I welcome that the BHBL Teacher’s Assn. (our teacher’s union) has chosen to repost comments and actions I took (5) years ago on their Facebook site regarding inequities in information and data I found at the time and still have, and lament they (mis) characterize them as examples of me being “anti-teacher”; I note that they don’t state any of my statements were untrue, and urge community members to review some the facts quoted, (though dated). They demonstrate that I have invested significantly in recent years on behalf of the community, with both the conduct of a Candidate’s Forum conducted by the League of Women Voters and the public posting of the District’s employee contracts on the School’s website being just two of the results of those efforts. But I dispute that pointing out aspects relevant to public education, here at BHBL or more broadly, or the results of imbalanced actions mean that I am “anti-teacher” or don’t acknowledge the many contributions that conscientious and excellent teachers in our schools contribute, an assertion that does not align with actions and public statements I have made in Board Meetings in open session, or the dozens of conversations I have had with our teachers over the years. And it doesn’t square with my position statement posted on the “Vote411” website. Instead, it speaks to the conduct of our school Board and, at times, Administration in recent years and their collective culture of being less than responsible or open with the community in their actions, of slanting and parsing the pertinent information, and at times, downright lying to the community to effect internal agenda, and ceding the interests of the community, parents, and kids in ways that, at times, do benefit the interests of the teachers union inequitably with the interests of the broader community.
My intention is as a “public advocate”, to attempt to balance the overwhelming “voice” that drowns out the legitimate interests of parents and taxpayers that are under-represented and ignored when they speak, a constituency that is truly the reason that this institution exists. I have advocated stridently for parents and kids in Building Councils and PTA’s when often mine was the only voice with that focus, and even as a financially-challenged retiree, finding facilities in often deplorable condition, I have supported investments to correct past lapses, while also supporting actions to maximize our ROI.
Teachers are not our enemy, they are the value here. But management decisions have to be balanced and appropriate, and in the best interests of everyone, not the least of which are the people our schools exist for and those paying for it.