No Child Left Behind on the Campaign Trail
Sitting in the back of a dimly lighted auditorium at Housatonic Community College here, Sarah Thornton listened as U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican, and Diane Farrell, his Democratic challenger, debated such issues as Medicare and the war in Iraq before asking the candidates about the issue she cared most about: How do they plan to improve Bridgeport’s floundering public school system?
Ms. Thornton said later she doesn’t want her younger sister to find herself in the position she’s in now, struggling to catch up on basic skills in college. She never really learned how to write a paper because she didn’t have a full-time English teacher during three out of her four years at this city’s Central High School, she said, only long-term substitutes who “took attendance and passed us along.” Now, finishing her associate’s degree in general studies at Housatonic, she turns in her papers a week early so that her instructors can give her feedback and she can make corrections.
In response to her query, the candidates touched on education and community revival before shifting to a discussion of taxes and other issues. That...
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