 of them can read and write it would come to a head in middle school as they are rushed with what they don’t know. If they try to say that behavior is why they can’t teach in elementary school, I would say they are rotten teachers. And by the way – I think 70% of the PSD staff are rotten and useless. When I was elementary school if anyone swore or gave the bird the principal would call home. The teachers aren’t afraid of the kids they are afraid of the political repurchasing of doing their jobs as it’s probably another teacher’s kids getting told off as much as any diversity kids. Get rid of the schools that have growth less than a 4 – no progress is no teaching. Or teachers – especially those in elementary schools that aren’t meeting targets. There is no damn excuse and any adult afraid of a 9 year old should get another damn job.

    • O captain my captain
      May 17, 2019 at 9:13 am #

      I used to live down the road from a teacher who taught at Reid. Only teacher job he has, and ever will have more than likely. Its hard to improve yourself when you’re set for life and stagnate professionally.

      He would be home routinely before my kids even got home from PHS, which got out much earlier than Reid. How is this possible unless he would skip out on last block. I thought all teachers stayed late to grade papers/help students.

      I’ve heard stories of the behemoth adjustment counselor sitting in meetings texting on her phone while her stupid duck ringtone goes off, essentially ignoring the meeting and parents.

      That’s the kind of teachers in our district. I refuse to follow the liberal narrative as to why our schools are garbage. Any teacher who jumped ship to another district will tell you the difference… and it’s not money

      • Thomas More
        May 18, 2019 at 6:16 am #

        You hear stories and you post them here. You’re the neighborhood busybody who keeps his eye on every house and starts rumors. O captain my captain your street is so lucky to have you.

        • LoneGunMan
          May 18, 2019 at 8:10 am #

          I witness things with my own eyes, and know my neighbors.

          Not really a busybody when you are in your yard and you see your neighbor getting home at 1pm on a Wednesday.

          • Thomas More
            May 18, 2019 at 9:28 am #

            Are you a neighbor of O captain my captain or how many silly names do you have?

          • TinyTim
            May 19, 2019 at 6:15 am #

            At least 8

  8. Shakes
    May 17, 2019 at 6:59 am #

    My kid goes to a top 10 NATIONALLY ranked high school. It is publicly funded and operated by a school district with over 15,000 students.

    The student body is very diverse – 26% of the student body is non-white (compared to 19% of the county).The student body is disproportionately 56% female.

    #1 SAT and ACT average scores in a county of almost a million people. #2 average SAT score statewide. Each graduating class of about 110 students averages over $7,000,000 in scholarship awards.

    Impoverished and students of color are failed by the PPS administration, they are not the problem the administration must solve.

  9. Reignbow
    May 17, 2019 at 7:12 am #

    After hearing all of the nonsense and many serious incidents on Third Thursday (and it was more than a few) it might be worth considering doing science ntiuing)Third Thursday,the lemon isn’t worth the squeeze. The accident with the Vendor will be a major lawsuit,trust me.

    • Merry & Bright
      May 17, 2019 at 7:44 am #

      So Wynn stated in one article that there was difficulty getting fire and equipment to the accident scene. Seems to be there should have been a pre-emergency plan set in place for all Third Thursday potential accidents. He also stated that “it’s one of the issues we’ve identified”. Well if the PPD knew about it, why did they not fix it? Why did an accident like this have to happen before he admitted he knew there was a potential it might happen? Agree with Reighbow, here comes another Pittsfleld law suit, and I feel this is because the Chief is not doing his job. Hope accident victim mends soon.

    • Thomas More
      May 18, 2019 at 6:19 am #

      What’s ntiuing?

  10. Brian C. Marquis
    May 17, 2019 at 7:24 am #

    The problem with education to-day is not teachers or school administrators. The problem is politics.

