Not There Yet
East Haven Public Schools has less of a money problem and more of a leadership problem. With over 33 open jobs, the students are falling behind in math, reading, and science. For the last seven years, nearly 20% of every high school senior class does not graduate with a diploma. Currently, over 17.3% of town district children participate in special education. This number increases annually while families have to scramble to learn education law and find specialists, psychologists, and professionals to request Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans. Many of the town children’s needs cannot be met in town, and children are bussed and receive specialized services throughout Connecticut.
Over the last year, the school administration has not applied for state grants to enhance music teaching in elementary schools. Superintendent Erica Forti promised a stringed-instrument program over two years ago that was never realized. The middle school did not participate in STEM activities such as CT Invention Convention activities, CT History Day projects, robotics computing challenges, and environmental education.
Every year, the superintendent’s evaluation is done behind closed doors in an executive session at a Board of Education meeting. Instead of adopting state-recognized evaluation criteria, East Haven lacks quantitative measurements of non-teaching staff, and the load of carrying them takes away money from students. Parents, teachers, staff, and students should share in the responsibility of evaluating the school system, learning where the money goes, and making decisions to use the funding that will directly benefit our children. Many children attend school out of town, and others have to take their causes into courtrooms. We are not there yet!