Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bullet Vote?

Vince O'Connor at a recent School Committee meeting

Yes it makes plenty of sense to tell your followers to use only one of their allotted votes in a race where two seats are open and three candidates are running as we now have in the only town wide contest on the March 29 ballot, School Committee.

But it's also considered a tad improper, since the ballot clearly says "vote for not more than two."  In other words, cast two votes.

The term is "bullet vote" and it's usually a tactic that's advertised via email, phone, or private message.  So I was a little surprised a sitting School Committee member and candidate for the state legislature would come right out and endorse the tactic on her public Facebook page.

Click to enlarge/read

In fact I find it kind of surprising a School Committee member would take a public stand on candidates at all, since she will be working with two of them in the very near future and it could very well be the two she told her supporters NOT to vote for.

As for me I advise the exact opposite:  Vote anyone but Vince for School Committee (Kent & Ordonez) and -- more important -- Hell YES to the only question on the bottom of the ballot:  "Shall a commission be elected to frame a charter for Amherst?"


67 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's called strategy and there is nothing wrong with it. Saying not more than two, says only that. People bullet vote all the time. There is so little information about the other candidates, I don't even know what or who I am voting for.

Larry Kelley said...

That's encouraging (sarcasm).

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Two thoughts:

First, I'm entirely in favor of bullet voting - it is a strategy, and if your goal is to get Vince elected, it is a smart strategy.

Second, I can't remember a time in which a person on the SC or the SB announced how they would vote or recommended to others how to vote, since - as you note - that person will have to work with other people, whoever they are (and at least one won't be Vince). That choice seems unfortunate.

Larry Kelley said...

Personally I'm a big fan of bullet voting, especially if you're an outsider.

And Vince is certainly an outsider.

Anonymous said...

Worth reading. In the replies, someone posted:

Vincent O’Connor, a candidate for School Committee, is not fit to represent us or any children in this town.

He was the contact person who knew within hours the identity and whereabouts of the negligent owner and handler of the pit bull that bit our daughters on their first day of school in 2014. He refused to share that information. The girls had stitches and Steri-strips and had to take a full course of rabies shots unnecessarily.

O’Connor could have prevented their pain, discomfort, potential vaccine side effects along with the unnecessary expenditure of over $12,000 in health care costs, parents’ time off work and public funds our police force spent dealing with this case.

Nine days later, O’Connor relinquished the dog to Animal Welfare, but still refused to share information. By then, it was too late.

The dog was sadly killed due to the circumstances. Her owner cowardly abandoned her to fate and is still protected by O’Connor’s silence.

This public letter would never be out had O’Connor come forward with the information and the dog within 24 hours, which he had the ability as well as a moral and civil duty to do.

He, instead, chose to protect perpetrators of a crime instead of its victims. O'Connor's actions in this regard make it clear to us that he is not qualified to serve on any other body responsible for the well-being of Amherst's students.

Amherst government has been known to send messages about injustice.

We now ask Amherst people to send a message that it is not OK for a representative to protect criminals while allowing harm to come to our younger, most precious residents.

Renata Shepard
Sean Gilsdorf
Amanda Seaman
Amherst

Anonymous said...

Anon@8:21 This two second internet search to an article in the Gazette provides ample information...

http://www.gazettenet.com/News/Local/Two-parents-activist-seek-pair-of-seats-on-Amherst-School-Committee-1015206

Anonymous said...

Vira is TOXIC for this town. It is unquestionable.

Mark Warren said...

I can't vote for any of the school committee candidates. I also won't be voting for any of the TM candidates because they have no accountability I will be voting yes on 1 and the Amherst for all slate. I also won't be voting for anyone unopposed. SORRY if that sounds cynical!

Anonymous said...

"Strategery."

Anonymous said...

Vera, would love to hear you comment on the letter regarding Vince and the dog. It is a true story. As school committee member I am sure you are aware.
Please comment to give yourself some credibility.
signed
a voter

Anonymous said...

Here's Vira's response from face book:

Vira Douangmany Cage
Hi Beth Schmidt--Thanks for sharing the letter. I am not representing or speaking on behalf of Vince on the dog, school district, and children tragedy. Mediation is sorely needed in my perspective. I was at the Amherst League of Women Voters candidates forum and talked to one of the moms involved picketing. I spent about two hours with Vince in my neighborhood and met some families he has helped quietly and without fanfare. On Tuesday, I will vote for Vince.
Like1More · Yesterday at 6:16pm

Anonymous said...