    What do I mean by that? Well, let’s assume little Johnny or Jane is asked to remove his or her hat upon entering class. S/he resist on the first request; a second request goes out asking s/he to remove his/ her hat. Again, s/he resist. But this time not only does the student resist but it’s followed up by a few choice, vulgar expletives. So, in response to the student’s disobedience, his/ her teacher imposes a consequence, such as after-school detention. Then your disobedient student dashes out the door, w/o teacher approval. So, his/her teacher imposes a second consequence, to wit, a second night of after-school detention.

    Taking this scenario a step further, Johnny or Jane goes home that night and complains to mom and dad that teacher is picking on him/ her just because of s/he’s refusal to remove his/her headgear (which violates districtwide policy).

    Now this is where it becomes tricky. Instead of mom and dad explaining to Johnny or Jane the rules of districtwide policy regarding headgear in classes, one or both reaches out to a school committee member who’s up for re-election in a couple of months (and possibly a staunch supporter of one or a few committee members). With that in mind . . . .

    What would you expect the outcome to be? Well, that committee member mom or dad reached out to places a nasty call to the McCanless; who in turn reaches out to Reid’s principal; who in return reprimands his/her teacher, just for enforcing districtwide policy, and trying to maintain a semblance of order and a uniformed classroom structure.

    The final outcome is Johnny or Jane now returns to school with a holier than thou attitude, thinking s/he can do or say anything without reprimand or consequences, all because mom or dad reached out to a politician(s) to override a districtwide policy in favor of protecting Johnny or Jane from the big bad classroom teacher.

    Get the picture?

    • Shakes
      May 17, 2019 at 7:51 am #

      Why have district-wide policies that create these sort of needless confrontations that have nothing to do with learning?

      • Brian C. Marquis
        May 17, 2019 at 8:01 am #

        Because it’s politics. Politics trumps all. Learning is secondary to politics.

        And that’s the bottom-line!

        • Brian C. Marquis
          May 17, 2019 at 11:19 am #

          No only do educators teach the basics fundamentals to reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also they instill respect for rules, procedures, and policies.

          Students, like teachers, are governed by rules & policies they must conform to in order to ensure the physical safety and emotional security of all actors in a institutional environment. Obedience, conformity, and compliance are necessary to teaching our school-aged children about how to become respectful citizens.

          Addressing the hat scenario is anecdotal to larger measures that seek to instill obedience (to authority), conformity (to group norms), and compliance (to rules, procedures, and policies) among school-aged children.. It we fail that scenario, it becomes a slippery slope from thereafter.

          Remember, the brain’s primary function is to produce behaviours. That’s it!!

          Perhaps students are disaffected with school; perhaps they’re bored or failing outside a district’s one-size-fits-all learning structure.Students learn differently, by differing styles under differing conditions. It’s all science-based, and available to educators and policy-makers alike.

          You can’t expect a newly graduated poli-sci major from UMass Amherst, who runs and wins a seat on the Pittsfield School Committee, to comprehend this or even grasp the importance of its scientific importance.

          And that’s the bottom-line!!

          • Reignbow
            May 17, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

            No Brian,that’s the top line, the top line of your rap doesn’t begin with the right grammar…No ?…Daaaaan!

          • Brian C. Marquis
            May 20, 2019 at 4:55 am #

            Typo.

            But thanks for pointing that out so eloquently. You (Regnbow) must a product of the Pittsfield school system.

            I’m also guessing respectful responses is not your strongest point? Exactly!!

    • Truthsayer
      May 17, 2019 at 8:35 am #

      There are three problems in education today.

      1) Parents who spend too much time being buddies instead of parents. They fail to hold their child to any standard. They fail to discipline their children. They fail to sit down and spend time with their children to find out what they’re doing in school, trying to help, and trying to impress upon their children the value of education. Instead, when their failings as parents finally burst like a pustule, they blame teacher and the administrators instead of themselves. When there are no consequences at home for failing to get good grades or bad behavior, kids do what they want. And now we have a D.A. who isn’t going to do anything about teenage miscreants.

      2) Politicians. Instead of insisting on efficiency, on results, on justification for budgets, they fail to hold administrators or themselves as politicians responsible for the failure of education in a community. Politicians spend too much time kissing ass to keep their jobs instead of doing the very jobs they were elected to do.

