Re: “In city schools, looks can be deceiving” (Oct. 6): As Assistant Superintendent Garth Harries pointed out during the discussion panel hosted by the Yale Democrats last Wednesday, “Education Reform in New Haven: The Next Phase,” the excellent physical condition of New Haven’s public schools testifies to the community’s investment in the education it provides to its young people.

That said, everyone acknowledges that there is a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to test scores, graduation rates and successful transitions to college. Perhaps most strikingly, Connecticut as a whole is home to the worst achievement gap in the nation between low-income minority children and their nonminority middle-class peers.

These are precisely the reasons I believe there is an urgent need for a broad and serious effort to overhaul the school system. Reform will enable the district to hire, develop and retain talented, passionate teachers and to apply for major federal grants through the Obama administration’s education initiatives. In the coming weeks, education reform will take center stage in New Haven politics. I encourage all Yale students to familiarize themselves with the Mayor’s plan for school reform and to lend their support to changes that serve the needs of New Haven’s young people. As residents of the city, we cannot afford to be silent on this vital issue.

Michael Gocksch

Oct. 9

The writer is a sophomore in Trumbull College and a member of the Yale College Democrats Lobbying Committee.