Monday, August 10, 2015

Mediation Vs Facilitation

Amilcar Shabazz addresses his former colleagues on the Regional School Committee

After an hour and 15 minutes of sometimes heated discussion the Amherst Regional School Committee voted unanimously to support a motion calling for them to enter into a discussion with the NAACP regarding their concerns over discipline disparities with a  "facilitator" rather than entering into formal mediation.

Last week the Regional School Committee voted to allow three of their members to do exactly that, but the NAACP turned them down saying they wished to abide by the 1993 legal agreement and enter into formal mediation with the entire Committee.

 A dozen spectators including three former Regional School Committee members in attendence

The original motion from Dan Robb called for exactly that, but was amended by Rick Hood to change the word mediation to facilitation.  That amendment passed with five of nine supporting it: Katherine Appy, Kathleen Traphagen, Rick Hood, Kip Fonsh and Phoebe Hazzard, who was using remote participation via computer.

 Amherst NAACP President Kathleen Anderson:  "Mediation" or federal lawsuit

A few minutes before that NAACP local President Kathleen Anderson clearly told the committee that it was either "mediation" or a lawsuit would be filed in federal court.  Former Regional School Committee member Amilcar Shabazz also passionately urged his former colleagues to enter into mediation to avoid just such a lawsuit.

RSC member Vira Douangmany Cage pointed out the school's attorney Giny Tate makes $225 per hour and her staunch advice about the Consent Decree being a simple "contract" that was null and void could lead to a lawsuit that would only serve to give her many more hours of lucrative work.

Kathleen Anderson reads statement of Mary Lou Conca in support of spending $5,000 on mediation.  Investigation of her complaints against Schools cost $15,000

But Katherine Appy asked why would the committee listen to the NAACP attorney (who claimed it was a Consent Decree still in force) and not their own?  So why waste taxpayer money on a Mediator when it's clearly not required?

When all was said and done the Regional School Committee voted 9-0 to go into "discussion" with the NAACP with a facilitator rather than entering into formal mediation.

The ball is now squarely in the NAACP's court.

 Bulletin board on wall just outside RSC meeting


Dr. Ed said...

Perhaps it's time to tell the NAACP to "Go to Hell."

The Westboro Baptist Church has lawyers too -- and if they showed up, would the school committee pander to them?

If the NAACP can identify one Black student who was suspended for something that he/she/it didn't deserve to be suspended for, more power to them. Otherwise, thus is all bullshit and Kathleen Anderson needs to be reminded that she isn't on the school committee anymore due to disability -- the voters got sick of her....

Dr. Ed said...

When you have a Black illegitimacy ratio that is almost 3:1 (72.3% versus 29.1%), you should expect the same thing in your school suspension rates as father living with mother under the same roof is the single most significant factor in a child doing things that warrant being suspended from school. If we want to talk statistics and not individual students, the ARHS should be suspending MORE Black students, not less.

Roger Clegg, whom I know & respect, asks an interesting question: Why doesn't the NAACP attempt to do something about the Black illegitimacy rate, which is causing all the rest?!?!?

The fact that each of a woman's four children have a different father is far more relevant than race -- folks, it is...

We know what causes pregnancy, it is neither toilet seats nor racist cops, so let's look at teenaged birth rates: Black: 47.4, White: 21.8 -- that's more than 2:1 and doesn't include the abortions, which are so disproportionately Black that it's changed the demographic makeup of the country.

Why shouldn't the same ratio appear in school suspension rates?

You can read the CDC report yourself if you wish.

Anonymous said...

This is not in response to Ed, but to the post in general:

So the NAACP has a moral case, rather than a legal one, to make to the Committee about the disciplining of students. From what I can tell, the organization has a Committee, as well as a local electorate, that is willing not only to listen to it, but to respond to it. So whether Attorney Tate is right or wrong is, in the long run, beside the point.

I continue to think that the good will and sense of fairness of the people of the Region has been underestimated here.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Party A and Party B (ironic names) had a contract. The contract expired. Thus, they no longer have a contract, they are not obligated to each other.

Party B would like Party A to still abide by the contract and even though it is no longer in force, and has threatened Party A with trouble (baseless lawsuit etc).

Then Party A says, we still want to cooperate and address any issues, Party B postures again. Party A already runs a town where Party B is given a higher class than Party W, Party H, Party C, Party G, Party L (kinda), Party S, Party T, Party W (kinda) etc. Ok Party L and Party W are pretty high class too, most recognize the lowness of Party W, especially Party Wm.