      3) Taxpayers. Once our own kids have used the schools and are out on their own, we comlain about how much it costs in taxes to keep schools funded. Civics 101. Democracy is shared responsibility. We all whine about our tax bills, and rightfully so.. Yet, we want services and should be able to get them without being taxed to death. Taxes are necessary, but it’s up to the politicians that we elect to control costs by spending money wisely and not throwing it down a rabbit hole. Unfortunately, we seem to have more rabbit holes these days and that’s pretty much due to ass-kissing politicians buying votes because blowing money on a wasteful but colorful project that gets your name in the paper and helps you get reelected is more important than spending money sensibly.

      When a company looks to move to a city, it looks at a lot of factors. The quality of the schools that its employees will use is important because the company wants employees and their families to be attracted to the jobs that are being offered and to encourage newbies to move into the community.

      It’s simply time to hold our elected officials feet to the fire, close up the rabbit holes, streamline administration to fewer people, and focus on sensible and efficient spending.

      And certainly, nothing Dan has said would indicate that any of this has to do with economic status or race.

      We fix this by demanding better.

      • Two Cents
        May 18, 2019 at 6:23 am #

        AMEN!

      • Annebelle
        May 28, 2019 at 11:50 am #

        So if a person pulls a knife ,that is brandishing a weapon and menacing ,spitting on a person can be considered assault. Why don’t the teachers call the police and file charges personally. If nothing is done break out the lawsuits of hostel work environment and or sue the kids family. Since you can’t touch a kid , then start touching all the adults wallets. Keep allowing this behavior and you are training them to be criminals.Change to uniforms great for everyone!

    • LoneGunMan
      May 17, 2019 at 8:54 am #

      As a former educator who left before my 80% because it wasn’t even worth it anymore

      Brian is 100% spot on and no one will have a better grasp on the situation.

      With that said, more and more teachers play politics as well. They worry more about indoctrinating their kids and bowing to the unions while complaining about underfunding.

      Reid is ghetto, has ghetto teachers and has a ghetto reputation.
      Sorry, I spelled “diversity” wrong

      • Pat
        May 17, 2019 at 9:32 am #

        I agree LoneGunMan with everything you said. No solutions to these problems can be discussed without Progressives accusing you of racism. The far left is represented by people like Liz Warren who recently refused to answer questions from FOX in a political forum because they are racist according to her. It’s a neat trick to avoid answering any difficult questions and just answer the easy questions from the liberal media.

  11. Roberto Del Halitoso
    May 17, 2019 at 8:11 am #

    Tyer, Bouvier, Harrington, Yon, White, Cacamoe Howard. And we wonder why Pittsfield has become Shitzfield.

  12. LoneGunMan
    May 17, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    I for one hope that Salvatore Frieri runs for school committee again.

    He was the most passionate candidate, clearly the smartest person in the room and politically neutral.

    Westfields gain was our loss. Time to balance the bullshit.

  13. Johnny Absurd
    May 17, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    Oh my God people this is not rocket science. If everyone would stop pissing and moaning and agree to sign your paychecks over to McCandless every week he could fix the damn problem. The problem is money. M O N E Y. He is getting short changed every year with a paltry 3 million bucks increase and seriously how is he supposed to fix the problem with that kind of pocket change? The poor man is doing the best he can with $20,000 per student and so we wind up with a town full of blithering idiot kids and we wonder why.

    I am hereby pledging my monthly social security check and I sure hope you will all follow suit. It is the right thing to do.

    • Brody Hooper
      May 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm #

      Matt you don’t get social security yet. You are only 49

  14. THE school committee
    May 17, 2019 at 9:56 am #

    You nailed it Dan and the comment about diversity was misunderstood by me and I’m sure you did not want to convey this as most of the problem in Pittsfield Schools are white behaviors.School choice allowed white influential people to move out as those people have the means to skip the problems.Without choice these parents would not have ever let this happen.Student need to be removed to their parents charge.Removal,Removal,Removal and returned only with whos in charge…..Suburbs love school choice,Money,Money,Money….conservatives want private for profit educations.

