By Framingham Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay
FRAMINGHAM – For most of us, a headline like that would make us sick to our stomach, but it would certainly capture our attention.
When I read headlines about districts being judged by their standardized test performance in the wake of an ongoing global pandemic, I get that same sick feeling!
I’m a bottom-line-up-front kind of guy, so let me start off with an important message to the critical onlookers of public education who are, because of MCAS performance headlines in the media, disappointed: If you are measuring a district’s success solely by standardized test performance in a pandemic, then I would advise you be more sensitive to trauma and more aware of your privilege.
Increasingly, people have taken their voice to social media as though this is the place where problems are resolved or where facts are uncovered.
Sadly, this medium has become less about staying connected with one another and more about instigating fights and adding fuel to spiraling negative fires that burn our spirits.
Why not a headline that reads, Five-Year-Old Learns to Read from his Teacher, Online, Even Though The Child Has No Internet Access at Home. Or, Despite the Ongoing Pandemic, Students Continue to Learn and Grow Because They are Provided with Food Security in a Time of Global Crisis. We could all go on with hundreds of our own headlines. None would have to spotlight standardized test performance and dips over the last 18 months in the wake of a global pandemic that shut the doors to education and services for students unlike any other time in our lives. You get my point.
Kindness and love can prevail, but that is not the narrative that some choose. Let’s use the social media networks that we troll and press the media that we consume to instead celebrate the good work that our educators, administrators, staff and families do every day in the name of caring for and loving children. If we truly hope to work together to create an environment where children can learn and thrive and be surrounded by positive role models and examples in their community, then I suggest we acknowledge that the world is hurting, traumatized, and in need of healing and stop the blaming and expressions of disappointment. As the adults in the room, we all have a responsibility to be better than that.