It seems that he didn’t actually ignore the Huntsville Times, but his emailed response were not received by the Times ”possibly due to a technical problem.”
God does love irony. Bet Wardynski doesn’t.
So after a busy weekend, you’d think their response might be something like that of Dr. David Copeland, Madison County Superintendent who is holding a series of meetings “seeking parental feedback” on their school system, its finances and plans. He’s so interested in hearing from parents that he’s actually scheduling multiple meetings from September 2012 through April 2013. The county’s superintendent actually wants to hear from parents.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a superintendent that actually gives a damn what parents think? Nah, Dr. Wardynski just doesn’t operate that way.
Instead, he schedules meetings at schools, like one that had been scheduled at Blossomwood Elementary for tomorrow night, and then with barely 24 hours notice, he cancels them and moves them to Huntsville High instead.
We’re Going To Meet, eh, Sometime
The district has been talking about having meetings with parents since they voted to start the digital conversion on June 21st, but for whatever reason, they just couldn’t manage to get them scheduled until tonight.
So here’s the schedule. All meetings will begin at 6:30pm.:
- Tuesday, September 18th — Huntsville High School (and feeders)
- Wednesday, September 19th — Grissom High School (and feeders)
- Monday, September 24th — Columbia High School (and feeders)
- Tuesday, September 25th — Lee/New Century High Schools (and feeders)
- Wednesday, September 26th — Butler High School (and feeders)
- Wednesday, October 3rd — Johnson High School (and feeders)
That’s right. Six meetings and out. And they finally managed to schedule them on Monday, September 17th.
The superintendent really understands planning, doesn’t he?
I suppose that all depends on what you think his actual goal for these meetings really is.
If you think that the superintendent wishes to help parents understand this digital transition, well then, you’d be right to assume that this lack of planning on the part of the district was unfortunate.
But if you believe that our superintendent actually cares what parents think, well honestly, you’re just not paying attention.
If the district actually wanted parents to attend, they would have planned these meetings long ago.
But they didn’t.
They failed to plan. They failed to organize. They changed the meeting times and locations at the last minute. The superintendent insulted parents who actually do bother to show up with questions and concerns, and then Mr. Ward and the district cheerleaders had the temerity to actually act surprised when the meetings “had scant attendance?”
Parental Input Into The Process? Nope. But Groups Making $30 Million Off Transition? You Betcha.
I read somewhere today from someone not directly associated with the district believes that parents should please stop saying that they “did not have any input.” He suggested that parents should contact the district by email, phone and at board meetings.
Here’s the thing: I have emailed, phoned, met with and spoken at nearly every public meeting of the district officials since June 21st, and I know for a fact that neither parents nor teachers had any input into this digital transition at all. So, respectfully, no I won’t stop saying that parents did not have any input. They didn’t. And they still haven’t.
The only people who had any input into this decision are people who directly benefit from the transition happening:
- Pearson making $21,902,845 over six years.
- HP making an as yet still unofficial amount of $6.9 million. (This is unofficial because as you can see the published contract does not contain any hard numbers. I have asked about this, but of course I’ve received no answer.)
- PPT Solutions (the IT Consultants headed by Laquita Nelson in charge of the updated network) making from November 2011 thru July 2012 $438,216.00
The rest of the list includes Dr. Wardynski, about five people in the inner circle, and the board by proxy.
So, three paid groups making nearly $30,000,000 and the Superintendent’s inner circle.
There were no active classroom teachers involved in the decision.
There were no parents who were not employees of the district involved in the decision.
This decision was forced upon us all.
Real Purpose of the Parents’ Workshops
The purpose of these Parents’ Workshops isn’t to actually involve and help parents. The purpose is to tell them, once again, how great this is going to be for their kids. As Keith Ward said, “There are really two components to it, first to show a bit about what the curriculum and resources are like. They’re also to help with problems the parents might have.”
So the meetings will begin with more propaganda from the district, more district produced films of a teacher and a student working together from a tightly controlled script, showing how wonderful the change is.
If there are any parents who can’t figure out the computers, well, we’ll help them out a bit on the side. If they ask nicely.
Oh, and if past public meetings with the Superintendent are any indication, be ready for the superintendent to openly mock and/or insult any parent who dares to ask a substantive question. Don’t believe me? Just as Carol Claflin whose daughter attends Hampton Cove Elementary. She had this to say in the Times on Sunday:
Carol Claflin, parent of a third-grader at Hampton Cove Elementary, said she found Wardynski argumentative at the meeting held at that school on Aug. 12 and that few of her questions were answered effectively. She added that a “false dilemma” is being created by the district.
“Parents are either supportive of this initiative or we are anti-technology, anti-progress, anti-anything good for our kids,” Claflin said. “This is ridiculous and I am tired of being vilified so that the district office and Wardynski can distract everyone from the fact this digital initiative has been a negligent disaster at best.”
These meetings aren’t designed to help parents. They’re designed to put us (along with teachers) in our places. They’re designed to shut us up.
Calling All Ankle Biters
So don’t let the superintendent succeed in silencing your voice.
Despite his best efforts to keep attendance low by scheduling the meetings with the two largest high schools with less than 24 hours notice, despite his attempts to bore parents into silent acquiescence by showing propaganda after propaganda, despite his rude dismissal of any idea, suggestion or question raised by a parent about how this is supposed to be helping our children learn, don’t let him win.
Show up at the meetings. Ask questions. Get your neighbors to do so, too. Yes, you’ll likely be insulted by the superintendent. So what? HE WORKS FOR YOU.
It’s time for the ankle biters, as Wardynski calls those of us who dare to care more about children and education than his inept plans, to stand and let the superintendent know that he doesn’t control us. He doesn’t rule over us. And he won’t silence us with his insults.
We care about our schools, our teachers, and our children even if he doesn’t. And it’s past time he understood this.