Vira's call for a vote for Vince is just a continuation of her divisive style. Why would any thinking community member vote for someone who doesn't put kids first? And why wouldn't she support two young parents ( one a Latina and one a special ed parent) with a real stake in the system? Vira doesn't choose positions based on reason, she makes decisions based on a few community members' angry rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

It is true that SC members are left unchecked for their tenure. There is no expectation that elected members demonstrate efficacy for three full years, it is a pass to use the seat for personal political expression. The entire body and each individual member ought to be subjected to, at the very least, a yearly approval rating generated by voters.

michael Burkart said...

FYI:
http://www.amherstbulletin.com/home/11129062-95/story.htm

"To the editor:

It is often hard to find people interested in serving as unpaid public officials. When someone emerges who is willing to step up and run for office, and do a conscientious, thoughtful job of it, I feel it is up to the community to support that person if she decides, against all odds, to run for a second term.

We are in that position now. Katherine Appy, who ran for the School Committee during its recent acrimonious times, is prepared to serve another term.

Another candidate is challenging her, Vira Douangmany. I have known Vira for several years and think highly of her. I am delighted that she is stepping up to volunteer for one of these important unpaid positions and have told her so. I have also told her that I will not be supporting her Tuesday. I think it does not reflect well on us as a community if we do not support people who have served well and are willing to continue to serve.

I will vote for Katherine on March 25, and look forward to voting for Vira in the future.

State Rep. Ellen Story
Amherst"

Interesting: White State Rep urges people to vote for particular school committee candidate. No big problem.
Asian candidate for State Rep urges people to vote for particular school committee candidate. BIG problem

Anonymous said...

You miss the point Michael. It is not a problem that Vira is endorsing someone for SC while running for State Rep. It's a problem that a sitting SC member is endorsing someone running for SC. It is just not done. Do you hear any other SC members publicly endorsing someone? No. The inappropriateness of the endorsement has nothing to do with the fact she is running for State Rep and has everything to do with the fact that she is a sitting SC member.

Anonymous said...

Michael- If you are going to make it all about race, why is Vira not supporting the Latina woman and the parent who has worked for special ed students and issues since coming to Amherst, over the white man?

Anonymous said...

that response from Vira is APPALLING... at 8:39 AM

Anonymous said...

Town Meeting was founded as a way for white, male, landowners to protect their interests.
It was that way 350 years ago, and it is that way in 2016--just look at the photos!

And look who is on the "Town Meeting Works" (vote no) slate--all white landowners!!

Anonymous said...

You and your crew are the most suspect and misguided set of misfits this town has ever witnessed, you don't know what where when how or who to take the fight to.

Laura Quilter said...

There's nothing improper, not even "a tad", about voting for fewer than the maximum permissible number of candidates. Like, zero or less than zero improper. It doesn't even have to be "strategy": It can simply be a preference to only support candidates one knows something about.

Larry, you obviously don't like O'Connor, which is your right, but it does some discredit to yourself to gin up fake controversies.

Laura Quilter

Anonymous said...

Prof. Sanderson has identified the problem: an incumbent School Committee member politicking for a person running for a seat on her board. I'm fairly sure that Vira is not the only one doing this, however, on this current School Committee.

Once again, we have what strikes me as a particular mentality of this time and place, and of my contemporaries: "I am right, therefore whatever I do and say is right." My experience is that this mentality is the equivalent of peeing in the pool that one swims in with one's fellow citizens. My sense is that this particular School Committee membership's collegial relations are sufficiently contaminated already, and this will only make it worse. How one wins (and loses) in politics matters.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

What's all the fuss! This is politics, a noble profession.

I'm sure our congressman would endorse a democrat for any open seat. I'm sure some other state reps will endorse the democratic candidate for Ellen Story's seat ( I know a Republican could never take that seat.) It's traditional that, if they desire, incumbents not up for election can endorse another candidate.

What Vira is saying is that if you like her ideas and goals, there is another candidate that thinks similar to her. - For some that makes the ballot choice obvious.

Anonymous said...

