Unraveling at the Montclair Board Meeting

Montclair Board MeetingTensions were running high at last night’s Montclair Board meeting, escalating to an impromptu recess by Board members during one of the public comments sections so everyone could ‘calm down.’  With all the back-and-forth, the meeting ran well beyond midnight. But first, let’s go over the topics at hand.

A New Meeting Format

Board President Robin Kulwin explained the new meeting format, which included two public comments sections. One was designated for agenda items following the Montclair Education Association’s (MEA’s) comments on agenda items. Thirty minutes were allotted for this section and students were given priority. The second section was for non-agenda items and took place at the end of the meeting.  Each section had their own sign-up sheet and speakers were given three minutes at the podium. “This change in format will allow for public comment on agenda items prior to any votes being taken and enable the core business of the board to be completed within a reasonable time frame, while also ensuring that any who wish to be heard on any topic have the opportunity to do so,” explained Kulwin. After sitting through two rowdy public comments sections, one gentleman from the audience pointedly asked the Board, “Did you expect to leave after midnight when you made this decision – because it’s pretty late.  So what was the purpose if not to reduce public comment? I, for one, (being the governed) don’t agree to this.”

Dr. MacCormack’s New Communication Plan

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. MacCormack, outlined her new communication plan, which includes five strategies.

1. A newsletter called ‘Straight from the Superintendent,’ will be published twice a month. The first edition will be a summary of events, announcements and a summary of the board meeting. The second newsletter will include an in-depth look at a critical topic happening in the district.

2. A new feature on the district’s website called ’Have You Heard?’ will feature questions from the community posted in real time (as they are discussed around town).

3. Dr. MacCormack will host evening parent meetings at every school (one to two schools a month) to increase face time with parents and caregivers.

4. A Community Partnership meeting will be held on October 14 to thank partners and to discuss how they can create even stronger partnerships to meet student needs.

5. An Achievement Gap Advisory Panel will be established. Individuals with strong thoughts and feelings on this topic will be invited to review data on the multiple factors that feed into the Achievement Gap and will look at the question, “What makes sense for the school system to take on?”

Talent Office Surveys

Michelle Russell, who heads up the Talent Office, will be surveying staff every five weeks to understand issues that the central staff and school leadership can address. She will be looking at what is needed for enhanced professional development and the new curriculum implementation. Three surveys have already been completed. She also noted that teachers should view their principals as the first line of communication.

Emergency Management

The Chief of Police and Montclair Police Department have been working on ways to keep the students safe (including getting to school safely and safety inside the schools). The first initiative will place officers inside Glenfield School to establish better communication with the students, parents and teachers.  The goal is to increase everyone’s comfort with the police officers and to build relationships within the community.

Board COO Brian Fleischer also spoke on the new pocket-sized emergency notification cards for parents, caregivers and students.  He stated,“…It’s important to communicate with families clearly and concisely and quickly in cases of emergency.” The plastic cards will describe the district’s emergency notification and pick-up procedures.  The district will notify families using the emergency notification system with voice and text messages to all registered devices.  He asked parents to make sure their info in Skyward is correct.  The district will also post emergency updates on the district’s website and phone line at 973-509-4000.  Cards will be ready later this week and will be distributed through schools via backpack.

Academic Office Updates

Academic Leader Gail Clark announced a new series of roundtables that will be rolling out to discuss curriculum, material assessment and resource needs.  The first three topics will be: world languages, the district’s approach to gifted and talented education for accelerated youngsters and the Amistad integration (the Amistad Program is a state mandate to incorporate African-American history into the Social Studies curriculum). Social Studies supervisor Davida Harewood was happy to announce that Montclair is currently meeting the mandate.

Additionally, the curriculum teams continue to work on their units and teachers should have access to all units by Thanksgiving.  Curriculum Coaches will also be put in place to assess what’s working and what’s not as well as for collegial support.  Coaches will report on a quarterly basis.  Three teachers who are helping to write the new curriculums also spoke. Overall, they reported positive experiences with developing the new curricula.  A teacher who is working on the algebra curriculum explained, “It’s a great opportunity for us (all schools) to work together.”  The curriculum writers reported that some teachers have expressed concerns over how to get their students to their new goals and achieve this new level of rigor. Teachers were, however, relieved with having to teach less topics, but with more depth. They also reported that common planning periods have been extremely valuable as has their interaction with Central Office staff.

