Manchester school audit points finger at school committee itself
This was the broad conclusion, expressed in more precise and academic terms in a nearly 280-page report, of an audit of the Manchester School District conducted over the past school year.
"Overall, we found the school committee members well-intentioned. But sometimes you need people with no ties to the district to say this is different than average," she said, singling out the board's tendency "to blur governance and administrative functions."
The overarching problem facing the district, Birmingham said, is a lack of curriculum alignment and assessment across the schools. State Department of Education reviews have found similar problems.
Birmingham led a team of four auditors, who visited every classroom in the district, reviewed many documents and conducted more than 90 interviews with teachers, administrators, parents and other "stakeholders," she said.
Birmingham said there appeared to be a willingness to accept the wide achievement gap between white and minority students — and she also noted that there very few teachers of color, whereas 34 percent of the district's students are minority.
"I think this should be used for the strategic plan," Birmingham said. "This is tremendous a gift to your new superintendent."
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