    • LoneGunMan
      May 17, 2019 at 10:11 am #

      No… they want what’s best for their kids and will do what it takes to get it.

      Financial status has NOTHING to do with sending your kids to publicly funded charter schools like BART

      the question posed last election cycle was to focus charter school vouchers on impoverished and financially struggling districts

      The democrats saw “charter school”and panicked… voting the measure down. no one even read the actual law, I guarantee it

      • Thomas More
        May 18, 2019 at 9:30 am #

        What does O captain my captain think?

  15. Mr. Fritz
    May 17, 2019 at 10:25 am #

    Pittsfield Public Schools ARE rascist; 1) in hiring ( see recent story re: recruitment of NC education students for teaching positions to increase diversity), and 2) in disciplining students ( “stemming the tide of the school to prison pipeline” i.e. Promise Program under Obama admin.).

    The smart students are school choicing out due to the violence / discipline issues.Once the smart students cut bait & run – how can the high schools offer AP classes when there aren’t enough bright students to justify offering these classes? Unless the discipline issues are addressed, the schools will continue their downward spiral.

    • Spider
      May 18, 2019 at 5:59 am #

      Fritz – I wish our School Super. and SC would read this.

  16. Dru Fezz
    May 17, 2019 at 11:30 am #

    Congrats to shakes on his kids performance and subsequent scholarship to Trump U.

  17. THE school committee
    May 17, 2019 at 11:33 am #

    Yes,agree but we lose complete taxpayer pressure on schools to shape up and not put up with this nonsense of Kids pushing principles and teachers with violent language and threats with no support by administration.They are still saying nothing to the public and it is really awlful.Its not being addressed by Tyer ,Yon and Marchetti. Pittsfield Schools are dangerous environments. Elementary schools are generally considered pretty good.6,7,8 grade is a big sham.Keep 6 graders in elementary..

  18. Grey Tarz
    May 17, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

    So they want to buy the Hess
    Forest and who knows the liability,but a few years
    ago an entrepreneur couldn’t get a cigaratte permit to buy a business and do remediation of the property.

  19. Kermit Frog
    May 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm #

    By what standard are the elementary schools good? Several have close to 50% of the kids not meeting MCAS requirements and growth/progress levels around a 3. That is a disgrace. The teachers fob this ofc till middle school when they can’t any longer. With the budge in MA there is no reason schools should be at 80% on MCAS and between 6-10 on growth.
    1/2 the local elementary schools should be shut and the teachers paid off. They boo hoo more than the kids.

  20. Edward R. Murrow
    May 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm #

    Pub school performance is socioeconomic.

    Show me a town with highest median home prices, and I’ll show you the highest MCAS scores, SATs, college admittance, etc.

    You often hear, “They have good schools.”

    This simply means that the town is wealthy with a lot of professional and college-educated parents.

    Only exception to this is something like the exam/magnet schools, such as Boston Latin School and Boston Latin Academy, which are very diverse, but even then, who are the diverse parents? Professionals.

    Richie Really Rich goes to private/boarding school. Or, send the boys to private but send the girls to public. I’m not kidding.

    Best schools in the county are always in Lenox–Chamillionaires!

    Thus, what matters is the makeup of the student body, not the faculty.

    A lousy faculty in Weston, say, will always beat a great faculty in Fall River.

    But then again, Weston will attract and retain better faculty with higher salaries (most likely) but lower combat pay, with lower rates of PTSD = post-traumatic school disorder.

  21. Edward R. Murrow
    May 17, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

    Cambridge, MA, pub schools are basically run by the Harvard Education Department–but how they doin’?