Richard,
No other School Committee member has publicly endorsed any of the 3 SC candidates. I know several current and past members of the SC and they have always been very careful not to publicly endorse anyone running for SC when they were on the committee. Vira is the only one who has done this this year.

Dr. Ed said...

I'm not defending what Vince did or didn't do, only suggesting that someone with personal integrity isn't always able to explain things because of reasons he also can't publicly articulate, reasons which involve the well-being and/or personal reputations of others.

I've been there.

I can't understand what it is that Vince is accused of having done -- this is starting to read like one of Joe McCarthy's drunken rants. Sure some of Lillian Hellman's friends were Communists, but still, we now agree that things went way too far. The letter regarding Vince and the dog has all the vague nonspecifics of a smear.

Absent something both specific and official, I consider blaming Vince along the lines of blaming the injured children and their parents. I have an even worse problem condemning Vince for (possibly) not revealing everything he knew without any inquiry into why he might not have been able to do so.

Could he possibly have had a good reason?

(NB: I can't see Vince himself owning a vicious dog, he wouldn't be able to control it. Not a vicious one, not one which would attack children without provocation. Vince himself would be bitten...)

Dr. Ed said...

0nly one candidate has expressed a willingness to openly confront the Superintendent, and only one candidate doesn't have children potentially being held hostage by members of Team Maria. I'll never say anything publicly beyond the fact that I'll never vote for a parent whose child/children are *currently* in the school system, I've seen too many things happen. Way too many things...

Anonymous said...

I have to admire that Vira Dougamy is upfront with her positions and reasons for it. Instead of presenting a pleasant neutral public face and stabbing people in back rooms, the usual way. Instead of forging signatures to get someone on a ballot and not standing up publicly for what you've done. Or pretending to be fair and open when a decsision is already made. Many school committee members haven't gotten along in many years, the adminstration is always struggling with sc members. There is something to be said for being upfront. It's refreshing.

michael Burkart said...

Anon 10:30.

If you think that sitting school committee members do not work hard behind the scene to get people elected to SC who agree with their agenda, you are very naive.

Anonymous said...

Ed
Go Home...Stop talking about things you don't know and get wrong.
Vince knew the name of the owners of a dog that bit children.....by not giving up the names of the owners the children needed to get rabies treatment. if vince gave the police the owner of the dog the police could have contacted them and found out if the dog was up to date on vaccines...
Ed GET A LIFE

Dr. Ed said...

...[D]emocratic candidate for Ellen Story's seat ( I know a Republican could never take that seat.)"

Actually, the mASSgop was terrified that this could actually happen. They were afraid that a graduating UM student coming out of the Republican Club (which was NOT a CR chapter at the time) would unseat Ellen Story.

We could have done it -- we didn't want to, but at the time the UMRC had a bigger budget than the mASSgop. We were controlling the SGA on a "Good Government" and a message that people didn't have to share our values to respect the fact that we would be fair to them (and everyone else), even if they didn't particularly like us.

Think Switzerland -- it's strength was that neither France nor Germany nor Italy wanted one of the other countries controlling the mountain passes so they all agreed to leave Switzerland alone. A Republican still could win that seat on a good-government and shared self-interest basis.

Such a person inherently wouldn't be under the control of the mASSgop, which is why they will never permit it to happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ed....I could understand squeaky squeak better then I understand your ramblings. Ed, are you gonna vote for Vince? Oh that's right...sorry...maybe someday "they" will give you what you want...

Anonymous said...

Ed: "I'll never vote for a parent whose child/children are *currently* in the school system."

So you won't vote for anyone whose kids are directly affected by the actions of the SC? Only people with no skin in the game are cool to make decisions for our kids?

You got kids in the system Ed?

I just want to be 100% sure I understand your point of view on this, because it strikes me as extremely disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

I never said they don't work behind the scene. I said they don't publicly endorse. HUGE difference. If you don't see that you are incredibly obtuse.

Anonymous said...

"Not more than two" does not clearly mean two. It means zero or one or two.

Anonymous said...

O'Connor's actions (or inactions) were egregious regarding the dog incident at Crocker Farm. Based on that alone, he should not be qualified to serve on School Committee.

Dr. Ed said...

"... if vince gave the police the owner of the dog the police could have contacted them and found out if the dog was up to date on vaccines."

WAS the dog "up to date on vaccines"?

I kinda think this is a relevant fact here. So when the dog WAS found, was it determined to have been vaccinated, or not? Why do I suspect "not"???

