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Bristol, Whispering Sweet Nothings in Your Ear

Posted by whforums on July 6, 2008

Ah, Bristol.

When I think of Bristol, I think of Muzzy Field, ESPN and Lake Compounce. Apparently, though, Bristol doesn’t think so romantically when it thinks about West Hartford. When Bristol thinks about us, it thinks competitively.

According to the Bristol Blog, a subsidiary blog of the Bristol Press, the town of Bristol is using West Hartford elementary schools as a measuring stick for its own test scores (rather than its usual stablemates of Ansonia, Middletown, Stamford, East Hartford and Norwich). And so far “they’re finding that Bristol is doing pretty well.”

Gauging Stafford School, one of Bristol’s higher achieving elementary schools, against all 11 West Hartford elementary schools, Bristol found that “Only three of West Hartford’s 11 primary schools beat Stafford on the tests for each subject.” Chippen Hill Middle School, also gauged against West Hartford’s public schools, “lagged behind.” Apparently, “the initial data doesn’t cover Bristol’s lowest-performing schools.”

Not bad being the standard against which others measure themselves, right?

ps – If you’re a Bristol Red Sox fan, you can get some quasi-cool, old school gear here. I’m a buyer if somebody can produce a hat like the one above …

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8 Responses to “Bristol, Whispering Sweet Nothings in Your Ear”

  1. Greg said

    Fear not! After the budget-floggers finish having their way, West Hartford’s school system will be dismantled to the point where it’ll be us looking up to them. PS — they already pay their teachers more than we do…

  2. Cynic said

    Wake up, our system has been on the decline for years. This did not happen over night and certainly not with the recent budget cycles.

    The BOE (and Town) must go through the budgets find the waste and streamline things.

    Enfield just finished a managerial audit of the BOE and they found lots of waste and mismanagement. Of course as in this town the powers that be resisted this audit.

  3. pick up my leaves said

    It’s only good to be the “standard” if you can uphold it. Cynic is right. Our schools are slipping and its only a matter of time before our reputation slips too. And then what will happen to our property values?

  4. Taxed said

    Maybe our scores wouldn’t be slipping if teachers weren’t under so much pressure from parents and students to always hand out A’s.
    In this town when Johnny or Suzy bring home anything less many, many parents call the teacher to make a stink and campaign for a higher score for their remarkable child(ren). The kids, too, have caught on to this and start the campaigning themselves.

  5. Cynic said

    “Taxed Says:
    July 7, 2008 at 10:26 am
    Maybe our scores wouldn’t be slipping if teachers weren’t under so much pressure from parents and students to always hand out A’s.
    In this town when Johnny or Suzy bring home anything less many, many parents call the teacher to make a stink and campaign for a higher score for their remarkable child(ren). The kids, too, have caught on to this and start the campaigning themselves.”

    That has been one of my gripes as well. Mommy screams and little Johnny’s grade goes up.

    No body gets left back.

    Didn’t do well on the test, don’t worry you can take it again.

    What does Honors mean anymore, now that half the class is in “honors”. They now have honors, high honrs and maximum honors- no wonder colleges are confused when these kids apply. They now have to take AP courses to set themselves apart from the crowd.

  6. whforums said

    College honors are the same — Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude.

    I’m a bit surprised by everybody’s Chicken Little tone. West Hartford remains a competitive district, winning significant awards in the 06-07 school year (dunno about this year). And I’m pretty sure there are many, many districts that could single out one school that would stack up well against our elementary schools across the board (I wonder how our highest achieving elementary school would stack up against Bristol’s elementary schools as a whole?). I was more taken aback by the hasty conclusion that Bristol seemed to be simultaneously drawing and admitting (thus the “sweet nothings”).

    Oh. And Greg is right … Bristol is paying their teachers about $4,000 a year more, on average, according to state numbers, so shame on us. Not sure about their per-pupil expenditures.

  7. Taxed said

    Hartford pays their teachers more…I think its considered combat pay. They also have a higher per pupil expenditure.
    < $$ ≠ higher scores.

  8. whforums said

    I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s that easy. Granted, dollars are only one measure — a district can spend $20,000 a kid, and if they only buy pencils and no paper, that kid will perform far worse than the district that spends $10,000 wisely. But I think most districts are spending wisely, and to pretend there’s no relationship between per-pupil expenditure and student performance — to pretend there’s no point of diminishing returns — seems foolish to me.

    In my limited experience, the best schools are those schools where the teachers are happy. Give me 15 satisfied teachers and I’ll bet you’d find a high level of student engagement …

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