As The Standard-Times wrote about education reform under the current administration of Dr. Pia Durkin, there are some questions. It was written that the New Bedford Public Schools are heading in the right direction. If this were true, why did the Parker Elementary School drop from a Level 4 to Level 5 and New Bedford High School from a Level 3 to Level 4? Also, the Carlos Pacheco Elementary School dropped from Level 1 to Level 2. A principal, appointed by Dr. Durkin, had no experience in the “Urban Setting” that Dr. Durkin references very often. She lasted just one year.

The teachers from the Gomes Elementary School received a state grant for Expanded Learning Time to extend the school day and the school year. This, I believe, was stated at the School Committee meeting in May or June, to show the state that they were trying and avoid a Level 4 designation. Is this education reform or just politics as usual? Recently stated, and confirmed at a recent mayor’s youth forum, the Normandin Middle School is “being considered” for an innovation school to again deflect its designation of a Level 4 school.

If this district is truly making progress and heading in the right direction, as stated by Dr. Durkin and the New Bedford School Committee, why are there more Level 4 and 5 schools? Dr. Durkin was hired to turn this district around, not upside down.

Unfortunately, under her direction we have lost years of experience in the classrooms of every school in the district. I strongly believe that we need to retain our teachers and not have them looking elsewhere to avoid the added stress in our schools. This stress trickles down to students, and they are the ones suffering.



Christopher Cotter was elected to the New Bedford School Committee last week.

14 thoughts on “Are schools really improving? … By Christopher Cotter

  1. And loosing more and more each day. Our students are suffering. There doesn't seem to any accountability for those in power and the lies just keep on coming. I'd love to really understand why the school committee doesn't push for real concrete answers when they ask a question. Yes I know they seldomly ask questions. They just nod and smile. They look like baffoons. Please Mr. Cotter question those who come to you asking you to put on those rose colored glasses. Maybe visit schools and talk to teachers. If you can find us. We are probably covering classes and praying we can get to the bathroom.

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  2. Thank God Mr. Cotter was elected to the SC! Josh Amaral is such a disappointment. Please, Mr.Cotter support your teachers so we may help our students.

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  3. Why was it that since Mike Longo left, we couldn't keep a Superintendent until now? Is there somebody pulling the strings of our district from the DESE that is keeping this Napoleonic, inept woman in power or is it merely the lack of judgement that the School Board has shown time and time again? I hope with the addition of Mr. Cotter we might be making one small stride towards fixing things downtown. Josh was a major disappointment. He came to us, hat in hand, and asked for our endorsement claiming that he would help change things and then turned on us once he was elected. Hopefully, the culture changes quickly or we are destined to be the next Holyoke or Lawrence.

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  4. In my opinion New Bedford Schools are not improving at all. But the best way to determine whether or not the situation is getting better is to go to the source; the teachers. Without inviting the superintendent, the school committee should invite random teachers to meetings to get to the bottom of the burning question. The teachers know the truth. Meet with elementary, middle, high, and alternative teachers separately to get the lowdown. The only reason for not inviting the superintendent is that teachers may not trust her, or show some sort of future retribution for their opinions. At least that is the feeling I get when reading this blog. Ask teachers what the issues are and about those things that they believe should be done to help the situation. I know that teachers are not forthcoming at meetings that she is present. I've been present and heard the questions. Everyone wants to put a positive spin on questions to look as if everything is wonderful. Mr. Cotter, you have been in the trenches, and have seen the issues first hand. You have seen the damage a minority of students can do to students striving to do positive things while enjoying the total experience. For me, the current school committee is a disappointment. Be the difference maker. In the past, election results have been disappointing for you, but now you have a chance to be an effective leader. Teachers respect you because you have been involved directly in the schools. Don't be afraid to reach out to them.

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  5. I think it's horrendously unbelievable that the “powers that be” are not letting teachers decide to discipline their children with deserved conduct cards, and principals can't suspend kids that are endangering themselves or others in their respective schools.What the hell kind of example do you think you are providing for the youth whom are offenders?? When they drop out, or get out without any prospects of getting good employment, crime will be a way of getting what they need or want and there will be swift judgement in the real world. Kids need DISCIPLINE!!!!!! There is no other way that they will learn unless they are disciplined.I'm pretty sure that anyone over the age of 30 realizes the truth; discipline helped them get through H.S. and college! Cops are not in a position to say “hey, guess what? We won't lock you up for the crime you just committed. You get a free pass!” Get real, you idiots DownTown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. SO Chris, who wants the teacher and school nurse bashing at public comment increased, now says that the teachers who were recognized for the Gomes grant were actually lying? And how about today's headline: PARCC test in spring 2015 indicate a leap of improvement in New Bedford. Funny how Cotter runs with ESE data when he wants to bash teachers and lies about his master plan to stop testing when he wants votes

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  7. ^the person who wrote the comment above is obviously trying protect the stupidity that has been the norm since jack larvipento, Marlene pollock and Jon Mitchell took over the school committee that hired Durkin.

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  8. If you believe the PARCC scores tell the real story you are a limited thinker. What have the students lost in the name of test prep? EVERYTHING. A day at school here in NB is void of anything that makes life worth living. Elementary students can go 2 weeks before learning any art, music, or Gym. The test is meaningless. Horribly designed and cut scores were done to increase approval for the testing profiteers. Buy more $tuff from the company that makes the test New Bedford! It'$ working!!!!

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  9. The problem here is our children are not getting the right education. Everyone is so concerned with the teachers, principals, etc. Lets get down to the facts our children are becoming dumber and dumber as the years pass us. Teachers don't dedicate like they use to. They support the superintendent because they have less work and less responsibility thats why things are going the way they are. What happened to the old chalk board, the taking the notes, the explaining, demonstrating, t.v. he experiments, science fairs. If you ask our kids about any of these things they don't know what they are. So really our kids are suffering. The teachers are enjoying the less amount of work and the salary raise every year. So how can anyone feel for the teachers. I feel for the children. They need to go back to the old school teaching with the modern technology thats what they need. More teaching and less stupidity, like pajama day, and who is you favorite character and stupid things like that.

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  10. To whomever wrote the statement above….. Are you a complete idiot? Less work??? It's clear that you live in a fantasy world. Sir or ma'am…I would be happy to have you shadow me for a week. You wouldn't survive! Less work …. Haahahahah! Ignorance …. Pure ignorance !

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  11. Who is that ignorant person…less work? How can I possibly fit any more time into my schedule of 12 hour work days? Unbelievable that a person can be so out of touch!

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  12. What the hell is Unknown talking about? We all should be worried about the teachers. These teachers care about the success of their students more than anyone(sometimes more than the parents). The workload of our teachers is unbearable. They have been offered 0% by the administration. The mayor once admitted the teachers were holding up the district. Guess what? The ones that are still here STILL DO! They don't want more pajama days, they want to teach as they have been trained to do. Overtrained but overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated. Unknown should get a CORI check, fingerprinted and come spend an extended amount of time in a New Bedford Public School. Watch how many hours, days go by with no break, no help, no let-up. (BTW I believe our students are not as dumb as you may be.)

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  13. I think unknown is somehow correct with his assertions…some teachers do all the workand those are usually the principals best buddies who cover for her while the ones that aren't part of the clique do all the work…I think he's talking about one school inparticular,wonder which one??????????????????

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