Party B continues to stomp its feet. The person running Party B is very short sighted, because Party A will remember the actions of the person running Party B and even if Party B gets it's way this time, through court or not, Party A will never really play ball with Party B in the future unless it is forced to (and most especially the person running party B).

This is called cutting off your nose to spite your face. It is also likely to cost the person running Party B future job opportunities (like the math teacher that sued, that is likely her last pay for some time, maybe forever. Ironically, she did not do the math).

Dr. Ed said...

I say again that it would be something else entirely if the NAACP could point out one Black student who was treated unfairly -- sorta like a certain WHITE student that I'm thinking of...

Anonymous said...

What exactly is wrong with the NAACP and the school committee talking? People, stay calm.

Anonymous said...


Activist: Super, We need to talk again, since you are not doing as much as we want you to do.
Super: What's up this time.
Activist: Student discipline. In your Amherst school, black students are still disciplined proportionally more than black families as a population in Amherst.
Super: We have significantly reduce most of the student displines in Middle school, and high school as well. Do you have a special case to discuss about?
Activist: If we have a "good" case, you will not hear from me, but our attorney. Forget about Gardner's case already? We will let this community pay dearly.
Super: If you don't have a case to talk about. Then how can we help you?
Activist: We are talking about equity, stupid. Everything should be proportional to population distribution. We have Affirmative Action for college admision. We should also create a law about equity in student discipline. It is equity.
Super: What is your suggestion?
Activist: Reduce black student discipline number to be proportional to white student discipline number as population ratio.
Super: We hear about lots of complains from parents and teachers that we lost classroom control and hurts student's learnings. The complains are from black student families, too.
Activist: We don't care about average students, if they are not one of us. Our activist's students cannot still catch up with their studies. It is too hard to learn.
Super: We already substaintially dumb down our curriculums starting from middle school two years ago. We will carry over the dumb downed curriculum with them into high school. Over time, we will fundamentally change Amherst school system as old folks remember them. It takes time.
Activist: It is not fast enough. We cannot wait.
Super: Quite some families desert our school in favors of other private and public schools in the area. We are bleeding out our students.
Activist: I don't care.
Super: As a result, our per stuent cost is over 20k. It is higher than some of private schools.
Activist: That is not my money or your money, right? We support you as Super a couple of years ago. It is not because you are capable, or other BS. It is because you are a weak leader, so you can listen to us.
Activist: We want further reduction of student discipline to our activist students.
Super: The classroom will be further out of control. Students learning will be further hurt..
Activist: We don't care about average students. We should let our activists control the pace of the curriculum delivery. If they feel it is too fast they should be given the right to disrupt a little, and slow things down.
Super: Our teachers are already very accommodate to your students.
Activist: Not enough. We want our activist students to control the classroom. So that teachers are only allowed to deliver enough materials so that every student can learn the same and everybody gets A.
Super: Students will not be learning enough to get into selected colleges.
Activist: Our activist students have Affirmative Action tickets that guarantee select school admissions if they got all A.
Super: What about other studens who don't have AA tickets?
Activist: We don't care about those who are not one of us.

to be continued

Anonymous said...

Satire (continued)

Super: We heard a lot of complains from parents, and the community. They accuse us dumbing down their schools, and let classroom order run wild.
Activist: It is not enough. Our equity goal has not been achieved yet.
Super: The school and community has done a lot to accommodate your activist students. This community is very sympathetic to social justice. They already suffers a lot themselves to support equity cause.
Activist: To tell you the truth, this is the reason we are here. Our activists want to get into a community that is sympathetic to social justice. But we want to further our social engineering.
Super: But I cannot tell parents and community what we discuss here. People will be very upset.
Activist: To borrow a word from Seattle activists who called Bernie Sanders, "White Supermacist Liberal". You are one of those.
Super: Am I worst than a racist?
Activist: Not much better. I commend you and your school committee to get into formal mediation with us to solve student discipline disproportionality in your school.
Super: Can we do a facilitated discussion instead? The community is already tired of social justice, in light of Gardner's case.
Activist: Facilitated discussion will not achieve what we want. There is no discussion, either mediation and agree with what we want, or we will go lawsuit against you, your school, and Amherst community.
Super: I still want my job. What should I do?
Activist: Do as we told you to do, as before.
Super: But I cannot continue to lie to the parents and the community of our true intention any more.
Activist: That is your problem.
Super: And the lawsuit is very expensive.
Activist: In today's political correct environment, if we sue, we will win, regardless of merit or cause. All the judges needs to heed not to be called racist, or white supremacist.
Super: I have a headache right now. Please let me know what will happen if you win your lawsuit?
Activist: Remember Gardner case. We will seek financial compensation. Of course you will pay our lawyer's fee. That is the reason, we don't care about lawyer's fee. We never need to pay for that.
Super: , My mind is as clear as mud. Please tell me what will happen if you lose the lawsuit.
Activist: First of all, we will never lose. In today's political wind, we will not lose. If we sue, we will win. If we are unfortunate to meet a stubborn judge, who doesn't agree with us, we will dump racist, white supremacist title on him.
Activist: Then we activists will walk out of your town. Your mean town is not for us. We will go to the next town to continue our social justice and social engineering.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone is calm. It remains to be seen if the NAACP will indeed agree to talk. I'm betting they won't.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that anon@621 writes what is very close to the reality of the situation. BTW, many kids of color are leaving our schools and it seems probable that some leave because they just want to be a regular student, which is hard to be in this current climate (thanks to Ms Geryk and Ms Anderson).

