At last week’s Windham and New London Board of Education meetings, concerned parents and public school advocates handed out flyers educating citizens about the damage Steven Adamowski did when he served as Hartford’s superintendent of schools and warning Windham and New London residents, now that Adamowski has been put in charge of their school districts.
Earlier this year, Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, appointed Steven Adamowski Special Master of Windham’s Schools and then expanded his authority as the Special Master of New London’s Schools. In a no-bid contract, Pryor gave Adamowski a compensation package of $225,000 per year plus benefits.
Adamowski, who along with Paul Vallas, is considered one of the country’s leading “education reformers,” has long sought to claim credit for increasing standardized test scores and graduation rates in Hartford.
Wait, What? readers will recall that the claim that he increased standardized test scores overlooked the fact that the improvement was primarily due to his decision to remove ten percent of the lowest performing students from actually taking the Connecticut Mastery Tests.
The flyer that was given out at the recent board meetings focused on Adamowski’s claim that he also improved graduation rates.
However, as the flyer noted, the truth is that Adamowski “imposed a minimum failing grade of 55 for all students, whether or not they attended classes.” By demanding that teachers give a grade of no less than 55, including forcing teachers to go back and change grades that were lower than that, Adamowski created a situation in which students could pass a course by only attending classes for one marking period, since all they needed to do was get their grade up to a 60 to pass. That change, along with a few other gimmicks, meant that students who were once failing were suddenly passing, thereby increasing Hartford’s “graduation” rates.
For full coverage of the parent action and the response from the Chairman of the Windham Board of education go to: http://www.remindernews.com/article/2012/08/26/parents-teachers-oppose-special-master-methods
As I said in the article and will repeat here,
“Steven Adamowski represents the new breed of corporate school administrators, people driven by privatizing public education, reducing teacher input and implementing programs that target scarce resources to the ‘best’ students while undermining educational opportunities for the vast majority…. His claim to fame is creating the appearance that he increased standardized test scores in Hartford, when what he really did was stop giving the test to the 10 percent of students most likely to have lower scores. Removing them created the illusion that students across the board scored better. It was a gimmick that has now become a ‘tool’ of education reformers who believe it is better to make things look good, than actually change the quality of education.” - Jonathan Pelto