Reader says, "Laurie We’ve been down this road before."

In math wars, public education on February 25, 2009 at 3:24 pm


We’ve been down this road before. But the more things change the more they remain the same.

The BOE does not like to have input from the community. It recoils at speakers at the microphone and simply ignores comments it doesn’t like with a highly defensive attitude. How is this going to change?

Can the BOE refrain from using our HSAs as its very own propaganda tool? The result of this policy is that the HSAs are not trusted beyond their insular parent community — a limited group of people, not representative of the taxpayers who finance our school operations, but of parents who simply want everything you’re willing to give them.

The BOE reports monthly to Federated and members sometimes attend HSA meetings, but has it ever considered reporting to citizens in a similar manner beyond the parent community? This would be input that could be of real value to the BOE. The BOE asks for their taxes and votes on referenda but has never even considered creating an ongoing forum where they may express their views on how their money is being spent. A real Q&A; as opposed to, “I speak at the microphone and you get to ignore me.”

This is communication, but the BOE won’t have any of it. Is this because the larger community includes parents and taxpayers without school-aged children and the BOE only wants to hear from parents who they believe will simply nod and rubber stamp every spending scheme?

As for communications — the BOE has a misguided view of what that entails. Communication is a two-way street, an ongoing dialogue between leaders and those who are being led. It is not a PR effort to put the best spin on news, events and calamities. It is not a selective revealing and withholding of information. It is not untimely reporting of issues that are of major concern to citizens. It is not just getting the BOE’s point of view out and everyone else’s position be damned. It is not making a major change to a math program at the middle schools and then announcing it as a fait accompli, absent any justification. It is not encouraging an antagonistic relationship with critics of BOE policies. It is not fostering an “us vs. them” mentality throughout the community.

First and foremost, communication has to be honest and welcomed. I fear this is too high a hurdle for our present BOE.

But thanks for trying.

Free Cell Phones

  1. So this is the thanks that Laurie gets.
    — She extends a hand in the spirit of kindness & openness.
    — It gets slapped by a nattering nabob of negativism.

    At least you're right about one thing: "more things change the more they remain the same".

  2. Are these allegations realy true? I was not aware of all the infighting and political manuvorings at the Ridgewood Board of Education until i recently started reading this blog. May be time to clean house.

  3. Hmm? A monthly forum where people other than HSA people can talk to the board and get answers on the spot to their questions.

    Naw. Not going to happen. I think they hate the public except for those who are sucking up them.

  4. Try to attend the Forum scheduled Tuesday March 3rd at 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM ..

    The discussions on improved “Communications” and on how to have more input. Sounds good to me.

    Try to be there and help… OK?

  5. People are free to offer suggestions to the Board. If they don’t decide to do what you ask (demand), don’t be surprised. They were elected to oversee the schools, not have an unlimited series of forums and discussions. At some point a decision is made and they move forward. Just like in a well run business.

  6. Sorry, but talking Laurie is a complete waste of time. In her world-view every complaint is a NIMBY issue unless she personally supports it. She has a bad track record in past years on the HSA.

  7. I wonder what hard-working teachers will be losing their jobs due to cuts. I would bet anything that it:
    a. will not be any administrators
    b. it will not be Angelo DeSimone (who seems to have royally messed up somewhere, with his budget figures)
    I feel for the ones in the trenches.

  8. So 10:54 AM if you can’t argue the substance of the post, just start the name calling. You’re a communications expert — care to join the BOE?

  9. Laurie,

    Your “conversation about communication” is no better than the “plan to plan.” From the description you give, it appears that we will not have an opportunity to ask trustees or dan direct questions about the “bigger fish to fry” at this forum. You will probably just outline for us your latest scheme to distribute your opinions, and then ask for suggestions that you will take into consideration. A complaint box, maybe?

    If you’re sincere about communicating, show up with dan and the trustees and just answer our questions. Simple, really.

    But you won’t do that, because none of you know the answers, and you will make fools of yourselves.

    What irks parents is that you are not even trying to find the answers. You’ve not only ignored the national math panel, you’ve insulted them.

    It’s one thing to be ignorant. But when you choose to be ignorant, that is just plain stupid.

  10. We will have an election and the voters of Ridgewood will decide. We (I) voted for Laurie and she is doing a great job. When people talk about the board – face to face – I do not hear the negative voices that I read on this blog.

    The “clean house” blogger is a member of a very small club.

  11. 12:35 PM said “At some point a decision is made and they move forward. Just like in a well run business.”

    You are kidding, right? Comparing our BOE to a well run business is like comparing Bob Hutton et el to Allen Greenspan and the Federal Reserve Board.

  12. 1057 either u r very new in town or you have been totality out of touch ,btw we now have a black president also and hes not bill clinton

  13. let me get this right we are communicating about communicating?

    only in america

  14. 1235 you did make a decision it was called junk math now make a new decision get rid of it

  15. Laurie has organized a forum to discuss with citizens, how to communicate better with citizens.

    It is like having a plan to make a plan.

    Laurie, why hold an open Q&A between the BOE and the citizens of Ridgewood?

  16. "So this is the thanks that Laurie gets.
    — She extends a hand in the spirit of kindness & openness"

    Last I heard she was an elected public official. We are her bosses and so she and her other comrades, are responsible to us. Kindness and openness, you've got to be kidding.

  17. Hey 9:45 AM –

    That person with the “kindness and openness” explanation is a mouthpiece for the nomenklatura.

  18. The Blog doesn’t hate Laurie. Posters are pointing out how futile are her attempts at communicating. The last time she communicated was a disaster as well. At least she apologized and removed her comments from her blog.

  19. 5:17 –

    What did laurie apologize for, and what comments were removed? thanks.

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