Anonymous said...

Still, no one andwers yes or no to this simple question: are teachers in the ARMS system being told not to discipline a black student when he or she has violated school rules?

Anonymous said...

anon@8;51, It sure seemed so...

Anonymous said...

Seemed? Or seems? Can any teachers confirm?

Dr. Ed said...

I don't see any teachers denying being told not to discipline Black students, and I think that speaks volumes, doesn't it?

And the untold aspect of this is the hostility that young Black men who are trying to get an education will encounter if discipline standards are not maintained. There is a great deal of peer pressure amongst Black males *NOT* to do well in school, and those who do are often subjected to bullying and worse.

So if "many kids of color are leaving" -- well, doesn't that speak volumes too?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed,
You are so angry. You say such angry things here and a bit one sided--although what that side is I have yet to figure out. You may be sitting high on the denial heap--because there are racial inequities, economic inequities, and lots of ignorant people out there who have been given charge of our children while they are legally obliged to attend public schools. (Poor people can not opt out either homeschooling (we work full time) or sending our children to private schools.)
And it will be most difficult to find one Black student who has been unfairly treated--since the majority of them are--day in and day out. This mistreatment is not specific to one child--please try and understand this. I think you are a smart man--no really--I only wish you could smell the coffee for its burning.
And your continued bashing of children born out of wedlock, from different fathers--has no bearing on how they're treated while in school--It would appear you are trying to blame the child--or worse his/her mother--for the ignorant, racist, practices of our public employes.

Anonymous said...

" there are racial inequities, economic inequities,"

And it's up to the individual to break those walls down. And they can and do every day...

Hank Aaron
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Muhammad Ali
Arthur Ashe
Charles Barkley
Wilt Chamberlain
Reggie Jackson
Michael Jordan
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Sugar Ray Leonard
Ralph Ellison
Alex Haley
Lorraine Hansberry
Langston Hughes
Toni Morrison
Walter Mosley
Richard Wright
Morgan Freeman
Gregory Hines
Lena Horne
James Earl Jones
Spike Lee
Eddie Murphy
Sidney Poitier
Richard Pryor
Will Smith
Denzel Washington
Oprah Winfrey
Thurgood Marshall
Colin Powell
Clarence Thomas
Andrew Young
Coleman Young
Harry Belafonte
Chuck Berry
Ray Charles
Nat King Cole
Miles Davis
Duke Ellington
Aretha Franklin
Dizzy Gillespie
Jimi Hendrix
Billie Holiday
Michael Jackson
Robert Johnson
Diana Ross
Stevie Wonder

Anyone can overcome being poor and of color; with education, proper upbringing, talent, and drive... ANYONE.

"And your continued bashing of children born out of wedlock, from different fathers--has no bearing on how they're treated while in school"

Lead by a team of researchers from Columbia and Princeton Universities, the study followed approximately 5,000 children born in large cities in the U.S. between 1998 and 2000 to investigate family dynamics, the well-being of the child, the ongoing consequences of unstable partnerships and what role, if any, policy should play in addressing them.
Research demonstrates that children who are born out of wedlock are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to have a child before age 20, and one and a half times as likely to be out of school or work by their late teens or early 20s.

Anonymous said...

I should have stressed anyone as in ANYONE, regardless of color can and does make it in life. Problem with much of the black subculture in this country is they want a free ride, frown on fixing the family issues, have no ambition to school and educate their children beyond what they are required to and demand 'justice' when they see the rest of the world working hard to make it, while they are not. And of course the latest gimmick is to cry foul when there is no foul such as "hands up" or when a black student is punished for his or her disruptions. Then suddenly life isn't fair and everyone is a racist.

