Monday, August 4, 2014

Come Together, Right Now

Maria Geryk, Calvin Terrell, Aaron Hayden, John Musante, Connie Kruger

Amherst Regional School Superintendent Maria Geryk hosted a meet and greet in her office this afternoon between Amherst town officials and chief warrior in the war on racism, Calvin Terrell.An outgrowth of a joint partnership between the schools and town dubbed "Amherst Together".

Amherst College has agreed to underwrite (at a cost of $38,000) ten visits to Amherst over the next year by Mr Terrell to work with elementary, Middle School, High School and Amherst College students.

Adults too must be involved, like all those in the room this afternoon, which included Town Manager John Musante, Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek, Select Board Chair Aaron Hayden and rookie SB member Connie Kruger.

Only two of five Select Board members attended (the other three were on vacation) but since this was a public meeting with no actionable motions on the agenda, not having a quorum was inconsequential.

The group discussed race, equity and power for just over an hour with the stated goal of constructing a path towards what in Amherst has been an illusive search for the Holy Grail since the the 1970s:  Racial harmony.

According to Terrell, "Youth are the tip of the spear."  

Media & Climate Communications specialist Carol Ross (left)  Maria Geryk, Calvin Terrell

Acknowledging the difficult, unending work that lay ahead, Terrell told the group, "You're always going to have naysayers.  But they should serve to keep you focused, to make you strive even harder."


Anonymous said...

The first picture says it all. White as white can be group on the right. Black guy in the middle. Garbage can separating Geryk from the rest.

Anonymous said...

Why does the town always think that just because a black guy has a bunch of braided hair under a hat that has the African flag colors on it, he must be the savior that can create racial peace. Didn't they learn enough with Shabazz.

Anonymous said...

Please. Shabazz is no Calvin Terrell. Calvin Terrell is a well respected leader in his field and his ideas have a proven track record of making a difference. He is actually working hard to solve problems. Shabazz is all about me and he has no interest in making changes that will make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Snake oil.

He had me at "intersectionality".

Anonymous said...

I'm going to promote an initiative in town called "Amherst Apart": we all go out into the streets and tear each other limb from limb. Larry can live tweet the whole thing.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul said...

Talk about fish biting on an empty hook...

You suckers get reeled in






-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Haaahahahahahahahahahah!!!

Anonymous said...

call me one of those "naysayers who serve to keep the town focused." It seems like a great and laughable case of money-wasting bullshit to me. Let's focus on Imaginary racism with all our might, while we work - also with all our might - to avoid acknowledging black-on-white violence.

What a hair-shirt crew of mindless, badgering Amherst liberals!

Anonymous said...

I heard a "rumor" in the community that before finally enlisting Terrell, the school administration went looking for "the greatest anti-racist they could find".

Anonymous said...

I want a town whose children are sharp enough to know that, when the adults begin using jargon, as Mr. Terrell does here, they are practicing a form of evasion.

All this talk about "creating spaces" is actually a trap for our kids, especially the white ones. Perhaps there are some brave young men and women in our schools who can demand, even if it means seeming to be rude, that the adults speak to them, and engage with them, especially on the delicate topic of race, plainly and clearly. But you could understand that many will simply want to wait it out silently.

Dr. Ed said...

If Calvin Terrell truly believed in his message, he wouldn't charge to deliver it -- at least more than his expenses.

How much were the "Freedom Riders" paid? Ummm, they had to buy their own bus tickets (and pay their own medical expenses).

He may be a good speaker/performer, but so is Ann Coulter -- and I argue that he, like she -- is a paid professional. He may be good at what he does, and he might actually help people, but don't ever forget that he is in it for the money -- and if he wasn't being well paid, he wouldn't be here.

For those who want to talk about "reparations", what the hell else would you call this? Because you have sinned in the past, you must hire this man and make him rich.

If organizations are ever in a situation where they are forced to hire me to teach them how to stop oppressing people like me, I'd be mortified to make a profit. It would cheapen my moral legitimacy, in fact, it would obliterate it.

If this man actually believes in his message, well....

Anonymous said...

I like your use of the word "unending" in regard to the work that lies ahead, Larry. That seems to always be the point in these charades, don't it?

