Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, May 17, 2013

Errr...Excuse Me, Can Someone Explain Why Our School Ranking Sucks?

I received the email below last evening.  I clicked on the enclosed link and found a chart of all the Massachusetts school systems, listed in according to rank as well as their proficiency in English, Math, and Science, their 4 year graduation rate, and the spending per student.

"This is so wrong......why is this not an issue in town?
Tantasqua Sr High (acedemic) #96 of 344 - .......nice
Southbridge High #306 of 344
Tantasqua Vocational #314 of 344  REALLY!
Tantasqua's student/ teacher ratio 10.2
Tantasqua Vocational student/ teacher ratio 26.6

                                                                                                        -- Alan Curboy"

The most interesting ranking is for the Vocational School at 314.  It ranks smack dab in the middle of schools from Lynn, Roxbury, Worcester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Fall River, Lawrence, East Boston, Chelsea, Charlestown, Everett, Boston Lowell, and Revere.  All inner city schools, and then there's Tantasqua Vocational School.

As Big Bird used to sing, "One of these things is not like the other.  One of these things just doesn't belong."

I am totally in the dark on this one, so if you can, please enlighten us.

Tantasqua Senior High

Enrollment: 784
Proficient or higher English Language Arts: 95%
Proficient or higher Math: 85%
Proficient or higher Science: 74%
Reading SAT: 518
Writing SAT: 495
Math SAT: 543
Student / Teacher Ratio: 10:2
4 Year Graduation Rate: 86.9%
Spending Per Student 2011-2012: $12,611

Tantasqua Regional Vocational 

Enrollment: 405
Proficient or higher English Language Arts: 87%
Proficient or higher Math: 69%
Proficient or higher Science: 59%
Reading SAT: 482
Writing SAT: 445
Math SAT: 510
Student / Teacher Ratio: 26:2
4 Year Graduation Rate: 97.4%
Spending Per Student 2011-2012: $12,611


  1. It just goes to show ya that it doesn't take sparklin' new state of the art buildin's with swimmin' pools and sky lights to do good teachin.'
    Did ya notice, too, that more vocational kids stay on to graduate than the regular kids do? 'Guess they're learnin' sumthin' useful anyway.

  2. OK - with the voke kids, how many have jobs after graduating? With the HS kids, how many have a degree/job 5 years after graduation? All high school prepares you for is the next round of education or the working world. Has TRHS made any effort to contact the kids from the Class of 2002 to ask them what they think their alma mater could have done better? Does the state Dept of Ed make any efforts in this direction. Don't agree that the pool is an extravagance, but would like to see it more available to the public that's paying for it.

  3. Learn to love your vocational schoolSunday, May 19, 2013

    Trades and computer tech are great preparations for the real world. The regular high school drop-outs drop out with no skills. Even college educated people who have real technical know-how or a previously learned hands-on vocational education have something to fall back on if times get tough. The only problem with the "voke" school at Tantasqua is that it is unfairly put down, by parents, some teachers, and kids that listen to those parents and certain teachers. Tradesmen make big bucks. Have you hired a carpenter, plumber or electrician lately? I'd rather have a trade than be a Liberal Arts drop out.

  4. When a CEO does a poor job, what Happens? FIRED. When a school CEO does a poor job what happens. Lets keep paying big taxes to pay them big bucks to stand there and defend themselves. Or maybe they will just stay silent and see where the cards fALL. BUT WAIT. Lets send in the A team, First its Horn Covertly of course, $2500.00 report should work on this one. Then call out the BIG DOG to drive it home, after all we have the best trained,best paid best equipped school in the state. I think the ad reads: Teachers and Administrators WANTED apply immediately. Apply town Administrator OH WAIT he got the 500.00 report and gone. Oh well hold off on sending that resume.


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