Scenario #1: Three people accidentally walk into pit of quicksand. Only two are able to pull themselves out. Reaction: Sad and Unfortunate

Scenario #2: Three people accidentally walk into pit of quicksand. Only two are able to pull themselves out. Both are white and the one who perished was black Reaction: It was racist and the two whites didn't help the black person

Anytime you make something about color you cloud reality and jade the outcome.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nowhere in any of the most famous quotes by this man did he separate one man from another

Anonymous said...

2:02 pm
Beautifully said.
But when children suffer (especially in the public schools)--and they do--because of the sins of their parents--then something is wrong--no matter what the 'studies' show. This study you quote seems to be another example of blame the victim.
How much money, I can only imagine, was spent on this study--instead of maybe buying a home for some of the families they 'studied.' Or paying for a years worth of groceries for the other families who would greatly appreciate it I am sure.
Yes--these men you list have made it--and this is wonderful--but the odds are against our youth of color these days--and until we come to a realization of this--well--they'll just keep wasting tons of money on studies. :(

Dr. Ed said...

-> (Poor people can not opt out either homeschooling (we work full time)
-> or sending our children to private schools.)

That may change in the near future. Pay attention to the word "voucher" -- listen for the word "voucher"....

Remember what a "Section 8 Voucher" actually is -- instead of subsidizing a physical location (e.g. Watson's Farm) the subsidy follows the family and the apartment they choose to live in gets the subsidy. Education vouchers are the same thing, the subsidy follows the child, to the public school or wherever else.

Personally, I'd love to see the local AME church establish a charter school with an emphasis on "Black Christian Culture & Values" -- it would have to be open to children of all races, as mandated by both Federal law & human decency, but that doesn't mean that it can't establish standards consistent with its values.

(Perhaps starting with "No, they are 'young ladies', not 'hos', we expect you all to act like the young adults you are, and none of us will be using the "N" word, regardless of how we spell it or what we mean by it -- it's a hateful word that should be delegated to the trashbin of history.")

-> And it will be most difficult to find one Black student who has been
-> unfairly treated--since the majority of them are--day in and day out.

I didn't mean to imply that the NAACP had to limit itself to the challenging of just one unjust suspension -- if the majority of theses suspensions (which is what the issue is) were unwarranted, you present the two or three most egregious examples and add that you can present more if necessary.

-> This mistreatment is not specific to one child--please try and understand this.

Each child is an individual. Each child who was suspended either deserved to be or didn't -- and unless it was a "joint enterprise", an incident involving more than one child, that particular child shouldn't be held accountable for what any other child, of any race, did anywhere else. It is what that individual did or didn't do -- nothing else.

Willie Horton, Barack Obama, Allen West and Bill Cosby are all Black men older than I -- and very different people.

Dr. Ed said...

But why continue to make the problem WORSE?!?!?

In the 1930s, there was a lot of racism --- but few single Black mothers, with almost all of those being widows. There may have been a few pregnant brides, but Black couples got married before their first child was born and children had a father.

We are now at what -- 74% out-of-wedlock Black births, and we are not willing to say that this is not good? Why? (It's not good for White children either -- it's just that the statistics aren't as bad, yet...)

Why isn't the NAACP interested in ADVANCING -- if they are "for the Advancement of" young Black men, how about trying to actually *do* that, starting with telling young Black men to "sit down, shut up, and pay attention in school."

Racists like Bull Connor could never do the damage that the soft bigotry of low expectations has done to the Black community....

I'll go one step further -- the Klan murdered a lot of people, but when you look at the carnage in Chicago alone....

Anonymous said...

There's your problem, you bring color into it and make it an issue. No one of color has any less of a hurdle than anyone else as hard as it is to accept. As King said in the quote, "very step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Color is not mentioned in that quote and doesn't need to be made into an issue. That list I made is all people who worked to get out of the system that most blacks find themselves in. They all happen to be black but I could have made a list of whites who also worked their way out of poverty. The only difference is ones perception of color. Education and family is the key. Put your kids in collage. Teach them respect, dignity and character. Don't let them dress like slobs and use rappers and drug dealers as as mentors and heroes. Plenty of black kids make their way out of the system of government and social dependency. Like it or not, it takes a bit of assimilation into a more white culture approach where one expects to move up in the world rather than stay stuck in hell. Of course as many whites are stuck in that hell as blacks. Only difference is many more white kids grew up in families that gave them a chance. I watch black kids excel and make it in life all the time. Using color is a crutch that needs to end. Stop labeling everyone and start teaching everyone what goals are and how to achieve them. Enough victim crap. Any successful black will tell you there may be some hurdles but not much more than any poor white kid has to overcome. When is this world going stop making a color boundary? All lives matter. And all people are born with the same chance to excel in life. Only perceptions and self limitations hold them back.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear! These liberal policies (the non-disciplining of black school handbook violators is but a small example) actually hurt the very people they're intended to help. The left thinks that the rest of us should live according to their rules. Well I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. (To quote a phrase.)

