Okay, class. Get your pencils out. Open your notebooks. Let's talk about inflammatory statements.
"Inflammatory statements and personal attacks are two of the most common causes of conflict escalation. When people attack other people verbally, those attacked are likely to get especially defensive or angry-much more than they would have had their opponents kept their statements impersonal and focused on the problem." Inflammatory Statements
I was seriously considering taking a day off until this piece was shared by Maureen Evans Arthurs (candidate account) on Facebook. You may recall Ms. Arthurs as one of the Board of Education candidates who did not make it through the primary. I'm curious as to why her campaign account is still active, although that's not the focus of today's blog post.
I had never heard of Mr. Armstrong before today, so I don't have any background information to go on. I can tell you that the piece is full of inflammatory language, personal attack, and downright falsehoods. The piece is beautifully crafted to make the school system look fair and generous and Mr. Lemle and the teachers' union look greedy and uncaring of students. It falls in line with all the major talking points that the Superintendent has laid out in the court of public opinion.
Except it isn't the truth. It doesn't address key issues that the union is negotiating for:
It doesn't tell the complete story of who gets increases in pay, what a fair increase looks like, and when step increases would go into effect.
And, most galling to me, it suggests that Mr. Lemle sued to keep negotiations private. The union asked the Board of Education follow the correct legal procedure for officially changing the negotiations from private to public. The Board refused. A subsequent legal ruling was in favor of the union. In fact, negotiating teams turned up for every session that had been scheduled--it was the school system that didn't show up.
Then, in the realm of just pathetic is the suggestion that back room deals were made between the union and the County Executive. Enough said.
Yes, I was considering taking a day off, but apparently people who like to rule by smear campaigns and half-truths and worse don't take the day off.
Time after time, Mr. Lemle has invited parents and the community at large to come to the HCEA website and follow the progress of the negotiations. HCEA maintains active social media accounts. Anyone who goes there can read complete and specific information about what the Howard County teachers are working to achieve through negotiation.
It is extremely disappointing to me that not one single response from the school system adequately addresses the actual issues. The same goes for Mr. Williams. Hmm...his piece contains so many errors and seeks to make points through inflammatory language and personal attack. Either his ability to do the most basic background research is quite poor, or he just took a page from someone else's talking points.
I know for a fact that Paul Lemle is doing the job he was hired to do: to represent Howard County teachers.
Who does Mr. Williams represent?