  22. Kermit Frog
    May 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm #

    Lenox performs about the same as a good range capital district high school. SATs no better – reding and math attainment lower. Obnoxious factor at 10 though.
    Queens NYC used to have great public schools for working class kids. Not sure what has changed in the world. Maybe teachers unions. Bloomberg did a lot for NYC schools.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      May 18, 2019 at 7:29 am #

      What I’m saying is that it is the quality of the STUDENTS, not of the SCHOOL. So for Queens, you mean to say they had great public school students.

      No such thing as “good schools” without good students in them.

      Now, back in the day, you might have had Catholic school nuns practically beating education into the Mick’s and O’s. But that’s all gone.

      So, for the Pitts schools, you ain’t gonna get no blood (maybe literally, however) from that stone–no matter how much money you throw at it, what faculty or admin you have, or whatever fancy ed-speak program you put in place.

      • Kermit Frog
        May 18, 2019 at 10:53 am #

        I respectfully disagree that poor kids can’t be educated. Lots of Pittsfield people have crummy jobs but I don’t believe they are stupid – they just have terrible opportunities. And for this reason I think a good education for our kids is even more important.
        I am sure behavior is a problem at the middle school — but if it’s a problem at an elementary school level there should be no qualms about how to correct it.
        I think there are numerous dumb things the administration does that make it worse. Many of the teachers I have met don’t garner much respect and they will never get replaced. Young or capable people don’t get hired because only connected Berkshire Co people get jobs in the schools – and we all know that means more incompetence.

  23. THE school committee
    May 17, 2019 at 2:10 pm #

    All ed reform was brought to you by the conservative right wing of the late 1980s as they worried that Japan was going to be the financial powerhouse. Dumb move to school choice.Rich get richer.Lets be honest why does everyone need to pass a MCAS test.Most guys on average 45 years ago probably would not pass with very high numbers.

    • X-Lachs Lounge
      May 17, 2019 at 6:48 pm #

      Can you provide backup data or is this just more of your ridiculous fake news?

      • The school committee
        May 19, 2019 at 4:13 am #

        You believe Trump and he is a known liar so when you are presented with data about Trumps known public lies you don’t believe because you disagree with known data.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      May 18, 2019 at 7:36 am #

      MCAS, and other testing across the nation, came about to try to keep the teachers and teaching educationally honest–not just go off on some tangent in search or their own personal fulfillment or political indoctrination program pushed by the NEA/AFT and, wait for it, the Democratic National Committee.

      Businesses and colleges in Massachusetts went to the MA Dept. of Ed/legislators and said, “You’re giving us people who can’t do basic math, don’t have basic reading skills, can’t write a simple English sentence.

      Ask the Planet about the increasing need for remedial education of college freshmen.

      MCAS is at least an attempt to ensure such a BASIC level of competency. I’d tell my middle-/upper-middle-class college prep and honors-type students that MCAS wasn’t really for them. Those students could pretty much cruise through MCAS.

      • Larson E. Hall
        May 18, 2019 at 8:37 am #

        They have a new test that the school department and the school committee must take. It’s called J-CAS. So rest assured that most school department administrators and school committee members are J-CAS certified.

    • Ed Check
      May 20, 2019 at 9:07 am #

      That is an outright falsehood. Ted Kennedy was key in the education reform, no child left behind philosophy and legislation.

  24. THE school committee
    May 17, 2019 at 5:15 pm #

    Mayor Tyer is giving Yon 3 million more dollars to keep up the irresponsible handling of children.Just get out of Pittsfield fast

    • dusty
      May 18, 2019 at 1:51 am #

      And this is where leadership becomes part of the problem and not part of the solution. Is it even possible in these days of self advancement to have leadership that is willing to forego self enrichment for the better good of the whole population and into the future?

      The odds are infinitesimal. A person with this characteristic would not have a chance of getting elected because that person would have to denounce the good old boy support that is needed to get on the team. So yes, I am saying that the system is set up to fail, has been failing and will continue to fail.

  25. Simon Ives
    May 17, 2019 at 7:15 pm #

    This is Harrington ‘s travelling companion.

