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Posts Tagged ‘Manassas City School Board’

Thank You Ellen.

And then there were none

And then there were none

 

See 58 minute mark on. Unbelievable Discussion:

Gee, I would think LE would like the evidence of a recording.

Do you think school board members appreciate the irony of them being filmed voting to ban filming? Pretty soon they will ban phones at proms. Thank you Ellen Purdy for all your efforts to bring some accountability and openness to MCPS and thank you school board for your public record for all that you do.

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“The record flood of Central American children crossing the U.S. border is stretching funds and setting off improvisation at public schools.

While politicians spend the summer fighting over how to turn back the tide, school leaders across the country are struggling to absorb a new student population the size of Newark, New Jersey. More than 40,000 children, many of them fresh from violent, harrowing journeys, have been released since October to stateside relatives as courts process their cases.

“These kids were homesick and heartbroken,” said Robin Hamby, a family specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in suburban Washington, which began feeling the surge almost as soon as it began three years ago.

Her Virginia district employs more teachers who work with non-English speakers than ever, and wrote a curriculum to reunite children and parents, many of whom haven’t seen one another in years. Houston is increasing training and translation. Los Angeles nurses are working overtime to screen for emotional trauma created on the journey north.”

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-us-classrooms-prepare-for-flood-as-migrants-become-pupils-20140712%2c0%2c4201836.story

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MCPS Central Office should save us all the drama and BS of a nationwide search for a new Principal at Osbourn. The two obvious, plausible candidates are Zella Jones and Mike Dufrene. Both would be good choices. The fair and common sense decision would be Dr. Jones to be made Principal and Mr. Dufrene to be made Deputy Principal, if I need to explain the common sense dimension of such a selection to Central Office then they are truly out of touch. Furthermore, there should be only two individuals with “Principal” in their titles.

p.s. My recommendation is based purely on observing the two individuals in action and discussions with other parents with students at Osbourn. They are not personal friends or acquaintances of mine, I have never spoken with them outside school or a school related event.

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Just as you think Manassas can’t get any sillier, i.e, ‘Man Arrested for Shooting Self,’ this study by AIM (Accuracy in Media) suggests that our ‘Race to the Top’ (Save My Job- MMeyers) grant proposal wasn’t too thoroughly thought thru by the people in charge of our children’s education. What kind of school system embraces a core curriculum which apparently challenges the very concept of core knowledge? To be fair to the critical thinking challenged MCPS School Board, 48 governors signed onto the core curriculum in ‘Race to the Top’ not only before reading it but before it was written.

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City of Manassas and Manassas City Public Schools Seek Residents’ Input on Building Projects

City-wide community meeting scheduled for October 16, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at Mayfield Intermediate School

Kudos to  public affairs employee or employees  who thought up the promotional slogan for the meeting:

Your Voice. Your Community. Our Future.

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On Saturday a commentator attempted to post some ‘background information’ on School Board candidate Charles Sutherland on this site. The intent of the poster was clearly malicious and intended to effect the outcome of the School Board election.  The post was quickly followed up by this post:
“(Submitted on 2012/04/28 at 2:10 pm)

Mr. Brown, My son just posted on your blog about Mr. Sutherland. This information may or may not be true. He found a packet of papers labeled ‘Background Information’, and it looks official but I can’t be sure. I would not want to pass on wrong information and my son did so without my knowledge. Could you please delete his post under ‘I don’t think so’? Thank you Chris”

The follow-up post claiming to be from Chris  the ‘father’ of the original poster makes what develops later in this last-minute political dirty trick campaign especially reprehensible, and at the same time somewhat comical, because as this wannabe puppet master plotted his dastardly deed across several web sites ABTF, BVBL, and Patch, what he hatched was not so much an October Surprise moment but an April Fool’s Surprise. You see the information our Manassas Machiavelli peddled on-line does not so much discredit Charles Sutherland, as it acts as a testament to the character of the man,  a man who showed fierce determination, fortitude, and an inspirational example of love and devotion for his children, which few of us can imagine.

The heart of the story is simple Charles Sutherland gave up a life of wealth and privilege, sacrificed everything he had and literally went to he ends of earth to rescue his two sons who had been kidnapped abroad.  Here is Charles’ statement to the political hatchet man (new name , Kevin) who showed up 24 hours later on Patch after claiming concern, and implying a poster remorse for his son’s actions on my site:

“Kevin,

In 1997 my then-wife and her relatives from Israel disappeared with our year-old baby and his two-year old brother.  That created a tragic epic which lasted 12 years, including being in court nearly 100 times, in the US and abroad.

