"Malden went from under 100 qualifying scores in these AP courses for 2008 to almost 250 qualifying scores in 2013."
And that's because way back in 2008 Malden correctly identified a problem and acted to correct it, while Melrose focuses instead on perpetual PR, whitewash, and coverup of its problems, jumping on any lifeline, but way too little and too late. Malden also had and has a competent teaching staff, which Melrose cannot claim at this point, and will have even further trouble as the exodus of its most qualified teachers continues (especially with the new contract incentive for the veteran teachers to leave) right along with the refusal of the best educators even to apply for employment here due to the increasingly poor reputation of the district.
The current administration will embrace the MIMSY grant, should it come through, as they should. But meanwhile they continue to make foolish administrative choices that will undermine any good effort with several bad ones--like the nonsense we heard about adding AP Bio for freshmen instead of fixing (today, not five years from now) the atrocious problems in AP Bio for current students. Maybe it's good that six years from now AP scores will begin improving in Melrose, which my family will appreciate, but it's terrible what's happening for students caught in the mess now as the pawns in a bad political game with a community that is choosing to buy the spin instead of look at the truth that can be seen pretty easily.
Brodeur isn't wrong to promote this thing, and it is something that should be offered statewide. But he should also have taken the time do so some heavy lifting when it comes to his home district. He has never once come forward when it counted because it might have been messy and required some actual backbone. In fact he was the force behind the Foss Science Kits foolishness (called out rightfully by Monica when it was improperly on his own stationery). Science education in the district has only gotten worse, declining significantly in the few years since that purchase and implementation under the current "leadership" by the new science chair and super; with lots of excuses while other districts have done well throughout.
Time to hold all of these pols and administrators truly accountable!
May 02. 2014 3:42PM
Rep. Brodeur: A bold new direction for Melrose schools
Melrose is a special place that I’m proud to call home. Thanks to a commitment to investment in education and innovation, I know that students in this city can compete with students from anywhere in the world.
This year, we have an opportunity to take this city’s excellence to new heights, using an innovative math, science and English program that will challenge our students to be better than ever before, putting them on a path to college and career success.
Melrose is poised to join about 40 other communities participating in Mass Insight Education’s "Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative" (MMSI). This landmark effort began in 2008, when our state was one of just six chosen to participate in an innovative program funded by the National Math and Science Initiative, creating the state’s largest high school STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
The program is dedicated to dramatically increasing participation and success in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Since 2008, the year Mass Insight Education began the program, both participation and performance have more than doubled in math, science and English AP courses. AP courses are one of the strongest indicators of future success in college-level courses.
This dramatic improvement in student success is not simply a promise on paper; the uptick in college success is real. Tracking of MMSI graduates through college shows that the students who attended MMSI-participating high schools not only matriculated to college at a higher rate but also continued through college at a higher rate than both state and national averages.
We need not look further than neighboring Malden to understand the success of this program. The number of qualifying scores on English, math and science AP courses increased 150 percent over five years. Malden went from under 100 qualifying scores in these AP courses for 2008 to almost 250 qualifying scores in 2013.
Melrose just joined the AP college success program this year, and the results in Malden directly prompted my effort to expand this program statewide. We have a tremendous opportunity, and the city of Malden is poised to take advantage.
This opportunity can be seized by other cities and towns throughout the state, including Wakefield. I hope to start a discussion with the Wakefield school system, most especially Dr. Stephen Zrike, the superintendent, and the Wakefield School Committee. If the MMSI initiative is a good fit for Wakefield, I feel it can do a tremendous amount of good.
Currently, the House budget proposal, totaling $36.2 billion, allocates $2.6 million — or 0.007 percent — to funding this program. Some of my colleagues and I are asking that the allocating would increase to $4 million. While the percentage of the total budget that this item takes up would still be negligible, the increase would be transformative for schools across the state.
Pursuit of success in education should never be out of a student’s reach due to a lack of funding. We know that this is a proven program, and we have the resources to transform education in the cities and towns that need it most. I feel that every student throughout the 32nd Middlesex is capable and deserving of such promising academic success.
This initiative is a game-changer for schools in the commonwealth, and I will work as hard as I can to make sure that its benefits can be fully realized.
State Rep. Paul Brodeur, D-Melrose, represents the 32nd Middlesex District, which includes all of Melrose and portions of Wakefield and Malden.
Maybe Brodeur should show some guts and cut the benefits for all the illegals--think about how much money would be available for the citizens!
The problems in Melrose begin and end with the principals and teaching staff. Look no further than the ridiculous decisions to add AP classes for freshman, who don't have a sufficient background coming out of MVMMS to succeed in these courses. The high school administration refuses to look at the performance of their teaching staff; a few AP courses show students have consistent high scores on the test, and others have consistent failure rates....going back years. But, if you ask administrators, it's NEVER the result of the teachers performance. EVER. In all my years in this district, I have NEVER heard a principal admit that MAYBE, just maybe, the teachers ability to teach the material had any correlation to students performance in a classroom. The total lack of self-awareness that educators display is simply mind-boggling. It's why so many parents supported JD LaRock when he served on the school committee, because he seemed to be the only one who would actually point that out....you can't take credit for students successes, then fail to take responsibility for their failures. But that's what educators do.
Honestly, I was excited when a new group of administrators came in, I thought MHS might make some progress, but it's pretty apparent that nothing is going to change. With the exception of a few hard working professionals, I see no changes in teaching performance, god help your kid if they have the misfortune to get (fill-in-the-blank) teacher, the kids will tell you who gives out all A's like candy, who seems to hate the students, who doesn't complete the curriculum so that they fail the finals and midterms. Dealing with difficult personnel issues requires real management skills and professionalism....also, a desire to improve the classroom experience for students. It's hard, thankless work. So it never gets done. Instead, the kids get offered more "fun" electives, and the parents of younger children, who don't know any better, think the district is being progressive by offering college level courses for freshman.
We can hash this out and rehash this again and again on this forum, on the sidelines at the games, or over coffee with friends. The reality is, nothing is going to change. Melrose High will serve most kids just fine...you don't need AP classes to get into all the open admission state schools and third tier privates that most of the kids from Melrose end up at. Lots of parents aren't that involved or invested about their kid's education, they think it's the kid's job to figure it out and they don't want to expend any energy worrying about it. And there will always be a small handful of kids at the top who will excel no matter what. It's the broad swath of hard working, smart, ambitious students, who hope to get into a slightly selective private, or competitive program at a good public, or need to get some merit aid to afford the school they want....they are the ones who are hurt by what has happened to the high school.
I think dissatisfaction with the high school will continue to grow, as the demographic in Melrose continues to evolve, and older, more educated parents...who seem to be moving into Melrose in droves....get more exposure to the quality of the staff at the high school. What they will do about it, I'm not sure. But for the kids who are already there, I don't see any hope for improvement.