Anonymous said...

But see...color IS mentioned every day in school. And now in the de facto policies of administrators. The left seeks to gain control of your very language and the make up of your neighborhoods. I think the political correctness pendulum is starting to swing the other way. More and more people are fed up.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in poverty — as do 22% of children in the US — has alarming, long-term effects on the brain, new studies conclude. This can lead to long-term problems with depression, anxiety, learning difficulties and issues dealing with stress.

Professor Joan L. Luby, one of the study’s authors, said:

“Our research has shown that the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses experienced by the children.”

Children from low-income families scored 20% lower on standardized tests, new research has found.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the exodus of kids from the Amherst schools is partially because of parents fed up with the equity crowd's continuous drum beat and pressure on the SC and Superintendent. I know I am tired of it all and want the schools to go back to focusing on the education of all kids!

Anonymous said...

And stop expecting us to sit idly by while the schools cram their leftist agenda down our kids throats. Please! I demand diversity. Diversity of thought. Stop trying to teach the students WHAT to think, but rather How to think.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:27, many people would love the district to focus on the education of all kids. I don't believe that the people asking for an equitable education in our schools for all are to blame for our schools not currently offering this. I see the "equity crowd" as part of the solution, not the problem.

Anonymous said...

Equity is a word that always Sounds like a good idea. But it is a utopian thing that can never be achieved. Nor should it be. Liberal policies don't work. Communism doesn't work. Socialism does not work. I keep hearing "There's so much anger in the country." 3/4 of the country believe America is in decline. And Liberals are in charge. Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

democratic socialism appears to work very well (not perfectly) in every country where it is the form of government. certainly better in many ways than things seem to be working in the USA. (less crime [greater percentage of people own guns in Norway; 5 gun deaths a year in Norway vs. 30,000+ a year in the USA], less [virtually no] poverty, so on so on.)

But hey, we have FREEDOM, right?

Anonymous said...

6:06: shouldn't differentiate between the groups and individuals seeking equity in our schools, and amherst's "equity crowd"?

Anonymous said...

Noce to lnow you place us right up there with Norway.
Hey, can you answer the question Wasserman-schultz could not: what is the difference between socialism and the Democrat party? (How should She know? She's only the Head of the oarty lol)

Anonymous said...

Equity how? What does that even mean?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed,
Lots of what you say is still coming across as 'blame the victim.' You speak very intelligently, yet with such anger. You seem to have answers--yet, so what? All they really are are words on this silly blog. You can quote statistics that lean towards your being a woman hater--you say awful things in reference to women having the goverment as husbands--single moms raising unruly children. Vouchers--do you know how difficult they are to get--and once you've got one either housing or education--do you the absolute insane regulations one must follow to keep them? A four year old child was being expelled--kicked out--of Montessori because that school decided at one time not to accept 'vouchers' anymore. Okay--so the children who can keep going (rich maybe?) are told--"Your friend can't come here anymore and play with you, because you're rich and she is poor." as an explanation of where their friend went. And housing--if you can't pay your water and sewerage bill--who ever had to pay for these bills before as a renter anyway?!--you get evicted--you become homeless and join the ranks of the many families sleeping on our streets. Or if you do not cut yur lawn--if it grows more than four inches the housing 'authority' will come cut it and give you a bill at $40 an hour--what poor person makes that much money or has that much time to cut their lawn--in between raising their family--working two jobs and all else that goes towards raising our future. And what if you like long grass anyway--or if your beliefs won't allow you to kill living matter? Doesn't matter--once you're in this system you belong to a rule of order made by people--who most of hate poor people-- who get some sort of sick satisfaction from imposing their sick 'regulations' on you to the T. Common sense--and few of these people have much of this--will tell you that if a poor mother cannot afford a healthy meal each day for her family--how the hell can she afford to pay for water--a basic human necessity anyway--F*** it--who gave these people the rights to the water anyway?