Question Over Prevalence of Private Tutoring

Board member Mr. Rosenblum raised the question (rhetorically) of how many students are using private tutors, not just to get help in subjects, but to get into advanced classes.  His concern was that access to private tutors may be impacting the Achievement Gap and that this would not be an “equitable education to students.” He suggested that perhaps the new Achievement Gap Committee can look into this. These comments were met with a moderate level of enthusiasm from the crowd.  Board member Mr. Cummings also pointed out that it’s hard to evaluate teachers equally if some students have tutors and others don’t.

Enrollment Update

Felice Harrison reported on registration and enrollment, stating that the kindergarten has 477 students and that there is normally a surge in enrollment around November. The high school has 2000 students enrolled. The average elementary and middle school class size is 24 students.  The high school will be addressing classes with more than 24 students.  Class size was a concern for a fair number of parents, including several from a kindergarten class at Watchung.  Ms. Harrison cited the error as a glitch in the new database Skyward and said that they were working on moving some students around.  “Class size does matter,” was a common sentiment heard during the public discussion session of the meeting.

MEA – Two teachers from Mt. Hebron

Two teachers from Mt. Hebron spoke on behalf of the MEA.  They first expressed their outrage that MEA President Gayl Shepard had been removed from the meeting’s agenda which prompted a standing ovation from MEA members in the audience.  They then spoke of their frustration with too many changes happening too quickly and not having enough time in any day to accomplish all of their new tasks.  They also expressed concern over the cutting of subject matter leaders while class size continues to increase and the new positions posted for Central Office. (Dr. MacCormack proposed reviewing these positions at the next meeting.)  Speaking specifically on the new curriculum, they are unsure of being held accountable to a document that does not exist yet.

The Unraveling

Montclair Board MeetingOne item that seemed to eclipse the whole meeting  – and did end up derailing  the meeting for some time – was the removal of the MEA President Gayl Shepard from the agenda.  Countless attendees spoke of their outrage at this agenda adjustment.  Ms. Shepard was invited up to the podium to speak, but was cut off after her allotted three minutes, which sparked much booing.  A blue handout titled, “A Plea for Democracy” (read it in its entirety here and here) was then distributed around the audience when she sat down.  When a later audience member started to read from this handout during her time at the podium, MEA members and many others in the audience all joined in and read in unison. In the statement, Shepard likens the removal of speaking time from the agenda to having the MEA “sit at the back of the bus.”

Montclair Board Meeting

Board Vice President Shelly Lombard responded to this dissent and tried to explain the reasoning for this agenda move, but the audience became especially unruly by booing, hissing and walking out.  At one point, an attendee hijacked the microphone at the podium while Lombard was speaking, prompting the Board members to take an impromptu recess so everyone could calm down.

Post-meeting sentiments

Shelly Lombard did reach out to Barista Kids to clarify her position in last night’s agenda change.  She explained that the reasoning behind that decision was not because the board didn’t want to listen to the MEA, but that the board members are trying to make room for some other voices.  “The MEA has been dominating meetings and we are trying to create an environment where more opinions can be heard.”  Lombard further pointed that the MEA (including Shepard) did speak at the meeting. The change, she says, “is in name only.”

She also clarified her remarks regarding the meeting’s exorbitant time. “I did not make that comment because I’m lazy or didn’t want to be there,” she said.  She feels it is unfair for parents who attend the meetings to address issues with their children (like the Watchung Kindergarten class size) have to sit there for over four hours to get a chance to speak.  Lombard feels it will take some time to evolve the ‘us versus them’ environment at the meetings. She added, “If I was a parent in the community, I would not want to come to these meetings.” She urges parents who do not wish to be a part of these meetings because of the hostile environment to email board members their concerns.

 

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40 COMMENTS

  1. You know what the bottom line in this district is? That the BOE would care more about what parents think than caring about the people in the schools educating the children of this town. I think their JOB would be the opposite ! And don’t get me started about the parents in this town. The ones who think their child is the only one that matters. The ones that request their kid’s teachers every year. The ones who demand special treatment for their little ones day in and day out. We all know that the squeaky wheel wins in this town. Such a shame….and such not an ideal atmosphere for a public school.

