Letter: Shabby treatment for a talented schools superintendent

To the editor:

At last perhaps Superintendent Colley can have some relief from the constant nit-picking of a few small-minded town officers, both appointed and elected, with whom he has been remarkably patient.

How about some transparency about this forced “sabbatical.”  As far as I can see, it is unfair and a result of pettiness. Perhaps that is why we are not told the reason.

What a loss for Westport of one more talented and dedicated person who has contributed more to the town than their naysayers have.  Are there too many with power here who are in love with mediocrity?

Can there be any greater indictment of the dumbing down of our public education system than this action and that of the extremists in the federal government?  How ironic that Russian citizens now in Washington, D.C., supposedly to learn how great our democracy is, are seeing just the opposite.  Our claims to celebrate democracy have been proven hollow.  We have lost our credibility as the world watches it fail here.

We need good educators like Dr. Colley to redress years of poor education. Just recently, National Pubic Radio gave schools of education in the United States a failing grade, one long overdo.  We have gone from fad to fad with no improvement.

When I was in elementary school we had geography and world history and learned how the federal government works.  Today some citizens think that one person can change laws by him or herself, although there are 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 in the Senate.

Democracy is the art of compromise but too many of our poorly educated citizens do not understand that.  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams said that for democracy to survive everyone must be educated.  People today give lip service to the need for good education but their actions speak against them, as funding is cut and teachers are demoralized by constantly increasing class sizes, discipline problems,  and too much paperwork.

Superintendent Colley has been judicious, patient, cool under pressure, has saved the town money, has spent more time than he is paid for — with what reward?  MCAS scores have risen under his tenure.  Parents have found him accessible.  What a shame that we treat him so shabbily!

Grace G. Newcomer

Westport

2 Comments

  1. westportknows said:

    Grace,
    I am not sure how much you know about how Government works, but the School Committee cannot discuss personnel issues in public. I have heard others demand to know why he has requested a leave of absence, if they want to know they should ask Dr. Colley directly.
    Secondly, I and many parents do not share your enthusiasm toward Dr. Colley. Many teachers have no confidence in him either. Recently, he refused to help them get reimbursed for training and other items and had to have the School Committee order him to do it. He refused to give FMLA time to a teacher who has a child with cancer and does not have a good prognosis. Even his two staunch supporters on the School Committee found it hard to justify his actions at that meeting.
    He has not been good for Westport and his contract never should have been renewed for three years. I welcome Dr. Dargon into the position and hope she can truly lead the schools toward a brighter future.
    Maybe the School Committee should discuss having a Superintendent and a Business Manager.

    • New Townie said:

      Isn’t the “personnel issue” just a way for the school committee to overcome the embarrassment of losing control over the situation? If this is about confidentiality, why would you know about a FMLA situation? Furthermore, you have no idea what opinion the majority of parents have of Dr. Colley. In the end, the results speak for themselves. He was in charge during a turnaround. He deserves credit.

      This is typical in Westport. There has been a distasteful campaign against Dr. Colley since his arrival. No one ever publicly states facts. It’s all done through heresy and comment boards.

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