Anonymous said...

What is it about this group (Ross, Geryk, Terrell, Musante) and others that they can plan meaningful events and meetings, and are able to talk to each other in a mature and mutually respectful way, while others (including Vira, Kathleen Anderson, Russ Vernon-Jones) seem to only want to butt heads, point fingers, and engage in disrespectful, divisive, anti-productive behavior?

Anherst needs more people willing to engage in the former and less in the latter.

Anonymous said...

This cat spews more mumbo jumbo than Geryk herself - no mean feat!

"Collaborating and finding a shared space and a shared voice on the concept of race and its 'intersectionality' with with various identities be it class, gender, nationality, physicality, religious beliefs, you name it- sexuality, style..."

But he eventually reveals the end-game:

"Our goal is to start holding dialogs, hosting various experiences, looking at curriculum, because if we're just doing this outside of the classroom as an extracurricular event it's not impacting the day to day culture of the school... Institutions are meant to be spaces where we can explore multiple perspectives.... If institutions are only promulgating one perspective that is not learning, that is indoctrination. And historically our institutions have been set up as indoctrinating. And so what were in the process of is transformation. Creating spaces to prepare all scholars no matter what their race, color, background to be successful members of a global society. And this team is charged with being the machete to cut through the forest, and create paths for others to follow"

So the agenda is to further engineer the curriculum. Notice there is no mention of teaching values, raising academic standards, disciplining violent behavior, etc.

What do parents of Amherst schoolchildren think of this? Is this the solution to last year's drama, distraction and disgrace?

Anonymous said...

How come only black men in Rasta hats can talk about racism. How come white people can't be experts on it. Wait, how come parents can't educate their own kids. Or maybe they do, just not as we expect. Anyway Amherst suffers from a severe case of black on white racism with a cover-up by a white administration thrown in, quite the opposite of what hiring a black man to talk about racism will end up doing. Maybe the administration needs a course on warriors, not the students. Only Amherst can cover up the truth, then hire a guy to paint over it all with "diversity training" and make the school administration look like they are on top of things.

Sometimes the truth hurts...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Kids are natural-born critics. They watch us and they make judgments. When an individual comes into the schools using a language that is markedly different from ordinary, intelligent conversation, using words like "physicality" and "intersectionality", our children can smell that something's going on, and it's not candor.

I know that it's a Western approach to the problem, and therefore completely discredited in our schools, but I think that our children can benefit from "doing the reading", if they haven't already. Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Edward P. Jones, Ralph Ellison. It's perhaps more effective than having someone talking at them about race and calling it "dialogue".

It might even be a good idea to come to grips with Jim from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", and the different ways that his humanity becomes a force within the pages of that novel. But, of course, the book was written by a white man, and has the taboo N word in it. Sorry.

Engaging with a written text and other readers in order to shed light on our own lives and problems? What am I thinking?

Anonymous said...

Oh the liberals in this town will be falling all over this guys sword. He's a minority, dresses the part, and is a smooth talker. Nothing a liberal idiot loves more than a guy who talks in metaphor but says little. The kids will all be crying and hate themselves for being born white after this pot smoker is through with them. All airfare, transportation and hotel paid by the town of Amherst. What a town of suckers.

Anonymous said...

"Engaging with a written text and other readers in order to shed light on our own lives and problems? What am I thinking?"

That's the stuff the liberal left-wingnut lesbians want removed from the libraries. How dare you try to show our history and learn from it. Blasphemy!!

Anonymous said...

What do parents of Amherst schoolchildren think of this? Is this the solution to last year's drama, distraction and disgrace?

No. But this initiative has been going on before the beginning of the last school year. Terrell visited last summer and led a week-long inter-generational workshop with students and adults in the school community. He was also here when Amherst hosetd the MSAN conference, which was also planned the year before. He was planning to return despite and before the events of last school year.

Maybe the "drama and distraction" orchestrated and brought on by the usuals (Shabazz, Anderson, Vernon-Jones, Douangmany) was a response to these initiatives, maybe they can't stand that people are and have been addressing their concerns in a meaningful and directed way. Maybe they NEED division and drama.

Anonymous said...