  2. “That the BOE would care more about what parents think than caring about the people in the schools educating the children of this town. I think their JOB would be the opposite”

    You believe that the BOE should care more (primarily?) about the people in the schools educating the children? Personally, I believe that the BOE should care primarily about the children.

    Silly me, eh?

    …Andrew

  3. The Montclair Board of Education appears to be in complete disarray. It has always lacked vision and professionalism. Now it also is showing its lack in character and integrity.

    Why does a photo of Superintendent MacCormack continually appear as headlined in articles about the Board of Education? Why has she been given this leadership position, seemingly being “on the Board,” when she should be answerable to the Board of Education. At the end of last year she fired an excellent educator because of her failure to respond to a school gun incident. She has refused all accountability to the public, and the Board of Education has never called her to account. Her attempts now to communicate with the community come far too late, after her disastrous reforms have been implemented while completely ignoring the community.

    Placing uniform police officers in the schools is a bad idea. It comes as a knee-jerk reaction to the failures of the Superintendent and the Board of Education to properly address a gun issue. It also demonstrates that the education leaders are losing control over their schools. Parents should not accept their children being policed while in school.

    The attempt by the Board of Education to stifle discussion and criticism are in not explained away by the excuses made by Shelly Lombard. Education reform in Montclair needs to begin at the very top of the system if there is any chance of saving the school system. If the school system fails so will the town. No need to discuss a Master Plan then.

  4. “She urges parents who do not wish to be a part of these meetings because of the hostile environment to email board members their concerns.”

    I disagree. Rather, I would urge the parents to be there anyway. They’re our children and our schools.

    Yes, it is uncomfortable. But I believe it worth it. If nothing else, it shows support for the people willing to sit in the fire before that hostility – which has not always just been from the MEA, to be fair – time and time again, trying to do what is best for all our kids.

    …Andrew

  5. A. Gideon, the fact is that the Board of Education seems to care little about education in any sense of the word. Alienating teachers and parents in no way benefits children. The failure of the School Superintendent and the Board of Education to act responsibly, to respect community values, and to take seriously well considered positions on education does not enhance the education experience of any child.

    Yes, there are silly people weighing in because of personal relationships. Indeed, that is silly.

  6. “Parents should not accept their children being policed while in school.”

    As with so much else, this is a complete misrepresentation of what is actually occurring. I’ve a son in Glenfield, and I think the idea interesting. Our kids are going to see and hear things in town that we never would as adults. Becoming comfortable with the police now means that they may see them as allies in the future. That can only be a Good Thing.

    The children aren’t being “policed”. That was made extremely clear last night, and misrepresenting it as such is indicative of a position supportable only with misstatements.

    …Andrew

  7. “the fact is that the Board of Education seems to care little about education in any sense of the word.”

    I’m sure they volunteer their time on a school board precisely because of how little they care about education. Yes, that does make sense.

    Perhaps they do it for the joy of the personal attacks such as the one I’ve quoted above. Ad hominem arguments are so meaningful, after all.

    …Andrew

  8. As a parent who has attended the last two meetings, I call shenanigans on this intimidation charge. This is simply people who want to say bad things about other people not wanting to feel bad about it, as they should.

    This statement made me think the writer wasn’t in attendance, and used Lombard as their source – “Board Vice President Shelly Lombard responded to this dissent and tried to explain the reasoning for this agenda move, but the audience became especially unruly by booing, hissing and walking out.”

    My view of the incident was that Lombard launched an ad hominem tirade of invective against the union president. I am not a mind reader, but it looked to me like a deliberate attempt to provoke the audience.

  9. A. Gideon, it could be interesting if you would provide examples of where a police presence in schools has improved relations between children and police. Do you have in mind Newark? New York City, Los Angeles? Or do you believe miracles will happen in Monclair (because of your special “working relationship” with the teachers)?

    And just what it is that our kids will see and hear when they are adults that we never did? This sounds like a leap into a cheap B-movie science fiction scenario. And just how a police presence in public schools will assist what our children see and hear in the future is unfathomable.

    More importantly it shows that the Board of Education and the Superintendent MacCormack are losing control over the schools just as they are losing control over their own agenda’s and actions.

