But this unfortunate predicament was made worse by the less-publicized problems that preceded it. It was merely the final straw placed into a pile that collapsed under its own weight. It highlights the need for a new beginning, a renewal of sorts for a school system that has at times been its own worst enemy, starting with the school committee that oversees it.
The ongoing battles between school committee members and Superintendent Pia Durkin have been harmful to the system as a whole. Durkin has been a lame duck for some time now, and will become the leader of the New Bedford school system starting this next school year. Her professionalism has been magnificent when compared to that of her bosses on the school committee.
In the meantime, the many truly important educational challenges facing city students and parents have been pushed to the background. The newspapers and television stations talk about Attleboro’s school lunches rather than their school curriculum. What is being served for meals is discussed more than what is being taught to students to prepare them for their futures.
This is what happens when political concerns take precedence over educational ones. It is what happens when a superintendent and her bosses are on different pages – regardless of where the fault for those differences belongs. It is what happens when adults concentrate too much on other adults, and not enough on children.
It is also what happens when parents simply don’t pay enough attention. It is their responsibility to use the power of their ballots to elect people and then hold them accountable. Going to an occasional meeting or writing an occasional note is not enough. There is no substitute for involvement.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.