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Tag: Dr. James Milgram

Manchester Proud: An objective effort or a stacked deck?

Now that serious, undisclosed conflicts between Manchester Proud and Reaching Higher NH have been exposed, very serious questions about the integrity and direction of this effort to develop a strategic plan for the Manchester School District have to be asked.  Over and over again, leaders of Manchester Proud have emphatically stated they have no agenda, no political affiliations, no bias and no predetermined outcomes.  They have asserted their efforts will be guided by the input they receive from stakeholders across the city.  Those assurances have come  in response to questions and concerns I have consistently raised both privately and...

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(Don’t) Ask the School Board about MHT Academic Standards

(Hour 3a) We were surprised to hear about the actions of Manchester School Board member John Avard’s actions on a Facebook page he startedback in April. Ask the School Board became a very popular FB Group during the Jewett Street School redistricting controversy. But it seems that questions on the Manchester Academic Standards by citizens and “lobbyists” are irking Avard, who is banning members and removing their posts.  Say it ain’t so, John! 07-30-2014 Hour...

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On Air News Read for July 16, 2104

07-16-2014 News Assistant Manchester Superintendent of Schools David Ryan might have some explaining to do.  At Monday’s meeting of the Board of School Committee, Ryan said that nationally renowned English Language Arts specialist and Common Core critic Dr. Sandra Stotsky, wasn’t more involved in the assembly of the district’s proposed standards because she made a couple of demands on the district they were unwilling to meet before working further with the teachers.  We emailed Stotsky to ask just what demands she made and she replied as follows, quote:  “Ryan needs to be asked what ‘demands’ I made on the district.  I have copies of all our emails.   I’ve told you already what I asked to see.  1) A complete document, not bits and pieces of E L A standards at different grade levels, with a clear Table of Contents for the whole document so that the progressions are clear from grade to grade.  2) A document that indicates which standards are above the “Common Core floor” that the Mayor and the Board asked for, to begin with.”  End quote. Funny, but that seems to be what some folks in the public who are being asked to comment on the standards are asking for, too.  Anyway, we also think it bears noting that while there was at least some communication between the district and Stotsky, there was absolutely no...

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MHT Academic Standards: A Failure to Communicate

(Hour 3a) Strother Martin couldn’t have said it better in the Paul Newman film “Cool Hand Luke” when he uttered the famous words, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” We pushed hard for public hearings and the publication of the Manchester Academic Standards.  Rich assessed the results yielded so far from a process intent on simply unpacking Common Core standards instead of shooting for something superior, while ignoring the advice of experts. Replay that Strother Martin clip! Read about last night’s school board meeting 07-15-2014 Hour...

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Gatsas on Academic Standards, Jr. Steam Ahead, Job Corps

(Hour 3b, c) We never have a failure to communicate with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.  He answers the bell every week and we appreciate his time. Rich queried Gatsas on the state of the Academic Standards, last week’s public hearing and the one coming this week. His honor had much to say about the drafted standards that “aren’t etched in stone.” (Hour 3b) 07-15-2014 Hour 3b Mayor Gatsas was eager to discuss the Jr. STEAM Ahead program that Dean Kamen is participating in.  Getting kids involved in the STEAM Ahead initiative before High School sounds like a great idea to...

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On Air News Read for July 9, 2014

07-09-2014 News Well does she or doesn’t she?  That’s now the question as Simon Says Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Health Care Queen, scrambles in light of Portsmouth Herald reports that she supports an increase in the federal gas tax.  In light of a confusing series of statements on the issue, a correspondent for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire asked Shaheen directly, on camera, whether or not she supported an increase in the national gas tax.  She said quote “I’m not going to answer that question right now.”  End quote.  This amidst statements made by her campaign to media outlets that she’s not voted for an increase in the gas tax and is not in favor of one.  Hm, looks like she might have suddenly remembered it’s an election year.  Anyway, the question that remains is not whether or not she’s flip flopped on raising the gas tax, but whether she’ll go with her original statement in favor of jacking the tax if reelected or will honor her campaign’s denial of support.  We both know the answer to that one, don’t we. The Manchester Health Department announced yesterday that it had again closed the public beach at Crystal Lake due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. The elevated bacteria levels were identified in routine water samples taken on Monday.  Water samples taken at other locations on Crystal Lake did not find elevated levels...

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On Air News Read for June 10, 2014

06-10-2014 News Last night’s meeting of the Manchester Board of School Committee somehow managed to be all that was expected, a let down and more than predicted all rolled into one.  Interim Central High School Principal John Rist presented  Central’s accreditation report.  Looks like the Little Green is in pretty good shape, having received some four dozen commendations for the work being done within its four walls.  Administrators say that’s a high number to receive.  There were also about three dozen recommendations for improvement or change, thirty one of which Rist said were beyond the control of the people working in the building.  You might imagine the plaudits had to do with the amazing, innovative job educators are doing with available resources and the areas of improvement had to do with providing educators with more resources to do their jobs.  Rist had one of the lines of the night when he said money isn’t always the answer and throwing money at problems doesn’t necessarily work, but let’s try it for a year and see how it goes.  Yes, it was funny.  Rist said, overall, they were pleased with the report and that nothing caught them off guard. One of the shortfall areas had to do with technology.  In response to questions posed by Mayor Ted Gatsas, Rist said the accreditation committee was not aware of the two point eight...

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On Air News Read for June 9, 2014

06-09-2014 News A big week for the city of Manchester is ahead as both the Board of School Committee and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet and big items are on their agendas.  Tonight, the school board is in session.  On its agenda is the presentation of Central’s accreditation report.  Yup, it’s actually on the agenda, all seventy one pages of it.  I think I’ll need an interpreter to gather what it’s saying, but there’s lots of references to twenty first century learning and expectations, and of course, adequate funding for a variety of items. Also on the agenda is a presentation regarding The Manchester Academic Standards.  Since the school district did not send them to the standards experts that had offered their input free of charge, Dr. James Milgram and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, we did.  Milgram said with the exception of Geometry, where he said the standards were better, what the district’s posted on its Web site is little more than a rehash of the Common Core national standards.  Stotsky, who has met once with the district’s standards writers, said the standards posted to the site were incomplete and that she needed to see a number of key elements before she knew whether or not there’d been any improvement over the Common Core.  She seemed frustrated with the district’s lack of response to her follow up inquiries....

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Math Teacher Pans MHT Academic Standards

(Hour 1b) The final drafts of the Manchester Academic Standards are coming next week.  At least one local Math teacher has major concerns. Rich read an e-mail that Natalie Brankin sent to the School District with those concerns. Brankin isn’t alone.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Dr. James Milgram share her concerns.  “These are Common Core standards, except Geometry,” says Milgram. Did Superintendent Debra Livingston and Assistant Super David Ryan work an “in house job” with teachers developing Common Core standards instead of superior ones that parents are demanding? 06-05-2014 Hour 1b...

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Livingston Responds on MHT Academic Standards, OCR Report

(Hour 1b) Our humble host received a surprise phone call from the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Debra Livingston. Livingston set the record straight on Common Core alligned curricular guides in the schools, the Academic Standards, classroom leveling and the settlement with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education. Rich commented on federally-funded “White Privilege” workshops being provided for teachers, courtesy of you know who. Funded, naturally, by our tax dollars.  Read more in the On Air News Read 05-28-2014 Hour...

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