    It is absurd to raise children in a context of fear and policing. Montclair schools are increasingly resembling dysfunctional inner-city schools.

  10. It says a lot about Gayl Shepard that she feels that the BOE reducing her time to speak at a BOE meeting “is the equivalent of asking the MEA to sit at the back of the bus.”

    Even though I’m sure that this ridiculous statement was made to simply rouse her MEA constitutents, it is nonetheless an insult to anyone who was actually forced to sit at the back of the bus and minimizes their sacrifice.

  11. a. gideon, the “misstatements” appear to belong to the one who used the term. There was no “personal attack” in what was stated, no ad hominem argument presented. There was a lack of appreciation for the failure of the Board of Education to act professionally and to conduct themselves according to community standards.

    It is not at all evident that the Board of Education members are there in the interests of the children. They may believe this (or they may indeed have other primary motives for having their public positions), but the evidence of their actions does not point in that direction.

    The only commenter claiming a personal relationship with the educators is you. We are, of course, not privileged to know how you obtained your privileges, but we have been repeated informed that this is the basis for your point of view.

  12. tallahessee, your point is sound and well taken. The response of Gail Shepherd was disproportional and at times not acceptable. The Board of Education and the MEA need to urgently meet in a quiet room and sort out a way to better conduct themselves for the sake of the children.

  13. This is insanity. I totally agree with Tallahassee here, that was one step waaaay too far. It cheapens a struggle for equality to use the phrase & shame on the sheep in the room who read the entire piece. Really.

  14. “the “misstatements” appear to belong to the one who used the term.”

    Calling what’s happening at Glenfield “policing” is a misstatement. The Chief specifically stated this multiple times.

    “There was no “personal attack” in what was stated, no ad hominem argument presented.”

    I cite as an example: “the fact is that the Board of Education seems to care little about education in any sense of the word.” Rather than addressing policies with which you disagree, you attack the board itself.

    “The only commenter claiming a personal relationship with the educators is you.”

    I would expect that, over the years, every parent has this opportunity. If nothing else, it is part of what the PTA and other groups are about. I don’t claim to be special in this regard, and rather hope that I am not (actually: I know that I am not).

    In fact, the district has a program that encourages parents to undertake this type of involvement and to develop these relationships. I only learned of it recently, but I think it a terrific idea and goal.

    “And just what it is that our kids will see and hear when they are adults that we never did? This sounds like a leap into a cheap B-movie science fiction scenario.”

    Heh. I didn’t mean it that way, but I don’t think it sci-fi to expect they’ll see some exciting things. When I first started working with computers, for example, they took up rooms. Now, we’re wearing devices quite a bit more capable. Remember encyclopedias? Instead of a stack of volumes, they’re now DVDs or web sites, immediately available on the aforementioned portable devices. I used to be rushed off the phone when talking to my grandparents thanks to the high cost of long distance. My kids can now leave a Skype session active with their cousins while they do homework. And then there’s the medical news so important for our kids: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/oct/02/babies-likely-to-live-to-100 which means that they’ll have more time to see things than we’ll have had.

    Interesting as I find that, though, my point was that as kids they’ll be seeing things that are hidden from us specifically because we’re adults. Whether its friends doing drugs or strangers trying to lure walkers or any other manner of fashion in which kids can abuse or be abused, I believe the kids will be well served to see the police as an ally.

    Isn’t this one aspect of community policing?

    “The Board of Education and the MEA need to urgently meet in a quiet room and sort out a way to better conduct themselves for the sake of the children.”

    With this, I agree. But recall that, despite the high salary offer, our contract almost had to go into mediation. On the other hand, that was ultimately avoided. So perhaps this isn’t completely without hope.

    …Andrew

  15. Andrew, you may send your children to school in fear and even teach them to live in fear. That is your prerogative. If you want your children policed while in school, then perhaps it is appropriate to move to another school district so run a muck that the police are needed because parents and educators have failed.

    If you want your children to respect the police, teach them that. None of us ever had problems befriending police who were doing their job on the corner, in the car or patrolling the neighborhood.

    Please, however, do not impose your fears on all of us or insist on us all joining the Big Brother society.

