So my friend and fellow blogger/town official Catherine Sanderson is experiencing a bit of a backlash from today's Amherst Bulletin column invoking the still sensitive specter of 9/11 and the immediate aftermath to make a valid point about questioning authority and current paradigms concerning revered institutions. And in the People's Republic of Amherst, none are more revered than the public schools.
I for one took no offense at the 9/11 comparison to our "little Peyton Place" and the "Harper Valley hypocrites." I just thought it was dead wood that detracted from their admirable main point. This is after all Amherst--so I can't blame her for sucking up to the average Bulletin opinion page reader by opening with Anti-Bush sentiment.
But the "appalled" response by California transplant Baer Tierkel on an Amherst Town Meeting listserve he founded was a tad over the top. Mr. Tierkel was one of the main proponents of the "Amherst Plan" Override that failed in 2007. Disgruntled, he took both his children out of the venerable Amherst public schools dividing them between a Charter School and a Private operations. Although one has now returned. So I guess he's entitled to use the term "our schools."
Tierkel doesn't agree with the "racist accusation" but "fully agree with people's right to criticize you." Hmm...So if Anonymous Nitwits call her a "dumb bitch", would that be just fine because it's their Neanderthal way of criticizing her???
As those Southern California surfer dudes would say Mr. Tierkel, "lighten up."
Catherine & Steve
I was appalled at your use of the death of thousands of people as a
comparison point, in any way, to our schools. As someone who knew peoplekilled in 911 and as the child of a military family who has given a great deal to our country, I'm just appalled at your using their sacrifice to further your agenda.
Additionally, I feel that you do not have a fundamental understanding of theimpact of your tone on your ability to accomplish your goals in our schools.
You seem to have no concern for the collateral damage you cause with yourstatements and the impact that has on creating more effective and efficient in Amherst.
Your column also seems to indicate that you are above criticism. I would
guess that I agree with 70% of your positions, yet I fully believe that in a
democracy it is ok for people to question and criticize your approach and
your positions. Indeed that seems to be what you are defending - your rightto question. In fact as you say, we need an unfettered debate and hardquestions need to be asked. It seems to me that there are people asking those questions of you and criticizing you. And you don't like it.
Someone calling a position of yours 'racist' is not challenging your right
to ask questions. It is someone criticizing your position. As is their
right in a truly open debate. You might not like it, but that's the way
debate works. I don't agree with the 'racist' accusation, but I fully agree
with people's right to criticize you. Honestly, I haven't talked to anyone
who questions your right to engage in debate or ask questions. I've talked
with a lot of people that don't agree with you and your approach.
I also don't understand why you would waste column space (5 of 7 paragraphs)writing about yourselves, rather than the issues.
As always, I thank and applaud your work for our schools. I just wish you
take a different approach than using a tragedy of the death of lots of folks
as a way to leverage your work for our schools.
Today's offending school Bulletin Column