Terrell's involvement, the focus on Ferguson's work, etc are not responses to last year's shenanigans courtesy of Amherst's habitual protesters and problem makers, it is a response to the achievement gap, which we've all known about for a long time.

Anonymous said...

As L Ron Hubbard once said - “To keep a person on the Scientology path, feed him a mystery sandwich.”

Even better - "Without promotion, something terrible happens... nothing!" -PT Barnum

Anonymous said...

Next time you ponder whether it would be great to be young again, consider the deluge of blather about race these poor high school kids are going to be swimming in this coming year, all to assuage the guilt of the adults.

Today, John Musante was fortunate that reality, outside of comic books, does not include thought bubbles rising above his head, featuring in print his innermost musings as part of a captive audience.

Mr. Terrell reminds me of Professor Harold Hill of "The Music Man", here to purify our children's souls right here in River City.

Anonymous said...

"it is a response to the achievement gap"

Ah, the imaginary achievement gap...

Anonymous said...

Is this guy going to increase our per pupil costs?

If every problem in town requires the hiring of someone new, I vote for no more problems.

Anonymous said...

When some White kid starts shooting -- then what?

Anonymous said...

Some people have an inner voice that says "If I just use really, really long words, they won't figure out that I don't know what I'm talking about."

Anonymous said...

How come only black men in Rasta hats can talk about racism?

How come only white people in standard issue western attire can be superintendent of the Amherst Schools?

Anonymous said...

I wish there were some way to know what/how the 35,000 +/- Amherst residents who don't comment on this blog (or anywhere else) think/feel.

Anonymous said...

Looks as though we are finally going to have that "conversation about race" - so long awaited - and maybe we will finally begin to introduce a bit of "social justice" into the curriculum. Who knows, maybe the school will even stop teaching Shakespeare and the great books of western civilization and expose the kids to some non-white perspectives!

Oh, wait; we've been doing all those things in the ARPS since 1984....

Anonymous said...

If the kids of Amherst are "Youth are the tip of the spear." then there clearly is no chance that any of this will work.

My kids saw through the hypocrisy and BS long before they were out of the 6th grade. By 7th grade they tune out all of this dogma.

If anything, we need to get this crap out of the curriculum. Make the kids stop feeling like they are either oppressor or the oppressed. How about they are just a bunch o kids trying to learn.

This is clearly another massive waste of time and money. That Amherst college money could have gone toward a police officer. It would have been much better spent.

But hey, I'm sure Rick Hood feels good about this direction and Maria Geryk knows it looks good to her followers, What does it matter if it has value to the kids or the school.

Anonymous said...

In the old days, they rode from town to town selling home remedies out of the back of their wagons.

We were told that we would feel better if we bought what they were selling.

Now it's our moral confusion that needs a miracle cure.

Anonymous said...

No, again, it's the achievement gap that needs to be addressed. There is no cure for your moral confusion.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 10:29 said...

How come only black men in Rasta hats can talk about racism. How come white people can't be experts on it.

Anon, see for one example among many.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 11:49

That is a great way to explain the insanity.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there more important things than "identity"?

So he says "If you're a good person, prove it, by confronting these issues." But he seems to be focused on classifying people, when we all want to be understood as individuals.

There's a moral hollowness to all of this.

Is this properly what secondary education should be concentrated on? Or are we off the tracks?

Walter Graff said...

" wish there were some way to know what/how the 35,000 +/- Amherst residents who don't comment on this blog (or anywhere else) think/feel."

They don't care. If they did they would have done something about the Amherst Gov, Maria Geryk, and the rest of the ills that plague the town of Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 1:02

I think we are off the tracks. I also think the administration enjoys these unsolvable problems to focus on while ignoring the real problems of learning that are, and have been ongoing for years. Amherst feels like a culmination of experimental do gooder curriculum ideas to solve imaginary problems with many generations of children.

Just teach the facts, math, reading, science, social studies, etc. The truth of discrimination will come out as part of social studies. It does not require multiple assemblies to make a point.

People need to look past the curtain that these distractions are and get the administration to focus on real not imaginary problems.

Walter Graff said...

"People need to look past the curtain that these distractions are and get the administration to focus on real not imaginary problems."