    We all grew up seeing things our parents did not see and we all encounter as adults new situations. There is nothing special about this and nothing worthy of a drama of fear. There is no special role needed for the police in today’s world. The correct way for police to engage with children is first through parents and the community. Schools do not (should not) have that function. When it does happen, it results in higher (much higher) criminality and a significantly higher number of children who do not graduate high school and go straight to jail.

    Whatever your personal motivation may be to defend the Board of Education’s appalling behavior and worse decisions, in the end your children will suffer as much as others by the hostile and indifferent attitude of the Board of Education.

    Squeaky wheels and privileged engagements have short-lived traction. Your child too can be left behind.

    Your consistent mis-characterization of contributions by others in order to defend the indefensible is not helpful to a community needing to sort out important issues.

  16. Would really like to know why the parents of Glenfield were not notified about police officers having an office inside of the school. I find out at a BOE meeting? I assume these are armed officers and I strongly feel the Superintendant should have let the parents know!

  17. As the mother of 4 children in the school district, what really bothers me is the extreme negativity surrounding these meetings. Yes, our school district has challenges. But we need to recognize that we are lucky to have a school district with such strong, committed teachers and a BOE that cares about the quality of education our kids receive.

    I did not attend the last two board meetings. The reason? I have come to feel extremely uncomfortable about the level of hostility in the room. Yes, maybe it is a form of intimidation that I feel. I love and respect our teachers in Montclair, but from what I have witnessed over the past 2 years, I feel that MEA’s leadership, and my parental peers with no tolerance for differing opinions, have contributed to this confrontational environment.

    For those on this post who believe it is a few well-connected, squeaky wheels at the supermarket who have forced change in the BOE meeting agenda, you’re mistaken. I am confident that there are many people who disagree with the purveyors of vitriol, who are actively involved in the community, yet who don’t attend and participate in the BOE meetings because of the hostile environment.

  18. teamlacey,

    I’d say it’s hard for you to make your statement that there are many concerned about the vitriol at these meetings when 1) you haven’t attended and 2) Ms. Lombard of the BOE launched an attack on the union president and 3) Ms. Coke (now resigned) cornered the union president and launched an attack on her, not allowing the union president to remove herself (witnessed by dozens).

    Vitriol you say? I don’t see the union name-calling, attacking members of the BOE individually, nor attacking members of the community who disagree with them. I see this as the BOE’s mentality. And when 500 parents get ignored in the form a petition, and the BOE president says a few parents have been concerned based on supermarket conversations…that doesn’t quite define democracy, now does it? Sounds like the squeaky wheel. Notice your privilege and don’t ignore it.

  19. First, Teamlacey is not hiding who she is and she is one of the most involved parents in this district. She along with Andrew Gideon (also not hiding who he is)give loads of volunteer time trying to make our schools better for our children. Thanks to both of you.

    I am lost. How can anyone justify the name calling etc.at these meetings while using a fake username and slinging insults at people you don’t know? Accusing the writer of not being at the meeting? Really? Isn’t that just as bad?

    Everyone has different opinions, and that is what we need but the minute anyone starts in insult another, particularly in this forum, you have lost the argument.

  20. Many of us here volunteer our time in many ways, including to schools. Some even work full time in charity (and maybe only get paid part-time). It is unclear just how this lends credence to poorly considered positions or bad decisions regarding children’s education. Everyone is entitled to their hero’s, but let’s leave Batman & Robin out of the decisions about good education.

    You might make the effort to scroll higher to see just whose hero’s have been slinging the insults. But this is not what is important. Arguments are not about winning or losing. They are about finding the best solutions together. If you are intent on winning, you will inevitably miss the value of the conversation you are engaging.

  21. Andrew, I have to say this was a real dandy: “Calling what’s happening at Glenfield “policing” is a misstatement. The Chief specifically stated this multiple times.”

    So the Chief of Police is telling us that when he is working (or another police officer) he/she is not policing.

    If this is the case, then Montclair has a serious problem with its police force and these are certainly not police officers you want as an example for your children. One would think.

  22. It seems that the placement of police at Glenfield school has more to do with that being a ‘crime area’ than the obvious stupidity that occurred earlier with the toy gun. There were 4 people shot in that area that summer. There was talk of a police substation being placed in that area and it may well be a part of that plan.

