From the data found on the Mass. DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) website, it appears to me that the district shows very little progress since Mayor Mitchelltook office in 2012.  

If the district is, according to the Mayor, making progress and heading in the right direction, ask yourself the following questions:

Why did Pacheco School drop from a Level 1 status to Level 2in 2014?

Why did the high school go from a Level 3 status to Level 4 (underperforming) in 2013 under the leadership of the superintendent and his administration?

Why did Parker School go from a Level 4 status to Level 5 in 2013 and is now in receivership?

Why did the superintendent, mayor, and School Committee close Kempton School which was a Level 1 school when it was closed to save a few dollars?

Why is the district having a difficult time with teacher retention?  

Since July 2013 to present approximately 250 teachers have resigned or retired.  Since the summer of 2015, 40 teachers have left the district.  Don’t forget a number of teachers were RIF (Reduction in Workforce) during that period.

Why are principals and assistant principals leaving the district?  Today about 20 have either retired or resigned?

Why are there unfilled positions throughout the district?  At the school committee meeting on Monday, October 19, it was mentioned by the Personnel Director that there are 6 elementary, 5 middle schools, and 7 high school unfilled positions.

Why haven’t the MCAS scores improved significantly?  The Report Card for the district from the DESE website indicates the following from 2012-14:  NB’s ELA range 46, 44, 45% compared to state average of 69% for years; Math for district range 35, 36, 38% compared to state average 59, 61, 60%; and Science 22, 25, 29% compared to state average of 53, 54, 55%. (Check out the data from Mass. DESE.)

Why is New Bedford High School lagging well below the state average?  The high school’s Report Card is as follows from 2012-14: ELA 66, 76, 67% compared to state average of 89, 92, 90%; Math 44, 49, 41% compared to state average of 79, 80, 79%; and Science 31, 38, 38% compared to the state average of 70, 72, 71%. (Data from DESE.)

Why has the high school had a significant drop in the enrollment of students from Acushnet?

Why didn’t Mayor Mitchell, School Committee, and Superintendent Durkin show outrage at the first act of violence in the district in 2013-14 school year?  Why wasn’t this curbed at the beginning of the academic year?  There were numerous acts of violence the entire year.

Why did Superintendent Durkin, Mayor Mitchell, and School Committee approve cancelling bus routes for children that had to walk on extremely busy streets without sidewalks to save a few dollars?

The question now is, after reading all of the above, do you think our district is heading in the right direction and making progress?  As for myself, my answer is a resounding NO!  The data cannot be disputed.

Our school district is taking the same voyage as the Wander the last whaling ship to leave New Bedford harbor in 1920s only to run aground.




30 thoughts on “Is the New Bedford Public School district making progress and heading in the right direction? … By Carol Strupczewski

  1. District made all these cuts to pay Durkin her exorbitant salary….does she own property in NB sonthe city can recoup some tax dollars? No. Little birdie said she bought some property in nearby Westport though…. Hmmm retirement home by the beach funded by NB taxpayers


  2. The Superintendent is a master at public relations. She has these uncanny ways of by phone (taped message to PRAB), or in her news outlets of stressing students come first. They really don't. As having worked in the school classroom setting for 15 years, this is farthest from her mind. Her time is having a whole lot of Top Tier people run this administrative show. Students have many substitutes. People leave weekly. The disrespect and henchmen scares by Durkin are turning great teachers away. So many of these PRAB administrators have not been in a classroom in years, or never have been consistently teaching in an inner city school. They have no idea how many interruptions a teacher has through out the day. A teacher now is suppose to be a general ed., sped, ell, suicide expert, crisis counselor, & restraining person all in one. No one would believe how many children come to school with a myriad of family issues. Poverty, prison, deaths, drugs, & numerous change of the family makeup is not uncommon. We are berated for lesson plans, & test scores which we are struggling to attain. I have had several teacher friends leave for other school systems, and are told how well they do in this new system. My friends tell me they do nothing different. The new school children are healthy, stable, learning, happy children. Their flourishing while many students in inner city are at so many disadvantages.PRAB continues to hire “experts” with high salaries. Our schools are in need are repair. We don't have enough staff. Science teachers haven't had books for years. Keith & Roosevelt's Libraries, which were staffed, & gorgeous are now a horrible mess. No staff, nor computer generated card system. Books are strewn everywhere. Have no idea when parents will really see what goes on in the School system of New Bedford.


  3. I find it greatly disturbing and disgusting that after several people (including students) have told her that the constant disruptions in the classroom and the verbal and sometimes physical abuse the teachers endure are making teaching difficult, therefore the students who WANT to learn are missing out of education – all she's hears is that teachers aren't teaching our doing their job. She is ridiculous.


