My name is Lou St. John and I’m president of the New Bedford Educators Association.


I’m accompanied today by many of the teachers at the Parker Elementary School, who are here to express their commitment and dedication to the children of New Bedford.

The NBEA and the administration all share the same goal—educating our children to the best of our ability. So the union wants to affirm its commitment to working with the new principal of Parker and the new superintendent to bring Parker up from Level 4.

We know that in many cases, the state’s turnaround plans have had very positive effects. Just this year, 14 Massachusetts schools designated underperforming have met their turnaround goals and have shed their Level 4 status. Some of those schools are now at Level 1. We can do the same for Parker.

Parker has already made some modest improvements without a large influx of resourcesBut there are other things we need—such as supplies and technologythat could do an enormous amount of good.
Wknow this is a challenging process and we don’t expect improvements to happen without bumps in the road. Our teachers will want their expertise and knowledge to be tapped and their voices heard during the process, but the union and the administration—working together, with the right resources and sharing a sense of purpose and commitment—can get the job done.

Thank you.

18 thoughts on “NBEA Statement on Parker School …. by Lou St John

  1. How many Parker parents came to the meeting? Were they working, Ha! There lies the problem-they don't seem to care about their child's education. They receive no consequences from their lovely parents-then they come to school and receive no consequences from the misguided principal. I am a concerned parent who actually cares about my child at Parker. If my child acts up, I want him disciplined-not coddled!

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  2. “So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us….” -M.C.Escher

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  3. Finnetry comments on how to inspire parents to get them involved in the school process at Parker-he is a fool. These parents are already “entitled” to handouts. How about this-try being a parent-get involved in child's life that you gave birth to-try being a person who gives back to society instead of take, take , take with no conscience! Trying being a role model, try working!

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  4. Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, says he is “alarmed” by a lack of progress Parker School. Was he “alarmed” that there were only 4 parents in the audience?

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  5. Does anyone even know how the word got out to parents? Maybe a flyer sent home with students, same flyer posted on website, one-call to all parent phone #'s, probably not. Everyone wants to find someone to blame and that doesn't seem to be working anymore. It's time for all to step up or step out and start thinking outside of the box. It would be great if parents were more involved but sometimes they just don't get the info!!

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  6. Flyers were sent to homes, parents were reminded at open house, teachers and the principal reminded parents, phone calls were made, the discussion was publicized on the radio and in the paper. Again, where were the parents?

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  7. Intellectual arrogance is at a premium in this district. What is needed is intellectual humility. It's amazing and head-shaking at times. For the blogger comparing business acumen to educational practices, forget-about-it, at least in New Bedford. Your leadership does not want to hear it, let alone act upon any credible suggestions. Maybe they believe their plate is too full. It has been that way forever, and is not new to this leadership team. If ideas are not generated from within the leadership team, and this includes assistant principals and principals or the DESE, or SC, or consulting groups it will not see the light-of-day, Your only hope is that it will be authored by someone other than you; the true generator. This is intellectual arrogance, and unfortunately it is not only exists at the leadership level, but also among the teaching ranks. These card carrying professionals revel in membership. Let's be frank. There should be no place for it in our system, especially if we want to improve. Trust is another issue, a huge issue between the superintendent and rank and file, and I do not know how it is going to balance into something that resembles professional transparent collaboration. Unless both sides comprehend and practice intellectual humility, it won't occur. Sorry, and for it to truly occur, feelings are going to get hurt, but it's all part of the process. That's the way it is. The superintendent calls it civil discussions. I happen to be in a meeting where the superintendent was addressing the school's teachers and I can tell you nobody was buying what she was selling. It was sad. I thought leaders have that special trait of being able to rally the troops. I've seen it and know what it looks like and smells like, and I'm not sure she has it. It certainly didn't happen that day. Maybe it was just the end of a long day for her. I'd like to think I am wrong, and only she can prove me wrong. Sorry, that is my take. It was only the in house “sports” that said anything while to rest of us rolled our eyes. She left unceremoniously. Again, sad. If the superintendent does not realize that her vision is not getting down to the rank and file then she is out-of-touch and the results in this city will continue to get worst. Can she be out-of-touch, or are the problems too big for her to demonstrate the right leadership to help solve them? Change does take time, but I don't like what I'm reading. Maybe it will get worst until the state comes in, and I don't think anyone wants that. Maybe the superintendent does, but only she really knows that. If I was the superintendent I would put a burden on the teachers. Turn the tables. Tell them basically to put up or stand-down. I would hold two separate meetings for the teachers to come forward and discuss their issues and suggestions. One meeting for the high school and middle schoolers, and the other meeting for the elementary grades. Hold it on a Friday, as an early release day, so all teachers can attend, with no excuse not to attend. Invite all teachers to attend either session, an open forum. Split the time, 11:00 to 1:00 for one group, and 1:15 to 3:15 for the other. As a teacher,if you don't show up and stand up to be counted, you really lose the right to complain going forward. Lets see who really wants to help save the district, and that will mean walking out from behind the curtain. Teachers here is your opportunity. Fellow teaching professionals are you up for the it? New Bedford schools are at a crossroads, and it is well beyond the time to come together as one, and put differences aside the best we can, at least for one afternoon. If we think that teacher retaliation is the only result of such a meeting then we all, and I do mean all have a bigger problem, and maybe state takeover is at least part of the solution. What do you think or am I out of touch? Comments.

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  8. Let's try this old fashioned approach-hold the parent accountable, hold the child accountable for their actions, let's try ! Why do we make it easier for those who don't care? They already feel entitled for some strange reason. The new buzzword is rigor-years ago, the buzzword was morals. I prefer the old word.

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  9. At the meeting the superintendent can be asked about her plan to engage parents and the measures that lead to success. She can also be asked about her plans that will lead to greater students accountability for their own education. If only four Parker parents showed for the meeting with Chester she has lots of planning to do. Not enough happened in the planning stages for that meeting if those numbers are true. Just like teachers, parents and students are major stakeholders in the Accelerated Improvement Plan.

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  10. Obviously Dr. Durkin had failed in her quest for parent involvement. She should be embarrassed that only 4 parents should up for such an important meeting. And Chester Mitchell can't see there are numerous issues at Parker resulting in such poor growth? The previous principal was from a charter school that had lousy MCAS scores. That should have been a red flag when hiring him for the Parker job. Where was the school committee then??

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  11. To whomever snapped the picture, next time can you point the lens towards the crowd. We'd like to count the number of parents in the audience. Same goes for any SC meeting.

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  12. Any state takeover of Parker is very calculating. The teachers there are doing a great job and should be allowed to continue. Without a doubt they are moving in the right direction. Jumping in now would be an “I told you so” on the state's part and is strictly intellectual arrogance on their behalf.

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  13. Can the pictures above or below the fold get any bigger in the Standard Times? It's great that they even been advertising on the front page for some time. Colorful pictures must add to the rigor of useful knowledge in lieu of credible honest reporting. You must of got the memo that students would rather look at pictures than read. What is your plan to increase subscription membership? What is the chance of a New Bedford graduate getting a half way decent paying job at the Standard in the future, one that is not in the paper repeatedly every week?

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