School Committee Candidates need to do their Homework!


I’m hoping that the number of people who pulled papers for School Committee are also people who are willing to discuss issues head on, do their homework and not expect School personal to be their data research staff. Please know the facts and don’t make statements that leave people wondering what the heck you are thinking or talking about.

Bob Hoey yesterday on City Life : Lowell needs its own Trade School.

WHAT??? Why would a former School Committee member state on City Life that the City needs its own Trade School? Has he looked at the number of students Lowell sends to the GLRTHS? Does he understand the dollar amount Lowell contributes? Does he understand Lowell is looking at renovating or building a new High School? That Lowell has met Net School spending and money is tight? Why with all the other issues facing the School System would a candidate even make such a statement?

A quick check with the Tech yesterday and I find that The wait list by municipality is as follows:

Blank 1
Dracut 9
Lowell 94
Tyngsborough 3

For that we need to spend millions building a new school and buying land? According to Mr. Hoey “It would make Brian Martin’s life so much easier at the High School if these bored students could be sent to a trade school.

Really, that is why you invest millions of dollars? To make life easier for an administrator?

Mr. Hoey didn’t know the Drop-out rate at LHS: According to the Mass Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2013 the annual dropout rate (%) 2.2

Here’s a few other facts about LHS: Total number of students for 2014/2015 3,034

2014 In-school suspension rate (%) 22.0 2014 Out-of-school suspension rate (%) 15.0

Mr. Hoey stated he was going to ask for a 2 year Report on the Violence in Lowell Schools. This is something that bothers me not about Mr. Hoey but about many Elected Officials and candidates. They want someone who has a full-time job in the School Dept. to get them Data that if they spend 15-20 minutes looking can find it for themselves.

On the Mass Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Website you can find this report:
2013-14 Student Discipline Data Report (SCHOOL)

Then you can search by all sorts of Categories:
2. Physical fight – All Students
Report Type:
3. Threat of Physical Attack
4. Physical Attack, Assault – (non-sexual)

and many other categories are available all a candidate has to do is spend some time finding the information, then sitting down with the Administration to try to understand what the numbers really mean.

Some more information you can find if you bother to look.

Student/Teacher Ratio for all of Lowell Schools 14.0 to 1 The State Average 13.3 to 1

75.1% of ALL Lowell students qualified as Low Income in the 2014-15 October Enrollment

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Chronicle absentee rates have dropped in Lowell Schools over the past 5 year
Chronically absent % 2010/21.5% – 2011 /22.2% – 2012/18.9% – 2013 /18.3% and in 2014 /17.9%

This current School Committee may be dysfunctional but we don’t need candidates who are unwilling to do some research or un-knowledgeable about the issues in their place. We need people who are willing to do a little research on their own and then once they find the answers, ask the questions.

Is assigning a police officer in every school really the best use of the Lowell police Dept. resources for 6 hours a day? Mr. Hoey thought so! He stated that on City Life. Where is the funding for those officers supposed to come from?

I don’t mean to pick on him, especially since he is so far the only candidate speaking publicly about anything but some of his answers or thoughts are so far off what the Lowell School Dept. needs that it is frustrating.

PLEASE will any and all candidates go to the Mass Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Website (link above) and look at some numbers so you can answer some basic questions? Will you take the time to talk to current and former school committee members and the current administration and have a basic understanding of what these numbers mean. Can you research the key issues that need to be addressed in this race and be able to take and defend a position on them?

In my view the key issues in this race that need to be addressed and answered by all candidates are:

A) How will you address the Teacher’s Contract issue and what is your stance on negotiating?
B) Will you commit to supporting the current Supt. of Schools?
C) Should the High School stay or move out of the Downtown?
D) How will you work with your fellow committee members to insure that the dysfunction and personal animosity among current members doesn’t exist in the next two years?