More on the New Britain schools

The Hartford Courant has an article today (thx, Tom) about a review of the New Britain school system:

An independent review of the city’s schools paints a grim picture of the chronic problems the school district faces as it strives to help students become better learners, saying more needs to be done to improve communication and provide a clear blueprint to help increase student achievement.

The analysis by the Cambridge Group, a private consultant the state hired to evaluate New Britain and other underperforming districts in Connecticut, concluded that city schools do a good job of promoting diversity and extracurricular activities, but still need a lot of improvement in the critical areas concerning academic achievement.

. . .

Though acknowledging the many financial and socioeconomic constraints under which the district operates, the findings are nonetheless critical of several of Kurtz’s efforts to raise flagging test scores in the statewide mastery tests and other standardized tests used to evaluate the district’s overall level of student achievement.

In particular, the report noted that the district’s overall vision for improving achievement is often “compromised” by numerous initiatives that Kurtz has launched in recent years to help raise test scores.

Super! But there’s hope for the future, right? Well, no:

Because of the city’s low-income population and limited tax base, the report noted, the district will continue to have difficulty keeping up.

That’s terrific. Just terrific.

I’m a little unsure how to gloss “promoting diversity and extracurricular activities”: Does promoting modify diversity, or extra-curricular activities, too? I will say that the superintendent spent a couple of minutes during her opening remarks Saturday promoting the “highly professional” student production of Beauty and the Beast at New Britain High, and giving out free tickets to it.
I can’t say much about the particulars of the report, since we’ve not officially started in the schools yet, but obviously I’ll be watching this pretty closely. Not just because of the boy, either: CCSU is in New Britain, obviously, and so it seems to me that we ought to take a special interest in our hometown school district.

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