  23. Bad plan. Putting a police station inside a public school with young children only endangers the children, creates anxiety and – as we know from other schools with a police presence – increases crime and delinquency.

    If the police want to prevent crime on the street, they should be on the street, not policing kids in a school building.

  24. “So the Chief of Police is telling us that when he is working (or another police officer) he/she is not policing.”

    This is a fascinating bit of semantic gamesmanship. A counterexample that demonstrates the logical flaw would be to note that a professional pilot needs to perform numerous tasks on the ground while not behind the yoke. These are not “piloting”, yet they are a part of the job labeled “pilot”.

    Not every job is so straightforward that its label encompasses all its tasks.

    …Andrew

  25. Andrew, police are not pilots. Being present in a public school during their duty time is not equal to checking the plane’s wings prior to takeoff.

    Are you suggesting that the police will not be carrying guns, badges and handcuffs in the schools? Do you really believe they will not be involved in disciplining or reprimanding young children?

    The fact is they are being sent to the schools to act and behave like police officers; that is, to police. You seem to go from the ridiculous to pure realms of fantasy. The semantic gamesmanship really belongs to you. You could be better at it.

    There are existing school systems that would support your overwhelming fears and deep philosophical interests in 3rd grade math. There are plenty of schools with a police presence where you can send your children to learn to be criminals. It is not what is wanted in Montclair.

    You defend a the Board of Education that consistently cannot control its own meetings, its own agendas or the School Superintendent. Fine. But don’t be surprised then that they cannot positively influence your child’s math education or control the school where your child studies without a police presence.

    The presence of police in the Montclair School District is outrageous from an educational perspective. It is an open admission that the schools can no longer function as places of learning.

  26. “Many of us here volunteer our time in many ways, including to schools.”
    I’drather- Where is “here”? At your computer? I don’t know because unlike others you hide who you are.

    This is not about being a hero but don’t throw out insults using a fake name and expect anyone to take you seriously.

    Good arguments and resolutions always come from a place of honesty.

  27. Just a glance at this post and thread is enough to give me the heeby jeebies. My hat is off to anyone who has the patience to get anything done that involves meetings like this. And I say that from a place of honesty.

  28. His concern was that access to private tutors may be impacting the Achievement Gap and that this would not be an “equitable education to students.”

    As a parent who can afford private tutoring (because I manage a huge hedge fund and my wife is a CEO of a big corporation), we have indeed hired tutors from time to time for our children, who have been passing through the toothpaste tube of Montclair public schools. We’ve done so largely when teachers have failed us for lack of subject matter knowledge, a common occurrence, especially in the high school science courses.

    So it might be a good idea to gin up a private tutoring resource for kids who can’t afford to hire their own and are on the wrong end of the gap (as opposed to The Gap). Or, perhaps just hire better teachers and fire the bad ones. (The bad ones are still hanging around, and everyone knows who they are…)

  29. Its not enough that the hedge fund managers managed to scam the State of NJ out of its pensions, now they want to convince everyone the public schools stink because they are so heavily leveraged in charters.

  30. Holly Korus, your remark here that “Good arguments and resolutions always come from a place of honesty” gave me pause to think. You accused me of dishonesty stating “unlike others you hide who you are” and you attacked those who use “fake usernames” as opposed to people like yourself and “Teamlacey” and “agideon” who are, somehow, real (and therefore honest) people.

    So I wondered about this privileged place of honesty you claim and how so many of us here are accused by a member of the Baristanet staff of being fundamentally dishonest and lacking any credibility (even our volunteer work being summarily dismissed) because of the usernames we choose to use.

    There are people who for professional and other reasons may not or choose not to use their given and/or family names in Internet discussion fora. There is a whole host of good reasons for this, and you could learn about that. There are others who choose to use their real names, perhaps because they believe it will gain them some advantage inside or outside the fora or simply because that is their preference and they are free to do so professionally.

    I really don’t know who “Teamlacey,” “agideon,” “Holly Korus,” “tallahasee,” “qby33,” “Frank Rubacky,” “willjames,” “skeptical” or other contributors are outside of their presence here. I do not know if their usernames match all or part of their given and family names, and it frankly does not interest me. I do not think that the contributions of one party are less or more honest because of their username, be that “Holly Korus” or “walleroo.” And I do not think that “walleroo” (is that a “real” name?) is less deserving of respect or being taken seriously than “Holly Korus” or “agideon;” in fact, quite the opposite at times.

