The sounds of silence

To the Editor:
A palatable sound of silence washed over Trumbull social media sites and groups this past week when Trumbull’s student performance on the 2016 Smarter Balanced assessment results were printed across the front page of the CT Post. What did these academic scores conclude? Trumbull’s student performance reflects the exceptional efforts of our entire education team, the work of our Board of Education, the priority our parents place on the education of their children, and the volunteers that make up our community in developing and executing the effort necessary to grow an already exceptional school system.
Not only did our student’s performance exceed the state’s increase in both literacy and mathematics in all grades from three through eight, Trumbull’s 15.8% growth in student performance at the District level from the previous year was the fourth-highest in the entire state. By any measure this should make us all proud to be Trumbullites. It highlights our community as one of choice for families and those who believe not what they see in the rear-view mirror of time; rather, what they see as the possibility of even brighter tomorrows.
While some campaigned last fall on a ticket that hammered away at the current administration and the 2014-15 student performance, this year’s results provides a clearer sign of what the majority party believed to be more indicative of our students in these grade levels. And what have we seen in response? Outside of the majority party, hardly a word posted to social media in support of our students and educators, superintendent or staff; and I have to wonder why? Though the campaign narrative of last year’s election did not play out the way some had hoped we should all be celebrating in the accomplishment of our students. Is it a case of partisanship that the drumbeat of positive comments on social media has been conspicuously absent by those who spoke out the loudest and were the fiercest critics of the current administration? I certainly hope not.
The cacophony of withering social media posts on all sorts of issues is seemingly never-ending, and yet, when the opportunity comes to set aside partisanship, extend congratulations to our students, educators and parents, and collectively speak of our Trumbull pride, little is heard but the sound of silence.
I understand those who support the kind of government offered by the minority last fall; it appears that the performance of our students does not fit that narrative. The positive assessment results are not something that a glossy flyer stuck in your door can wipe away, nor will it be diminished by the sound of silence.
Let’s show our better selves to each other. More importantly, let’s show that better self to our students and educators, they deserve nothing less. They deserve a collective cheer, one that washes over every district and school, until it becomes so loud that the sound of silence becomes a song of praise for our accomplishments as a community.

Mark Block, R-3
Town Council