Day 18: The BOE Meeting and a Swinging Pendulum

Dear Readers,

May I request a moment of silence for the death announcement of the Montclair School District, as we once knew it?

Yesterday evening, we had almost 400 online petition signatures plus more hand signed ones. The students had almost 600 signatures on their own petition.

I’m still trying to process what happened at the meeting. I’d send you a link, but inexplicably, the broadcast cut off just as the first speaker got started at the podium during public comments. We are investigating what happened. Was it technical? A WiFi glitch? Or was it intentional. Hmm. We will see if it’s posted eventually, or if I get an answer to my question about this.

Anyway, the dog and pony show, led by the CORPORATE FORCES TASK FORCE FOR STANDARDS & TESTING and BOARD OF EGREGIOUSNESS & ERONEOUS DECISIONS—- was an excruciating thing to sit through. It started at 7:30pm and went until about 11:30pm. SUPER OF the district, or maybe we must call her The Royal Highness of Gobbledygook and BS (Via THE BROAD ACADEMY)  and the corporate ed reform machine of GREED & AWFULNESS told  us all about the PLAN and how great it will be for our children. I managed not to throw up, but I did feel nauseous all the way through.

Lies upon lies upon more lies. It’s just beyond! BEYOND!

So, we spoke. The first one started reading the petition. She didn’t make it all the way through and was stopped. The crowd protested, “Let her speak!”  But, whack, down came that gavel and that was the end of that.  One by one against the plan, parents and residents spoke up asking for a deferment of the plan so the community could have more time to become informed, absorb it, have more input. And one by one we were reminded, “There is no dialogue.” Direct questions were asked of them and not answered over and over again. Except selectively, in some cases, when they didn’t answer, but repeated canned lines or lies or both.

For my turn, several people after our first speaker, I continued reading the petition where she’d been cut off–until the end. I asked for a vote. I then continued with my personal comments. I handed them a copy of the printed petition with signatures and many comments from petition signers.

The students spoke beautifully and courageously. One said that she’d met Pete Seeger recently, and he had told her that he supported the cause. Not too shabby. Maybe we should start testing them more to see if they understand basic civics. Oh wait, you mean NOT a test, but a real life experience? That’s progressive. We can’t have that here in our town. OY!

Then the ones for the plan spoke. There were less of them in number than our group and they mumbled a lot.

To end the night, the BOE did a vote to pass the PLAN. But first they regaled us with their personal comments and views. I really did almost throw up at this part. On and on. Lies, vague statements, a collective cheer for the PLAN. One of them compared our children and education to a kitchen renovation job project. Many were offended and insulted by that particular train of thought. Yet again, the swinging pendulum was mentioned. All I could think of was Edgar Allen Poe and that we are somehow trapped in a real life horror story.

As they started saying YES or ALL IN FAVOR or whatever Board- speak they use, we stood up, and walked out, and we yelled at them, “SHAME. SHAME ON YOU! SHAME!”

We’ve received a flurry of supportive messages from all over town. We’re going to regroup and plan next steps. The work has just begun. There’s a bunch of local press links below in case anyone is interested.

I’ll choose to believe in reincarnation, or evolution and change, and that we will one day reclaim what is being taken away from us. There are thieves stealing from our children (and community, taxpayers, etc). In the meantime, Rest in Peace, MPS District.

Elana

“Be original. Think out of the box. Color outside the lines.” From my comments at meeting 6/17/2013

LOCAL PRESS LINKS:

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/montclair-parents-wanting-education-reform-through-petitions-and-opt-outs/

http://montclair.patch.com/articles/parents-come-out-to-protest-boe-s-strategic-plan-montclair-council-meets-at-msu-this-week?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001

http://montclair.patch.com/articles/petition-asks-district-to-defer-quarterly-common-assessments

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/a-closer-look-at-common-core/#more-61057

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/montclair-board-approves-strategic-plan-despite-protests/

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/a-closer-look-at-common-core/

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/montclair-schools-strategic-plan-to-be-presented-at-tonights-boe-meeting-parents-urged-to-attend/

http://montclair.patch.com/articles/montclair-school-board-moves-ahead-with-strategic-plan-despite-opposition

http://kids.baristanet.com/2013/06/montclair-board-approves-strategic-plan-despite-protests/#comment-16324

Oh, big surprise, one of new hire to our district ran a Charter School in Chicago, IL. AKA, land of the largest mass public school closings in our history.

http://montclair.patch.com/articles/montclair-fills-four-top-school-spots