In early 1998 I was awarded “sole legal and physical custody.” In those 12 years my ‘ex’ created ‘incidents,’ including kidnapping the boys to Israel, where I went to court to get them back. In the US she was arrested and convicted of kidnapping.  One ‘incident’ was a staged assault, which the court dismissed.  Thus, there was no conviction as you falsely imply, and for which, along with other false ‘reports,’ you are exposing yourself and others to legal action.

I incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees, and other costs, and resigned employment several times, to be both ‘mother & father,’ and because I was constantly in court, sometimes many times a month.   Hence, there was much chaos, including financial issues.  At one point, on advice of legal counsel, I declared bankruptcy (you have the wrong date) to remove the accumulating financial pressure.  All tax obligations were paid or eliminated years ago.

Despite the consequences to my personal life, the boys are thriving, students on the Honor Roll, and, as you might expect from my example of determination, they are class officers in their school.

I hope this addresses the issues you raised.  I do not intend to provide more tragic details.”

This is not the only dirty trick that has occurred this election cycle, and of course one might reasonably and cynically argue: Has there ever been an election without a grab bag of dirty tricks?

However, this dirty trick should give us pause as a City. Does a man of Charles Sutherland’s integrity and obvious intellectual gifts threaten the political and educational establishment so much that their supporters will stoop to such depravity to prevent him  from an opportunity to influence and guide our children as successfully as he has raised and educated his own?

Well, Manassas, what is it to be?

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By Charles Sutherland

Why is Kermit Dance on the School Board?  Many say not to promote education for students or to help teachers, but to expand the local welfare system and to promote himself and a popular legacy. But, what are the facts?

Wouldn’t you like to believe that a member of the School Board would respect the opinion of teachers?  Not Kermit Dance.  According to various reports from teachers in Manassas, Kermit Dance brags that he doesn’t need the support of teachers to remain on the School Board.  In fact, Kermit Dance has a conspicuous contempt for teachers… the people we have entrusted to educate our children.

In addition, at a recent School Board session in ‘the trailer’ teachers quote him as saying (referring to the recent teacher survey, the Staff Climate Questionaire), “Look at the limitations of the survey; it’s one teacher’s perspective.  Don’t read too much into one person’s opinion.” To Mr. Dance, the opinion of teachers in a School Board-sponsored teacher survey is irrelevant…?  That’s bizarre.

And, Dance further asserted, “Teachers need to understand that it’s not a democracy.  If teachers don’t embrace programs, then we have to do a better job of convincing them.” In Mr. Dance’s view, was the purpose of this teachers’ survey to elicit the opinions of teachers to learn from them, or to ascertain their views in order to suppress them?

AND, finally, how did Kermit Dance summarize his views on how the School Board should relate to the City’s teachers?  In one demeaning phrase: “Old dogs can be taught new tricks.”

So, Mr. Dance thinks teachers are “old dogs” that he and his colleagues on the School Board can compel to learn his tricks. What a display of contempt for those who are educating our children!

Why such a reaction from someone who was once a teacher himself?  (We don‘t know how good of a teacher…) As in the Greek tragedies where people rise to power and fame, he has become afflicted with ‘hubris,’ an arrogant pride of political power.  Having achieved a modicum of political authority, instead of championing his former colleagues, he has now chosen to suppress those whom he would regard as his subordinates.

So what does Kermit Dance stand for?  At a School Board meeting on March 6, Ms. Cecily Anthony, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, proposed an $83,000 program to give away…that’s right ‘give away’… food this summer—not just to students, but (Ms. Anthony’s own words) “to anyone from the public,” and (Ms. Anthony continues) “we don’t insist on any ID.”

At first, I thought this was some kind of a joke.  Then, Art Bushnell shook his head and asked, “Why are we doing this? This is not a school program.”

Characteristically, Kermit Dance took the stage, and replied tendentiously, “Well, I like it!”

Wow!  He has become so arrogant that he now publicly admits that he “likes” giving away taxpayer money for something which is not even part of education.  What could be a more brazen example of how Mr. Dance has helped turn the Manassas school system into a city welfare organization!

