Education is the a cornerstone of modern American society and democracy. Everywhere we look communities are being judged by the quality of the education they provide to their students. The housing market is proof positive that we understand at a fundamental level that quality education is one of the most valuable tools we can give to our children. Even if not all children decide to go onto college, the skills provided by high school education, the ability to read, write, understand math and science, can drastically improve their quality of life. It is fundamental that we, as a society, make sure our schools are not failing our children.
For the last 10 years, however, the quality of education in New Britain has been in steep decline. Not only have we seen declines in test scores, but we have seen falling attendance rates, we have seen falling graduation rates, we have seen increases in the number of student expulsions and in the cases of chronic absenteeism. Should we, like many suggest, say that these declines are beyond our control? Should we accept that students of today just aren’t the same as students of yesterday?
Our duty, as a community, is to find our way back. We must engage and motivate students. We must applaud those teachers and administrators who are making a difference while we address the needs of those who are not. We must hold our teachers, our administrators, and ourselves accountable. We can rebuild our community’s schools, and in doing so we rebuild our community.