  4. I find it greatly disturbing and disgusting that after several people (including students) have told her that the constant disruptions in the classroom and the verbal and sometimes physical abuse the teachers endure are making teaching difficult, therefore the students who WANT to learn are missing out of education – all she's hears is that teachers aren't teaching our doing their job. She is ridiculous.


  5. She is ridiculous and doesn't care about the students. That's very evident. What a shame we got stuck with her for another 3 years.


  6. This year the veteran teachers are being given “Needs Improvement” on their observations while the brand new teachers are given “Proficient”. Really? These new inexperienced teachers have no classroom management skills. The students are disrupting the class, walking out of their classrooms and refusing to work. How is this effective management? The students aren't learning!


  7. To the person blaming the union for not stopping the abuse: YOU ARE THE UNION!!! Do you go to school committee meetings? Do you sign up to speak at these meetings? Do you show up at rallys, informational union meetings, the annual union meeting, ratifications? Did you respond to the recent survey? If not, ask yourself why. Be an active member who wants to strengthen his union. Stop your whining.


  8. I don't see any posted comments blaming the union here. At this point most of us realize who is to blame and I hope we vote the culprits out. If you care and can't vote in NB at least talk to those who can. The only power we have right now is the right to vote. Education is the BIGGEST issue in this race for mayor. There will be no saving our students and teachers from the devastating learning conditions if the next 2 years are like the last 4 with Mayor Mitchell.Ignore the distractions of a “Rainy Day” fund argument and/or a $1,000 business contributor from out of town. Everyone has an angle and an ally, but OUR students only have US-the NEW BEDFORD EDUCATORS!


  9. can any one tell me what the appropriate punishment would be for a student throwing an object at a principal? in this case it was an apple and 1 day suspension – hardly a punishment and a total lack of respect for a principal not only from the student but from the upper time it may be a stapler or something harder. hopefully the principal was reprimanded as he/she clearly did not handle the situation appropriately.


  10. Think the principals should do all lesson plans for teachers,with the help of their minions and butt kissers.This will free up time for teachers.


  11. Everyone needs to understand that newbies need to be proficient. The principals just hired them, and the superintendent needed to approve. That's the criteria for hiring new teachers. It's called “saving face.” Get it! Everyone else has to be “needs improvement or unsatisfactory.” Why else would the district's students be failing. Get it! You can't blame the teachers or parents. You can't have a drowning system with all proficient teachers. It's like drawing lots, with the assistant principals and principals doing the drawing, and PRAB doing the checking. Get it! To get all of the PRAB new hires and lofty salaries and all consultants on board you need to show the problem is the teachers, the old teachers. For the old guard that should be given the boot, the principal have no gut or discipline to get the job done. Get that too.


  12. Is there anyone on the school committee worth saving? Think about it. If you did you would determine on your own that there is not a one. It is outrageous that these individuals get reelected given their track record while on the committee and prior to their initial run. Take each one and look at their history. A joke and still they are reelected. They thrive on the non-vote and cronyism.


  13. There is no way that a new hire teacher can be proficient in October…..they haven't even got the practice needed to have the judgement to make the everyday decision s needed to get through to students……something smells rotten in New Bedford schools……..


  14. Not one sc incumbent should get a NBPS teacher vote…well except the one married to a NBPS teacher. I guess she can vote for him.


  15. The school department hasn't improved under Pia Durkin. She did not deserve a contract extension. Jon Mitchell has said many times that Mike Shea stabilized the school system. If that's so than how did Pia inherit a school system on the cusp of state takover? She didn't. Dr Francis needed to be replaced. The mayor could have removed her for cause if he waited. The financial debacle occurred under Francis and Deb Brown. If Mayor Mitchell was seasoned he would have waited until he wouldn't have needed a buyout. Big mistake. He hired Pia Durkin. Big mistake. He extended Pia Durkin. Big mistake. Hundreds of teachers left the district under Pia Durkin and Mayor Mitchell. Empty classrooms remain at the high school yet we are told everything is fine. This district is in much worse shape than when Pia Durkin arrived. Vote for Giesta. Vote for Cotter. Vote for DosSantos. Bruce Oliviera is a huge disappointment. Vote him out. Livermento is a joke. We need dissent on the school committee. Dissent brings discussion of issues which we are loaded with to the table. There is no smoking gun here. If you want change than vote out the incumbents. New Bedford students and teachers deserve better!


  16. Well, Mitchell got voted in again. NB-worst city in the state for crime, school system -run by a tyrant with a heart of stone, a school committee who are so afraid of the ” elf on the shelf” they quiver . At least Mr.Cotter got voted in , so that's one less fool on the SC.


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