    BOSTON, MA. – MARCH 11: Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins speaks outside Federal Court after the hearing for Louis D. Coleman III for the killing of Jassy Correia on March 11, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts . (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
    By SEAN PHILIP COTTER | sean.cotter@bostonherald.com | Boston Herald
    PUBLISHED: May 16, 2019 at 8:47 pm | UPDATED: May 17, 2019 at 5:05 am
    An admitted career crook who saw the news about Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins’ no-prosecute list on a jailhouse TV couldn’t believe it when cops in Weymouth slapped cuffs on him for shoplifting $126 worth of goods from a Stop & Shop.

    “It’s not a crime, I thought. I saw it on TV when I was in prison,” Glenn Kerivan griped to the Herald on Thursday.

    Kerivan, a 59-year-old Arlington man who the cops describe as having a “lengthy” criminal history, was arrested May 9 for shoplifting in a Weymouth store, to which he pleaded guilty the next day and was issued a $500 fine.

    The cops say a Stop & Shop loss-prevention officer told them he watched Kerivan walk out of the store with a fruit platter before coming back in and returning it for cash. Then, according to the police report, he walked around the store, grabbing $126 worth of various items and putting them into a shopping bag before leaving.

    The Weymouth cops who arrested Kerivan wrote, “His demeanor was very relaxed and (he) stated on numerous occasions that he’d been ‘put away for real crime,’ and that he did not believe shoplifting was arrestable anymore. Kerivan also made unsolicited comments during fingerprinting referencing the Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins and how he believed she no longer prosecuted shoplifting charges.”

    Only one problem. Weymouth is in Norfolk County, where DA Michael Morrissey and his prosecutors take a dim view of shoplifting.

    Kerivan was referring to Rollins’ list of crimes she has instructed her prosecutors not to bring. That includes 15 crimes she’s pledged not to prosecute, from trespassing and shoplifting, to drug possession and resisting arrest, crimes she’s described as minor and has said “are overwhelmingly crimes of poverty, mental illness and addiction.” Rollins, running on a reformist platform, won election in November to the DA seat in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere.

    Morrissey couldn’t be reached for comment. But Cape & Islands DA Michael O’Keefe said thieves thinking it’s open season is a logical conclusion of a list like Rollins’.

    “As district attorneys, we felt this was just a matter of time,” O’Keefe told the Herald. “I would like people to be assured that irrespective of what happens in Suffolk County, shoplifting is most certainly a crime in the rest of Massachusetts.”

    Rollins’ spokeswoman Renee Algarin defended the Suffolk DA’s policy in a statement Thursday, saying, “Our prosecutors seek to hold offenders accountable while creating the best possible outcomes for victims and impacted communities. Very often, these goals are best achieved through alternatives to prosecution. Suffolk County saw a 16.5% drop in adult criminal complaints between 2015 and 2018 and an even more dramatic drop of 40% in juvenile complaints. During roughly that same time period, both violent crime and property crime dropped across Suffolk County and access to diversion programs increased.”

    Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund said Kerivan “should have studied geography.”

    In a “public service announcement,” Hedlund told the Herald: “Attention shoplifters, you will be arrested in Weymouth. Please leave Weymouth and ply your craft in Suffolk County.”

  26. giocometti
    May 17, 2019 at 11:16 pm #

    One thing is needed to correct the situation system wide…bring back the Juvenile Resource Center to give Public Schools a place to put their problem students so that those students that want to learn can go to school. The problem is that no teacher wants to teach the problem students who are discipline problems…I know
    having taught these students in the past…Education in Pittsfield is
    very difficult to control when the students are in charge.

  27. Aerin
    May 18, 2019 at 5:41 am #

    The spiteful and vindictive DA Harrington has not only killed school substance abuse and violence prevention programs without so much as a word to the community. She’s fired all the employees associated with the program. And by the way, one of the first things she did was remove the history wall of pictures of all previous DAs from the office walls.Maybe she’s having a vanity portrait done in Portugal?

  28. Spider
    May 18, 2019 at 5:55 am #

    I am annoyed by a letter in today’s BB from a Cheshire couple promoting Pickleball courts in Pittsfield.