And would have either knowing that or immediately killing the dog for autopsy have even mattered?

1: No vaccination program (or birth control method) is 100% effective, for a lot of the same reasons. Furthermore, how difficult would it be to acquire a rabies tag?

2: Isn't the Rabies virus in the saliva before the brain damage is visible under a microscope? I may be confusing my public health protocols here, but isn't the reason for the brain slice to determine if rabies is present in a community (and if so, the vector)? To confirm suspicions of rabies in a situation where there is strong grounds to suspect it.

3: If this situation was as egregious as presented, a "mad" dog, totally unprovoked, shows up out of the blue and starts chewing on children -- that's "textbook" grounds to suspect Rabies. In such a situation, wouldn't the medical protocol be to presume Rabies and start the 14" needles?

Wouldn't the (quite legitimate) primary purpose of finding the dog be to prevent additional bites, and determining (i.e. confirming) Rabies be to know the virus is active in the area? Wouldn't you still recommend full treatment to the parents?

Hence, what would have changed had he told the cops whose dog it was, assuming he even knew -- and that's only alleged -- what exactly would have changed?

BTW: The question I have is why there wasn't a chain link fence around the playground, why the perimeter wasn't secured (at all, apparently) in our era of "Chicken Little" hysterics --- but I digress....

Dr. Ed said...

Notwithstanding state law prohibiting it, would you vote for a SC candidate whose spouse was a teacher in the district? Why or why not?

Even better, why not elect the teachers to the school committee? Not those teaching elsewhere or retired teachers, or even those taking a few years off while their children are young, but those "with skin in the game" -- those who will be directly affected by their decisions... Why might we not want to do this???

The more I think about it, parents with children currently in the system should be prohibited from serving on school committees for the same reasons employees are prohibited from doing so.

I would never do it with a kid in the school system, I know that my child would be used to lever me -- I've seen this done far too many times (and not just in Amherst). Likewise, I'd want to be able to advocate for the child if necessary without having to worry about appearances, and I wouldn't want the kid's successes diminished because of me (e.g. "he only made the team because his father is on the SC").

And yes, there are parents who use the "do you know who I am" to gain unfair advantages for their children.

I will not vote for a SC candidate whose child is currently in the district, nor would I serve in such capacity. Shermanisque enough?

Dr. Ed said...

0ne more thing -- the schools do not exist for the children. Instead, they exist for the entire community (and country), they are an inter-generational compact where we provide a basic education to the next generation so they can (a) continue our culture and (b) provides for us in our old age.

I hope people understand just how insolvent the Mass public pensions are....

Anonymous said...

Why do people assume only negligence on the owner's behalf re the first day of school dog bite event, and that an act of malice was not involved? The entirety of the event, including how Vince, who lives in precinct one, got so intimately involved almost immediately with a "loose dog" situation 8 miles away at Crocker Farm, on the first day of school, before the police or principal even had the information Vince had, hasn't been clearly reported.

Dr. Ed said...

"The entirety of the event, including how Vince, who lives in precinct one, got so intimately involved almost immediately with a "loose dog" situation 8 miles away at Crocker Farm"

Mill Hollow is just below the Puffer's Pond dam. I'm not sure it's 8 miles (if you go the way I would), but not an insignificant distance. This is why I have trouble believing Vince really knew anything that the cops couldn't have quickly figured out on their own, and I reiterate the questions I asked above.

Now we are supposed to believe that Vince maliciously conspired to have a Rabid dog chew up some girl's face? This is like saying Amanda Carpenter slept with Ted Cruz -- I really don't think so, an accusation that doesn't pass "the straight face test." It's like asking us to believe that the Moon is made out of blue cheese...

Why would Vince want to see a couple children badly hurt? (Or killed, which could have happened.) Granted he is an ideological leftist, but still, how did he gain in doing this? And how did no one (APD, Team Maria, media, etc.) manage to uncover this if he had. My guess is that at least a half-dozen different entities had to file a 51A on this -- I'm not defending DCF but they didn't notice anything either?

Folks....

Anonymous said...

