This morning I read this article by Sun Education Reporter Sara Toth. A lot of work went into this. She has put in a lot of time drawing information from a variety of sources. I get the feeling that all sides were given an opportunity to speak their piece, as it were. And that is balanced reporting at its best.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sara and her work. And yet I read this article with mixed feelings. Why? I noticed whose voices were absent: teachers. I feel certain that Sara would have included them if at all possible. So it seems likely that none are willing to come forward and speak on the record.
Why would that be? Teachers gave testimony about changes to the Middle School curriculum. Teachers gave testimony about changes to the school calendar. Teachers came out to support good faith negotiations with HCEA. So where were the teachers on reductions to music and arts instruction?
They were there at the meeting. Their silence is telling.
Rebecca Amani-Dove, of the school system, said there has been "no effort to hide things" from the public.
"I don't think there's been any coercion," she said. "That sounds very conspiratorial."
Yes. Yes, it does. And I can't fix how this looks, nor can Ann Faust or Bernadette Giroux, and certainly not Sara Toth, because to fix this we would have to see teachers and administrators willing to speak on the record. Look around your school. Whose job would you be willing to sacrifice, if reports of intimidation are true? Your music or art teacher? Your band or strings teacher? Perhaps your principal?
So parents are going to have to carry the torch on this one. It looks like it may be a long haul, as the comments from Ms. Amani-Dove suggest that the parents who turned up on Thursday night are considered to be just one small group whose concerns are of lesser importance than "the many". I didn't see one things in her words that said: we are listening, hearing, understanding and will respond to parents on this issue.
Many thanks to Sara Toth and the Sun for giving this issue the attention it deserves. I am hoping, however, that this is not the end of the story.
A post script. I am asking that if you respond in the comments about this issue that you use your real name. Anonymous comments have been popping up and I feel quite strongly that credibility is compromised by withholding identity. Thanks.-- JAM