To be efficient, why doesn’t Mr. Dance just stand in the school yards during the summer and hand out taxpayer money?  At least that way the school system won’t incur the cost of cooking food and distributing it.  He could even do a few pirouettes with those to whom he gives the money… another way to get the applause he seeks.

What other financial pirouettes can Mr. Dance perform?  Well, when it was revealed at this meeting that the school lunch program may end up with a surplus this year, did he see this as an opportunity to maintain a reserve in case there is a shortfall next year?  Of course not!  He declared, “If we end up making money, let’s find a way to give it to the students.”  The operative word is “give.” Kermit Dance loves to “give” away taxpayer money.  (By the way, over 60% of the students receive free or subsidized lunches and breakfasts already.  So, apparently Mr. Dance now wants us parents who actually pay for lunches to pay the other students to eat their free food.)

Of course, the big “give” he wants from the taxpayers is for a new building named after him.  Without any feasibility study as to the costs, needs, or designs of a new school and related grounds, he promotes the construction of a new building for Baldwin.  Since he has a publically demonstrated disdain for teachers, he apparently hopes this will buy him votes from the Baldwin faculty and staff, and from the contiguous property owners whose real estate values could rise…and, of course, the mayor’s real estate developer friends in the City’s ‘old boy network’ –  once again at taxpayer expense.   Apparently hoping that the building will be named after him, one might say that he has “an edifice complex.”

But while spending his time planning how to distribute other people’s money, how has he performed his actual responsibilities for which he was elected?  Did he dedicate any energy to terminate Ms. Beth Dunman-Jones, the Director of Special Ed who was arrested for a DUI?   No. On the contrary:   Apparently not even phased by her publicized mug shot, he ‘seconded’ a motion of the Board to retain her employment!  By the standards of Mr. Dance and this School Board, apparently a DUI is some kind of official credential and Ms. Dunman-Jones is a paragon of moral virtue for Manassas students to emulate on weekends when they drive (the students already have jokes about her…).  On behalf of teen-age parents, thanks, Mr. Dance.

Speaking of Special Ed: at the January 9, 2011 public meeting he erroneously stated (his exact words, which shocked many listeners), “We are more poor than seven years ago, and we have kids disabled that other localities do not have.”  (Oh, as clarification: it is both Mr. Dance’s misstatement of the actual facts regarding our City’s ‘Special Ed’ kids— as well as his faulty diction – that are “erroneous.”) And part of the reason “We are more poor…” is because of Mr. Dance’s profligate welfare mentality.

Finally…well not really finally, but next…  Although the School Board is blissfully ignorant of the matter, people who are genuinely concerned with education in the City are aware that the City’s teachers (and the students) are oppressed by various curriculum and testing mandates imposed by Deputy Superintendent Michaelene Meyer.  Accused of possessing the stereotypically weak ego of a bureaucratic bully, Ms. Meyer apparently believes that her official governmental title enables her to assiduously avoid teachers and what they say.  Hence, she does not condescend to consult the teaching community or allow their input on issues which directly affect teaching methods, teaching tools, testing … or the students.

How does Mr. Dance, a former teacher, feel about this?   Apparently gratified that Ms. Meyer obviously shares Mr. Dance’s disrespectful attitude that these teachers are “old dogs” and should be “taught new tricks” – “tricks” hastily (and expensively) mandated by Ms. Meyer, regardless of their value as didactic tools of education.  So Mr. Dance and Ms. Meyer dance their pas de deux, a duet of promiscuous power, in their own foggy aurora of personal fantasy.  Meanwhile, the teachers struggle to educate their (our) students, and the students spend weeks and weeks every year taking tests and learning material which the City’s teachers strenuously oppose.  Doesn’t anyone in the school hierarchy care what teachers think?

[I can assure everyone that if I have the unfortunate experience (lol) of being elected to the School Board I will keep this dedicated email address (Sutherland.education@gmail.com) so teachers and staff can express themselves confidentially.]

To summarize, Mr. Dance is an integral part of the arrogant ‘old boy network’ of Manassas.  In his complacency, he publicly denigrates teachers, fails to perform his elected responsibilities, squanders taxpayer money, openly fosters converting the school system into a welfare organization, and, he performs his clumsy pas de chat (jumping up and down on stage like a ballerina) at the joy of spending millions of taxpayer dollars.  Can the citizens of Manassas… and our students and teachers… afford more of this Dance?

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