Or said another way, no other school system has to go through this process and things are doing just fine. In Amherst one has to make issues to cover up the real problems and distract people from the the truth, namely the poor curriculum with no one in charge qualified enough to fix it. Someone came in and wanted to do that a while back and they fired him.

Anonymous said... other school system has to go through this process and things are doing just fine.

Wrong. The achievement gap is a nationwide problem that all schools are encountering, very few are attempting to tackle it. Other schools are not doing "fine".

Anonymous said...

If there's any education to come from this engineered solution, it's that it takes very little human action to create a sense of crisis throughout a community.

And, there really is no freedom of debate here. No one in authority in town is free to argue that this is not a big deal, that it's the result of several miscreants behaving badly.

And, some people thrive (and perhaps even make money) on the attention they get from stoking the hysteria.

If the kids observe all of that, they will have learned something.

Anonymous said...

"achievement gap is a nationwide problem"

PLEASE !!!!!! The achievement gap between black and white students is a myth. None of the suggested causes adequately explain the gap whatsoever, and the proposed solutions based on these myths have ALL failed and ALL will fail.

Everyone is born equal. What happens between birth and high school graduation that insures an apparent gap in academic learning between white students and students of color is an expectation gap, not an achievement gap. Give someone a hammer and everything looks like a nail.

The most effective way to narrow the gap is to stop focusing on issues of ethnicity and look at the overall quality of teaching for EVERYONE, white black or green.

We should seek to adopt standards-based curricula, and provide long-term sustained professional development programs to teachers of all students, not just focus on minorities as Amherst likes to do.

Look at studies such as Doug Reeves’s “90/90/90 Study”, Asa Hilliard III’s Young Gifted and Black, and William Ayers’s City Kids, City Teachers: Reports from the Front Row and you'll see what a myth this "gap" is.

Plus read the book Multiplication is for White People by Lisa Delpit, a noted expert in urban education, not just some guy Amherst hires because he is young, attractive and a smooth talking public speaker and you'll see there is no gap, just a perception that liberals love to perpetuate.

Anonymous said...

Walter, you don't think Dr. Rhonda Cohen, Director of Teaching and Learning, is doing good work?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed said...

How come only white people in standard issue western attire can be superintendent of the Amherst Schools?

I find it amazing that Maria G -- who is neither male nor "traditionally qualified" to be a Superintendent -- she doesn't even YET have her Doctorate, does she? -- can even be considered in the context above.

Her qualifications, as best I could/can tell, consisted of the fact that she was NOT the traditional White Male with the Traditional Qualifications in the Traditional Attire.

And if she doesn't pass Multicultural Muster, then exactly what is she supposed to be good at -- or for -- as she doesn't pass muster under any traditional standards...

Anonymous said...

So, your saying the educators in Amherst just aren't good enough at their jobs, haven't had enough education and professional development, and that's why kids of color are not "achieving" at the rate white (and some Asian) kids are?

I was under the impression that we provide more and better professional development opportunities to teachers, and attract some of the best educated teachers, here in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

How come only white males in traditional western attire get to be Town Manager of Amherst?

Anonymous said...

So, if the kids of color are not achieving, but,the other student are able to.Wouldn't that be the parents fault and not the schools?

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Terrell reminds me of Professor Harold Hill of "The Music Man", here to purify our children's souls right here in River City."

This is what I was thinking!

Come into town and speak a incoherent word salad. NO ONE will question what you are saying.

Before reality hits...
Grab the money and run!

Anonymous said...

The ignorance displayed by some of these comments is alarming. For God's sake, we have people of color living in our town who weren't even allowed to vote for the first half of their lives, and you wonder if it's the parents' fault, as if structural boundaries are a myth. It's really clear now that we do need someone with a track record and an intelligent perspective, like Terrell, to join this town/school/college/outside organization collaborative.

Dr. Ed said...

we have people of color living in our town who weren't even allowed to vote for the first half of their lives,

Massachusetts permitted people of color to vote in the election that ratified the US Constitution.

That was in 1789.

HOW old are these people????

You're making it all so much worse said...

