Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hypocrisy Masquerading as Honesty

More than 70 teachers, staff, and community members attended the October 18th Board Meeting. As members exited the closed session at 7:30, they were greeted by 70 plus chanting, picket carrying, unhappy employees who lined corridor leading to the multi-use where the meeting was held. Again, the Board chose not to reorder the agenda, making the teachers wait over an hour to arrive at the public portion (Items not on the Agenda), where five speakers had signed up to speak. Five times three minutes: 15 minutes... relegated to the meetings end... because employee and community input is not valued; although, the Board pretends it is. Here are the notes I spoke from:

Hi, it's me again.
The last Board meeting began with a resolution for Character Education month.
Mrs. Averill felt that honesty needed to promoted. And it was.
How nice.
But after all, this is Lowell Joint where honesty is valued?
Or is it?

Hypocrisy is the act of pretending to have beliefs and virtues that one does not actually have.
Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. (Wiki-pedia)

After welcoming the public and presidents at the last meeting...
You proceeded to cut short one of the public speakers; although there were only two.
I thought you said we were welcome?
Perhaps you meant to say,
"You're welcome just as long as you sit and play nice. Be seen, but not heard... the grown-ups are talking."

And who was it you gaveled? Your own Teacher of the Year.
She's the best of the best... and you can only give her three minutes?

Maybe that's not too surprising, since not long ago you did the same thing to the president of the CSEA.
That too smacks of hypocrisy.

You pretend to welcome us, but you are unwilling to listen to us.
You might protest, but I simply point to the minutes from the last meeting...
There was a slight change in language...
"…public opinion will be limited to 1/2 hour…”
Not satisfied with a three-minute per person cap... someone suggested to the board that a 30 minute cap was a good idea.
Just in case?
The previous language was good enough for decades... but no longer.

Recently CSEA voted against an offer made in negotiations.
One member was appalled at how much language had changed.
Language that had little or nothing to do with a salary schedule or compensation.
Why was it changed?
Just in case?
The previous language was good enough for decades... but no longer.

A recent newspaper article quoted the Superintendent as saying, "We know how the teachers feel..."

We are skeptical of your language changes... we feel repeatedly hoodwinked.

Little language changes... buried in the notes... or contract... or where else?
We feel lied to.
And you should understand.
What other posturing has been done in the contract, in the minutes, behind closed doors, etc.?
I feel manipulated!
And you should understand why.

 You say you value and appreciate teachers,

But you install language to limit our voice (per person),
and you install language to limit our voice collectively (30 minutes).
If this is how you treat us in public...
should we expect that you'd treat us any differently at a negotiating table?

November is coming, and with it some new board members.
Hopefully, they will bring with them a new era in Lowell Joint characterized by genuine honesty.
We're tired of hypocrisy masquerading as honesty.
We're tired of manipulation masquerading as transparency.
But then... you know how we feel.
And, you know why.

Before and after the meeting I spoke with several parents, candidates, fellow staff members, and even the two presenters from LACOE. November is coming... 

Will there be an October miracle? A fair contract? Let's hope so.

Regardless of the contract issues, the voters of Lowell Joint finally have some choice for new blood, new representation, new behaviors, and a new future. The issues of Lowell Joint run deeper than contract negotiations, but then... November is coming...

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