Vince knew the dog and it's owner- maybe even was housing them. The police, administration, everyone was trying to negotiate with Vince to allow the dog to be examined. He must have understood that the children would have to have rabies treatment if he did not comply. It seems he didn't care. Maybe on some level he did care, but not enough to protect those kids. This is not a person who seems able to make good decisions for all children.
He (and Vira) talks a lot about equity. But they are for example, supporting maintaining three schools, two of which are in terrible shape and require the schools to bus some of the least advantaged children in town based on their socio-economic status. Vince also thinks this is still in the hands of the school committee, it's not. It is now an issue of money and will fall to the town to decide.
But, if the town votes it down, no new school for anyone and Amherst students and teachers are stuck with two awful buildings for a very, very long time.....

Dr. Ed said...

Vince was housing the dog and owner -- ROTF,L...

This entire post is why I think Vince should be on SC -- because the Emperor's new suit is so nice....

Anonymous said...

> Would you vote for a SC candidate whose spouse was a teacher in the district? Why or why not?

Assuming there was no state law barring the conflict of interest - probably not, because the teacher could possibly benefit by secondary financial interest, so the CoI is implied. My kids, on the other hand, are of a primary interest to the committee - I believe the purpose of the school committee is, first and foremost, to actually benefit children. Which (full circle), is why it's prohibited by law: primary vs. secondary interest (not to mention the fact that parent-child relationships are generally exempt from CoI - nepotism is not illegal, no matter how unsavory).

Now, I understand we disagree on that because of your direct statement:

"the schools do not exist for the children." (Ed's further comments are above if anyone is worried that's out of context).

but I agree with what you say in the next two sentences - that they are indeed an inter-generational compact, that they are there to continue our culture (I disagree with you that they are to provide for us in our old age but that might be a generational difference, I don't know). My point of view is that the inter-generational compact is a trust relationship - I provide the best education possible for you while trusting that you will use that education to further the human race / cultural milieu / what-have-you - and that the solvency of the pensions is a straw-man that I think both of us can exclude from the argument. A person whose child is actually in the school, however, is directly impacted by the decisions of that committee; a person whose child is not is indirectly impacted. The actual "skin in the game" investment by an actual parent is of higher value to me than one who can make arbitrary decision and walk away without suffering any of the pain of having done so.

Let's break down your argument. I'm using your words but attempting to summarize your premises as best I can, so if you think I'm misrepresenting you let me know. I had to include the clause "because of the laws of CoI" to link the premises together.

P1: Employees of the school system are prohibited from serving on the school committee because of the laws of CoI
P2: Parents with children in the school system have a CoI in that they are affected by the outcome
C: No parent should be allowed to serve on the school committee

I don't think the argument is valid but let's leave that for another time and assume it is. Let's use the same form in a different way, one with a recent and painful history:

P1: The Adam Bank CEO is prohibited from serving on the SEC
P2: A customer of Adam Bank is affected by the decisions of the SEC
C: No customer of Adam Bank is allowed to serve on the SEC

What you seem to be arguing is that the only person who could serve on any committee anywhere would be a person who either (a) does not have a primary interest in the committee or (b) does not have a secondary interest in the committee i.e. the only person who could reasonably represent the people is someone is not affected by the peoples' decisions AT ALL. Someone who has NO skin in the game.

Other than that being impossible on a long enough time line (we were all impacted by the collapse of the banks, meaning we all had a secondary interest, meaning that now no CITIZEN can serve on the SEC) - this smacks dangerously of being some kind of warped gerontocracy. I don't know which generation you belong to Ed, but I can tell you that there's a general discontent among Gen-X and Gen-Y that the Boomers made the rules of the game to favor themselves, then pulled the ladders up behind them. An argument of "my kids are old enough to no longer be affected by whatever rules we put in place, so it's time for me to serve on the SC" seems to really fall into that line of thought.

Anonymous said...

> I would never do it with a kid in the school system, I know that my child would be used to lever me -- I've seen this done far too many times (and not just in Amherst). Likewise, I'd want to be able to advocate for the child if necessary without having to worry about appearances, and I wouldn't want the kid's successes diminished because of me (e.g. "he only made the team because his father is on the SC"). ... And yes, there are parents who use the "do you know who I am" to gain

Apologies, but these premises are anecdotal fallacies. Barring any actual proof, or somewhere a candidate is on record for having said anything like this, I cannot count this as part of a sound argument. Additionally, you presume that candidates will not act professionally, which I think is up for debate.

