Constructiveness, Collaboration, Cooperation, Consensus?
No Way José! We’ll Just Throw Mud and Make Demands! My Way or the Highway!
After reports of teachers insulting and degrading the RCS CSD Board of Education members in the halls of the highschool (as reported by a parent whose high schooler brought the story home about a conversation between Mr Miller and Mr Vish), it seems the teachers have less sense than those in their charge!
Three things were evident even before the teachers’ scandalous and scurilous exhibitionism at the April 17, 2012, RCS board of education meeting: The teachers, as represented by their teachers association president, Matt Miller, are motivated by self-interest and greed; the parents are motivated by blind demands for more for less, or at least keeping what they have in the schools; the board is motivated by community spirit to do what is in reality possible.
The attitude of the teachers on the board and the teachers’ spouses on the board is tantamount to ethical conflict of interest at its worst; their apparent primary mandate is keeping in lockstep with their cronies the teachers, and to see to it that they get everything that they want and to avoid giving them what they deserve. That was conspicuously evident when you hear Ms A. Whalen and Mr Engel, Ms O’Conner, and Ms Traver, all with their own “teacher association connections,” and their corner speak. No reasoning, just nostalgic reminiscing; naked commiseration for the teachers’ agenda. On the example of Whalen, if that was the independent reality thinking she was teaching when she was at the school, it’s no mystery that we’re hearing and seeing what we are today.
I had to snigger when teachers association president Matt Miller, bedizened in full idiot-attire, bill cap and sunglasses (Now that’s a fine example the “teachers” are setting, isn’t it?). Is he trying to be cute or cool? It appears more certain that he’s fixated in a sort of midlife-adolescence. But if he’s trying to be cool and convincing, he’s going to have to try helluva a lot harder, or maybe put some of the effort into teaching (and wardrobe)…isn’t that what he’s been hired to do (not represent the partisan interests of the teachers or solve the energy costs problems of the RCS CSD and get paid all along the way)? How do you feel paying with your tax dollars for a character like Miller to advocate for a special interest group who, if he’s successful, will end up costing you even more in tax money! How can you put up with this crapola!
What you couldn’t help noting is that the entire meeting was dominated by speakers–the majority of whom were teachers or teachers’ spouses–arguing their sacrifices, their dedication, their willingness to “give something” (in this case, in order to offset the budget strain, a nominal pay freeze for a limited period), their sadness, their inability to find words, etc., etc.
Rather than show some modicum of good taste, among those making public statements were: Let’s start with our goofy friend in the bill-cap-adorned-with-shades, teachers association prez Matt Miller, “It’s my contract, I should know, I wrote it.” (If he writes contracts like he speaks and dresses, well…), and his sidekick (representing his teacher wife, no doubt), Bill McFerret, er… McFerran, the “treasurer” of the notorious and unsafe Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Sports Association.
In my research I came across an article in the Daily Mail, in which at least one parent expressed dismay at the continued conflict. Here’s a quote:
“After sitting through two meetings I feel like everyone has an ax to grind,” said Mary Partridge Brown. “There’s a lot of history and a lot of good the board is trying to do as well as the sports association. I understand everyone has a dog in this fight.”
“But the divisiveness I’ve witnessed does nothing to help my kids or any others.”
Brown went on to say the Board of Education “should stop investigating each other, stop the infighting and get back to the job of improving the school district and addressing the educational needs of the students.”
What the reporter or Partridge-Brown doesn’t seem to get is that the non-teachers on the Board, the resident/businesspersons, are not the troublemakers, it’s the teachers and their cronies (especially those supported by Miller and the teachers association, who lost to the present incumbents: Jerry Deluca and Cathy Deluca, Bill McFerran, Amy and Dave Bartlett*! (Please see Miller’s Facebook comments, below.) It’s an orchestrated vendetta!) (See our previous posts on this topic.
On the subject of reasonable and constructive coöperation, collaboration, consensus building–something totally absent in the people-teacher interface–we need to look at the oft mentioned but so frequently forgotten notion of respect and dissent. Dissent is a pillar of the notion of free speech but when it’s engaged indiscriminately and in the wrong forum, it’s destructive. For example, teacher and teachers’ association president Matt Miller, responds to the election outcome, the outcome of a fair and democratic process, on the RCS CSD Facebook page:
Before the election results: Matt Miller: “Please be sure to get out and vote for the future of RCS on Tuesday. Due to the law and BOE intent, the budget is going to be the same whether you vote yes or no, so please vote yes to alleviate the impact on future budgeting. More important is the BOE member vote. For those interested, the RCS Teachers Association is supporting McFerran, Sylvester and DeLuca. They are # 4,5 and 6 on the ballot. We believe they provide the best opportunity for a focus on education.”
After the election the election results: “Budget defeated; buses defeated; Robbins, Lukens, Kryzykowski elected:: My [Matt Miller’s] opinion that this is a sad day for education at RCS.”
Yeah, Matt. Special interests lost, immorality booted out, and democracy and the voters speak. A really “sad day” for education at RCS. Note that all of the candidates supported by the RCS CSD teachers association LOST! Doesn’t that say something for the public’s confidence in Miller and his special interest group?
On the subject of bullying, which we saw conspicuously in the teachers association and the teachers time and again, Mr L. Polyak made some very poignant statements on the subject of bullying and taxation: Bullying: Taxpayer property owners are bullied into paying taxes by people who are not property owners, but receive the benefits without the obligations. Mr Polyak suggests rerouting school buses for efficiency. Why can’t the cement plant–who is receiving tax breaks–put in sidewalks to allow children to walk to school. Why not open the RCS pool to the YMCA for administration; this could save a great deal of money. State wants to merge school districts to county organizations. So far, that’s the only constructiveness I have heard from the public statements, apart from pleas from residents and businesspersons to show some respect for the board and to be grateful.
Mr Polyak made another fine point: If the budget doesn’t make the budget within 2% the district will be fined! It was in the past to the tune of $500,000! So the reality is: It appears the RCS CSD cannot afford the current budget increases; the alternative is to cut and slim down. This could, as E. Smith mentioned, result in loss of programs and school closures, letting teachers go (they now scream at having 15-20 children in the classes! In my day there were 30+ and we still did extremely well! We were willing to learn and the teachers were willing to teach and sacrifice for the privilege!).
VOTE “NO” ON THE BUDGET: IF NECESSARY, FORCE AUSTERITY, CUTS, AND ECONOMIES! PARENTS AND COMMUNITY SHOULD BE ENGAGED TO PARTICIPATE MORE, DEMAND LESS!
SCHOOLS ARE NOT HIGH-END DAYCARE AND RECREATION FACILITIES, NEITHER FOR THE STUDENTS AND EVEN LESS SO SHOULD THEY BE FOR THE TEACHERS [THOUGH MANY TEACHERS SHOULD BE PUT IN DAYCARE!]
PUT AN END TO THE MONEY PITS AND TO YOUR STATUS AS BULLIED CASH-COWS!
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* Bartlett did not run for a BoE seat.