    I am tired of people who don’t live in Pittsfield telling us what to do with our money and where and how to spend it.

    • Thomas-More
      May 18, 2019 at 6:29 am #

      There is a country club across the street where people pay their own way to play golf and swim. Why can’t the pickleball enthusiasts do the same. Get some land and build your own courts and pay your way the same as golfers do.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      May 18, 2019 at 7:39 am #

      Preach on, brother.

      Yeah, we saw that with the new wonder school, Taconic.

      But what took the cake for me was the TPP thing (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

      City Council needs to take up time talking about this for some reason.

      So all of a sudden the Council chamber is filled to the brim with moonbats from south county–and some were allowed to speak!!!

      And what did it all mean? It didn’t mean dick.

      • Trump 2020
        May 18, 2019 at 8:31 am #

        Do the moonbats like TPP afer Trump killed it?

    • Hell Toupee
      May 18, 2019 at 8:27 am #

      Pittsfield needs to build an area where participants can safely play pocket pool. Their safety is of the utmost concern.

    • Mr. Fritz
      May 19, 2019 at 11:56 am #

      I agree, Spider. How in the world did “pickleball courts” end up on the CPA wish list? What’s to “preserve” when they aren’t even built? I thought that fund was to help preserve the city’s treasures.
      Let the pickleball club raise funds for their courts. Many of the members live in the surrounding towns.

    • Spagirl
      May 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm #

      Spider
      I have not heard of one citizen in support of a pickleball court. This is an inside agenda as usual with the entitled. The kids in this city have nowhere to go for example. Why is this money being approved for something the public has no decision on?

  29. Johnny Absurd
    May 18, 2019 at 8:13 am #

    Pickleball is for cities and towns that have extra EXTRA money to spend. Pittsfield cannot even fix its roads and has NO GADAMN business even thinking about pickleball. Unless of course the contractor that is going to be hired to build the courts is connected and likes to give kickbacks. Or it becomes a private investment without help from city hall.

    this should be an election issue and any candidate promoting it should be called out for the hypocrisy of raising taxes to pay for it.

    • Spider
      May 18, 2019 at 8:33 am #

      Ditto, Johnny A. I neglected to say that Cheshire has a lot of land. Why can’t they petition their select board (or whatever) and build them there.

      I also agree that I will not vote for any candidate who endorses this idea!

      I understand that they are not providing any “fund raising money” of their own, as other sports groups do all the time.

      I would love to know how many of these supporters live in Pittsfield.

      • Johnny Absurd
        May 18, 2019 at 10:27 am #

        Put it on the ballot. Oh never mind, bad idea. That is how we got the charter skewed to benefit the glad handers. If the tell the school folk to vote for it we are done. they pretty much vote as instructed by city hall I understand.

  30. Jonathan Melle
    May 18, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

    I believe a high school diploma should guarantee an 18 year old an opportunity to work in a living wage job, join the military or a civic job, or go to college.

    I hope 18 year old young adults don’t end up in jail or prison, poor, homeless, on drugs, and the like.

    Who cares about 18 to 24 year old young adults? Student debt is in the trillions of dollars. The underclass is growing larger. In Pittsfield, most young adults move away due to Pittsfield’s distressed economy.

  31. X-Lachs Lounge
    May 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

    After 13 years of taxpayer provided education they should be able to do something

  32. doomiedodger
    May 18, 2019 at 2:21 pm #

    Might be interesting to have a forum where the students could weigh in on what the learning environment is like In Pittsfield.

  33. Charlie
    May 18, 2019 at 2:52 pm #

    How to win the war on drugs…Just declare victory and walk away. Seriously, who ever looked to Portugal for innovation on anything? They just don’t have the money to prosecute drug crimes so they look the other way. If our DA isn’t going to fight the war on drug why doesn’t she just resign? By the way, we’re losing the war on cancer, too, but some people still want to fight it.