> I will not vote for a SC candidate whose child is currently in the district, nor would I serve in such capacity. Shermanisque enough?

With respect? I think that's a shame. We need thoughtful people having good arguments running for office, not having debates with strangers on the Internet.

See you at the polls.

Anonymous said...

This entire post is why I think Vince should be on SC

Really, Ed? That's the reason? So it has nothing to do with your frustration, bordering on rage, that someone you consider less qualified than yourself is in charge of an entire school district, while you count tiny crustaceans in obscurity? It's very hard to imagine any reason you would support O'Connor, apart from your shared animus toward Maria Geryk.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed: O'Connor knew who had the dog, and where the dog was. He withheld the information. The girls needed rabies shots as a precaution, due to the lack of information. The dog did NOT have rabies, as it turned out. So yes, O'Connor's refusal to help out caused two fourth-grade girls to undergo pretty painful treatment that they DIDN'T NEED, and made them and their families suffer a lot more than necessary. That you would spend so much time refusing to acknowledge this is pretty pathetic. Are you so devoted to O'Connor that, like VDC, you'll overlook any and all negative information?

Anonymous said...

I won't support Vince O'Connor because his judgment is poor and I have no faith in his qualifications for the job. His stance on Maria Geryk has nothing to do with this--indeed, her tenure as superintendent has been a series of blunders and hamfisted overreactions, and it would be a good thing if she and her cronies were sent packing. I just think that other people would do a better job on the SC, and hope that they'll push back against Geryk and her dopey regime (featuring a medically unjustifiable peanut ban, gutting of middle school language and music programs, dumbing down of HS math programs, miserable fumbling of the Carolyn Gardner situation, etc etc etc)

Dr. Ed said...

Someone is terrified that Vince will be on the school committee -- why?

She ISN'T qualified and still hasn't bothered to get the piece of paper, AS SHE PROMISED TO DO -- but that's not my issue.

Instead, I don't like the fact that she's a bully. Vince won't back down and that would enable others to actually accomplish something.

My animus is not toward Maria G -- it's toward the things she does (or doesn't) do -- it's toward her bad choices and not her personally.

I want the Short Lobster Co in obscurity, although it has no more to do with counting tiny crustaceans than WalMart does with the building of walls.

Dr. Ed said...

"Apologies, but these premises are anecdotal fallacies. Barring any actual proof..."

.....which FERPA prohibits from being revealed. I can say that (unlike someone else) I actually was a classroom teacher once...

Team Maria bullying the children of SC members is a real issue though.
And read how the ethics commission defines "conflict of interest" -- individual benefit versus collective benefit.

Anonymous said...

> .....which FERPA prohibits from being revealed. I can say that (unlike someone else) I actually was a classroom teacher once...

Nevertheless, it then falls into the realm of anecdotal, and has no bearing on a reasoned argument. Just leave it out and persuade me otherwise.

> And read how the ethics commission defines "conflict of interest" -- individual benefit versus collective benefit.

Well, here's what I found that abut your argument:

http://www.mass.gov/ethics/education-and-training-resources/implementation-procedures/municipal-employee-summary.html

II(d). Self-dealing and nepotism

Very specifically the first clause delineates a "financial interest." Since a kindergartener doesn't have a direct financial interest from anything the SC does (unless they are voting to create some sort of sweat shot in violation of child labor laws), it doesn't seem to apply. The first example of violation also is extremely relevant to the issue at bar, but again - does not apply, since there's no direct financial relationship. Finally, there is a delineated exemption for employee's whose task is to address a matter of "general policy", which I'd argue education falls underneath.

II(f). Appearance of conflict

Again, first clause - they "may not act in a manner that they would show favor (towards) someone". That has some teeth - sort of - except that they can avoid violating the provision by making a "public disclosure of the facts", which the candidates have done.

That's all I've got. Please hit me with a link to the ethics commission definition of "conflict of interest" in re: individualism vs collectivism. I'm only familiar with the argument through poli-sci (Frederick Douglass, etc) and not any Mass ethics commission delineating the point!

Anonymous said...

Tragedy? Was there a tragedy involved?

Anonymous said...

In amherst color is important. Latin-americans are considered to be white. Latin Americans (south, north or central) do not belong to their own race.

Anonymous said...

Something wrong with being white?

Anonymous said...