"Calvin is a master artist of group facilitation and public speaking. He’s gifted with being able to tailor presentations or design programming specific to the needs of most requests. Beginning this service in his youth, for over 20 years, Calvin’s experiences have afforded him many collaborations, if he can’t serve your needs, he probably knows someone who can. Whether you work with Calvin or not, we send blessings on your endeavors to better the world. Thank you for visiting"


Juuuuuusst perfect.

-Squeaky Squeaks


Anonymous said...

You have to salute Mr. Terrell's entrepreneurial spirit.

Walter Graff said...

"Walter, you don't think Dr. Rhonda Cohen, Director of Teaching and Learning, is doing good work?"

A man works as an inspector on an assembly line. He has done this job properly for 20 years. His job is to inspect the final product. He knows that the machinery has issues and that occasional products will be defective. He has reported the issues that he sees with ways to achieve more constancy a number of times and yet he notices that nothing changes. No one seems to repair the system. Nevertheless, he diligently continues his job to the best of his abilities.

Because there is a systemic problem, would it be fair for me to say this man is not good at his job?

There are many very qualified individuals in the Amherst system. I know of many excellent teachers. Some of these teachers tell me privately of the ills in the system, but they continue doing what they love because in any system there are ways to work around dysfunction. So teachers do what is in the best interest of the students even if sometimes it goes against the administrations policy.

Once, while in a discussion with a group of Amherst residents, we got on the discussion of schools. A newer resident noted that he was under the impression that Amherst had a great school system. Another long-term resident responded to his notion noting that many assume that to be true in Amherst but that the reality was far different and while Amherst enjoyed a robust system years ago, today it lacked many of the basic qualities of a well rounded and well run educational system. Yet the perception continues.

I can understand how the myth perpetuates even amongst parents of students. I spend a lot of time at my children school for various things from events to class trips. Each week I always see the same core 15 or so parents that like me are simply at the school more than most either dropping off, or attending an event.

Let's face it, most parent have no time, and sometimes little care to do more than make sure their children get to school. I'd imagine this is true anywhere. So many of these parents simply rely on an assumption.

It makes perfect sense that one would think that a school system in a town that is surrounded by education institutions, where most every resident either teaches or has some role in education must have a fantastic system.

Unfortunately markers of Amherst's school system don't show that to be true. Unfortunately, just because many of your relatives are doctors doesn't mean you will get better medical treatment. Yet the misconception of Amherst's supposed "fantastic" school system still exists.

No school system is perfect. Many parents are seeing that Amherst lacks the fundamental direction that one would expect in a town like this. Some parents have responded. This year quite a few more parents will be moving their children to other schools than in years past. You can ask them why they are doing this, I already have. Some parents don't have that option so must work to try to improve the system and expose the ills that plague it.

I would think any parent has their children's best interest in mind. I know like the parents I encounter, I want the best for my children. I believe Amherst has a number of things to work on to become the institution it deserves to be. Right now it is lacking to the point of concern.

Of course like my inspector example above, the administration is not a reflection of some of the wonderful teaches (and school staff) who work hard and are dedicated to enriching their students lives.

Right now as I see it, the school system will not be able to achieve anything more than C grade with its current superintendent and the school committee. When an organization fails to achieve consistent excellence, it is the leadership that is the root cause.

Anonymous said...

Massachusetts permitted people of color to vote in the election that ratified the US Constitution. That was in 1789. HOW old are these people????

They're 36.

Anonymous said...

Blame the parents of Amherst. The Apple dont fall too far from the tree I think the adults need Calvin Terrell more than the students. Most of the issues we have at the schools starts at the home level period and its sad we always want to point the blame for our issues.

Anonymous said...

Do you want true equality in the Amherst schools? Well, for starters, how about not cutting art and music programs (done recently but thankfully restored)? How about providing the SPED services that students legally deserve? How about not promoting mediocre principals and giving them costly administrative jobs? Those are just a few suggestions that would help everyone "come together, right now."

Anonymous said...

Flash forward to now: Terrell spoke a few days ago and terrified many of the middle schoolers, leaving them in tears.

But at least they are enlightened "peaceful warriors" who know about curb-stomping and can imagine what it would be like if someone came into the school and shot everyone in the face.

That certainly seems like it was worth $38,000.