    • Johnny Absurd
      May 19, 2019 at 1:55 am #

      Interesting point. The money spent on fighting drugs for the last 40 years must be well into the trillions. And yet the problem has gotten exponentially worse. (kinda like the Pittsfield schools)

      So why is that? What are we missing that might be obvious? Is the money appropriated to fix the problem being used wisely? Are the people leading the fight honestly concerned with solving the problem?

      • Charlie
        May 19, 2019 at 1:02 pm #

        A wise man said sometimes we need to run as fast as we can just to stay in place. To go anywhere you must run twice as fast. Why can’t we have tougher sentences for dealers, more treatment, more education and more sophisticated ways to track money laundering and trafficking?

        • Anabelle
          May 28, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

          Apparently your only called a drug dealer if your poor . If you own a lot of businesses and are rich then you are smart and everybody applauds your going into the weed business!

  34. Bill DeWahl
    May 18, 2019 at 6:51 pm #

    An improved border barrier will go a long way in the fight against drugs.

    • Johnny Absurd
      May 19, 2019 at 1:57 am #

      Yes because drug lords are actually quite stupid and could never figure out how to get their drugs past one. Especially if it was made of steel.

      • Brody Hooper
        May 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm #

        Matt enough Trump Derangement Syndrome

  35. Really
    May 18, 2019 at 8:20 pm #

    Half past 11 pm some some dude swinging a golf club at Dewey and Columbus? Why?

    • Mr. Fritz
      May 19, 2019 at 11:52 am #

      Don’t you have anything to do today? Geez….

  36. The school committee
    May 19, 2019 at 4:28 am #

    The school budget is now in the hands of Marchetti, it’s his budget now. Marchetti will stick it to the elderly again this year. Level fund minus 1% of last year’s budget for schools. The council cant tell the schools how to spend their budget but they can tell them How much they will get.The state just gave us 3 million to help lower taxes not to help increase them.

  37. Johnny Absurd
    May 19, 2019 at 4:40 am #

    Marchetti is a tool and always has been. Little or no independent thinking in that noggin. That is why his handlers wanted him to be mayor. Puppet mayors have been the bane of Pittsfield and its hardworking taxpayers. They are a sad self serving cowering sort.

  38. The school committee
    May 19, 2019 at 9:46 am #

    Just heard the Ex Mayor Tyer say what they are doing about Reid School and I’m in shock.They are not doing the 1 thing that will help student learn and that is to remove student abusive kids from the school building.The one and only thing.They are throwing tons of people and your cash around but they will not repeat will not Remove the threatening bully intimidation student to his house.Its a lie or she still does not know the problem.Mayor Mazzeo will get away from her desk and drive to the problem.The problem for whatever the reason is student threats in middle school.This answer by this mayor is not good enough anymore.I can’t vote for anyone who believes lip service to the taxpayer.

  39. Tony Bianki
    May 19, 2019 at 11:00 am #

    You would think after the bashing he took by Kristen on the not that smart Barry at School and C C meeting and a few years ago,he would realize that the mayor is and was, in way over her head. Th Mayor as a school board member should be embarrassed at the money she throws out the window to the schools and everything else, with poor results. Look at all of the departments except assessors,who are Bringing in the cash, yet a cost attached to that also…to the Taxpayer.

  40. The school committee
    May 19, 2019 at 1:17 pm #

    Ex Mayor Tyer campaign slogan should be “I Have money to waste”

    • Johnny Absurd
      May 19, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

      Well yah I do like honesty in a politician. She would get points for that slogan.

  41. Reignbow
    May 19, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    New program in Boston,gang members get free paid education. All the good work Trump is doing and we have to keep spending here.

  42. Free Bird
    May 21, 2019 at 1:22 pm #

    It might be time to rethink the grade 6-8 middle school configuration. It’s interesting that 8th graders are rarely ever held back a year in Pittsfield. Instead they enter high school on the “5 year plan”.

    • danvalenti
      May 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm #

      FB
      “The 5 year plan?” That’s perfect!