I hope it Republican does window seat. Aren't you sick of liberal politics? Time for a change. Liberals are the meanest people I've ever known.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are fixated on a school system in a town that you don't live. That's really weird.

Dr Ed said...

Maine (but not MA) law requires one be a classroom teacher for five years before becoming a principal, and a building principal for five years before becoming a Superintendent -- Maria G would not be permitted to be anything than a SPED Director in the State of Maine.

The three districts in Amherst are an interesting case study, as is the relationship between the four towns. Even if it were a well-run system, which it isn't.

Academic research in my field. Perish the thought!

Anonymous said...

Still not getting to the facts of the events. The dog bounded onto the playground, running toward one student, within the first couple of minutes of the first day's recess. Nobody reported that fact, which is relevant. The student the dog charged was NOT one of the children bitten. The student the dog charged didn't show any fear and patted the dog. Then the dog went over and bit the students on the swing set.

Anonymous said...

Ed, she's not a superintendent in Maine, so that's all irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Ed, it's not your field, because you're not in it.

Dr. Ed said...

Someone needs to realize the type of research I do to understand why Maine's regs are relevant. And as to me not being in the field, the less certain schmucks know about what I'm doing, the better.

0h, and how the hell did the dog "bounded onto the playground"? Why the hell wasn't there a fence to stop the dog?

Anonymous said...

Gee, because none of our schools are surrounded by fences. They're schools not forts.

Anonymous said...

Vince loses! Big time! Not even close!

Dr. Ed said...

With all the "lockdowns", I'd be more likely to believe prisons than forts...

Anonymous said...

Ah, so I guess that explains why Maria Geryk is not a superintendent in Maine. What's Ed's excuse?

Anonymous said...

Oh, whats the point really. The SC is irrelevant and has been for quite sometime. The two new candidates look like nice people on paper and therefore won't ask hard questions. Even if they did nothing would change. If you don't like the schools as are, then just move on in whatever ways works for you. Don't waste your time trying to make change. It seems clear if Maria and Mark J. have their kids out of the schools then a problem exists. If pulling your kids out is good enough for the two top dogs in our district then pulling your kids out is good enough for everyone.

Ask the charter parents. Yes that growing number of parents with kids, pulling out of our schools. Also known as the huge financial sucking sound from Hadley. Good luck families with school aged children and taxpayers. Enjoy the years of frustration that lie ahead. Don't say you've never been warned.

Anonymous said...


If you look at the percentage of students who leave the Amherst and Amherst-Pelham school districts for charter schools, we fall in the lower half of the pack compared to neighboring towns. We do not have a rush of students leaving the districts. But the charter school formula gouges public school budgets and even 5 extra kids a year can total up to $100,000. The number of kids leaving for private schools has been fairly stable for years.
I just wish people would do a little research of publicly available documents before pontificating about what is and isn't happening in our schools.
The high school math decision....made over two years and a lot of research by our math educators, not by the administration.

Anonymous said...

The two new candidates look like nice people on paper and therefore won't ask hard questions

We spoke, we don't want that tired old "I ask hard questions" type of candidate or leader or activist anymore, they ask the tough questions and then leave without helping solve the problems. "I will ask hard questions" is code for "I want my three minutes during open comment to lambaste an admin or a sc member every week." (see the list of supporters on Vince's Amherst Bulletin ad, it's a Who's Who of "I ask tough questions" types.) We've been reading their articles and letters, their online posts, we've watched and listened to their demonstrations where they point the finger at everyone but themselves, the meetings they come to disrupt in uncivilized manners, the rude way they address our town's leaders and other town employees and residents, for years, but they bring no solutions, only opposition in an attempt to halt progress for personal and dysfunctional social and political reasons. We want people who will bring creative solutions and youthful energy and hard work and who will stay for a while, there's a lot of change coming and a lot to accomplish. So get out of the way, please.

Anonymous said...

anon@9:19
I think if you look at the % of students leaving (charter, private, choice) then those are increasing. I agree with you that the NUMBERS have not been going up consistently or dramatically (although some years the numbers indeed have gone up). However, the % leaving is going up (I just wish people would do a little research of publicly available documents) and this is because the total numbers of students has been decreasing a lot over the last 10 years (hence the denominator is smaller, which makes the percent higher). Both the number and percent are important information...Rarely does either on its own tell the full story.