    You asked ‘Where is “here”? At your computer?’ Actually “here” is the discussion on this forum called “Baristanet.” It is perhaps not so much in the great scheme of things, but I would have supposed that as a party with a vested interest you would have understood this and been a bit more respectful of the place for which you have some responsibility.

    Baristanet is an important source of information, news and discussion. I value it. Not everyone always agrees with the editorial position taken in presenting the news, but one understands that there is always a point of view and this too can be respected. However, it appears unprofessional and disturbing for a member of the Baristanet staff to accuse a large number of readers and contributors of being dishonest and making prima facie less than “good arguments and resolutions” based solely on their usernames. This comes across as disrespectful and insulting, not only to the large number of users targeted, but also to the community as a whole.

    “Holly Korus” could do better.

  31. “This comes across as disrespectful and insulting, not only to the large number of users targeted, but also to the community as a whole.”

    —not nearly as insulting as the invective that spews forth from idiots, emboldened by their anonymity.

    “There are people who for professional and other reasons may not or choose not to use their given and/or family names in Internet discussion fora. There is a whole host of good reasons for this, and you could learn about that.”

    —twaddle. they are excuses, not reasons. sign your name to what you think if you want everyone to take you seriously. otherwise, live with it.

  32. Idratherbeat63- “I do not know if their usernames match all or part of their given and family names, and it frankly does not interest me.”

    For someone who googled my handle and made a few silly jabs at my profession in another feed/article about our disagreements, I find your post back to Holly really, really funny.
    Laughing here at my computer, and giving you a golf clap on that one.

    You have constantly posted misinformation, faulty logic in arguing your points, and you have posted some pretty blatant personal attacks to others who simply don’t agree with you, all to keep a level of anxiety and argument and noise out here on the Barista message boards and most important, in our hometown-at least for the 5 or 6 months that I have been here giving my opinion.

  33. alic314, you are a nice person and I certainly did not make any personal attacks against you. The faulty logic and misinformation may be on your side here: I did not need to Google your handle, we simply know each other. So enjoy your laughter but, please, no golf clap.

    If there has been faulty logic in someone’s postings or misinformation, point it out and correct it. Making generalized statements about others with no attention to the facts does appear derogatory. The “blatant personal attacks” here I leave for your own reckoning. It is not the first time you have posted in this manner.

    My point to Holly Korus stands: accusing the users of Baristanet of being dishonest and having less than good arguments simply because of their chosen username is disrespectful and insulting. Her statements would apply to “alic314” as much as to anyone else here. I do not believe that the place from where you write is any less honest than the place from where she writes. If there is faulty logic or misinformation in this, then please do point it out. I would appreciate to be corrected rather than attacked because of some nebulous anxiety.

    Frankly, I am surprised at you for defending such faulty logic and misinformation.

  34. If we do indeed know each other, why the mystery then? I don’t know who you are based on your handle name. I just dislike the tone, the tenor here. And I see that your postings so often are part of it. Hence my point.

  35. …and I said silly jab at me-not personal attack by the way, in regards to our exchanges here.
    It’s your words for others that I find myself a bit taken aback at.

    And see-here we are beating up on each other-and not getting to the core issue here.

    Closing the achievement gap, improving curriculum, empowering students, etc. Silly us for going this route.

    But really-if you know me, I’d sure like to know who you are.

  36. alic314, so you have some mysterious dislike of the tone and tenor of the discussion on Baristanet (“here”) and since I post here (as do you and others), you dislike me. Of course, this means that my logic is faulty and I provide misinformation and make personal attacks (not you making the personal attack on me). Ok, I can live with this. It is only what follows your “Hence” that escapes me.

  37. alic314, as I said, I like you. And I agree all of this is off subject and needs to end.

    I did not respond immediately to Holly Korus yesterday because I was both shocked by her remarks and because I recognize that the points you make about education are important.

    However, it is out of line and inappropriate for a member of the Baristanet staff to accuse users of dishonesty simply because of their usernames. I stand by this point unless you or someone else wants to show how such behavior is acceptable.

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