Letter: Stop wasting time looking to discredit the messenger
To the Editor:
I read with great interest the article written by Kathy Healy Champion on the subject of U.S. News and World Report and Trumbull High School. Ms. Champion is a well-respected journalist, so, it is fitting that a subject as important to our community as education would be penned by someone of her caliber. I hope this will inspire greater community discussion on the importance of our education system and the future of education in Trumbull.
In Mr. Testani’s follow-up letter, Ms. Champion’s article was met with the usual denunciations of the author followed by a litany of defensive statistics in an attempt to discredit the thesis of this piece that focuses only on 2016 high school rankings as reported by U.S. News and World Report. While expected, that is exactly the wrong reaction. Instead, I would hope that the town administration, the school administration and the community at large would step back and reflect on where we are and where we are going. We as a community should never be satisfied when a reliable report shows that Trumbull High School was neither state nor nationally ranked.
We have great students who are supported by outstanding teachers, administrators, and parents. We have strong community involvement in our schools and have won a reputation for having very successful competitive academic teams and strong extracurricular activities like our nationally recognized band, our athletic teams and our music and drama programs. We are all proud of this. However, in the hyper competitive environment we are facing, it is not enough. In order to ensure that every student has the opportunity to reach their potential we need to reprioritize resources on updating curriculum and professional development, adding more language instruction in earlier grades, increasing AP participation, expanding our academic and mental health support services, and finally, adding some cutting edge courses such as coding in elementary school. These are precisely the kinds of things I and others have spoken about for years.
Mr. Testani’s letter in response to Ms. Champion misses the point. In contrast, I am happy to say that our superintendent gets it. Rather than being dismissive or defensive, the superintendent acknowledges the importance of these rankings.That is an important first step. The school administration is making some long overdue improvements to address this issue such as increasing our enrollment numbers in AP courses and that is good but it simply is not enough. We must ensure that our elementary and middle school curriculums are current so all students have the foundation and support they need to be challenged to not only succeed in higher level classes but at every level.
This will require a change in approach. We need to talk to one another and find solutions that work and stop wasting time looking to discredit the messenger. We can’t change the past but we can and must work together to improve our children’s future.