At the “Opt-out Parent Forum” last spring. I was among a large group of parents – stakeholders in our childrens’ education – who expressed concerns and alternatives to the Superintendent’s decision to require children in grades 3-8 to individually, verbally indicate refusals to their teachers on testing days. Parent letters were not being honored. Instead, the children were being placed in the inappropriate and intimidating position to refuse their teachers! The welfare of students was clearly not at the center of the decision-making process. The Superintendent was unmoved by our concerns and the next day went ahead with the plan to put the onus on the children to take or refuse the NYState high stakes tests. Stakeholders were ignored.
Not long afterward, the district made a decision to transfer at least 27 teachers and staff in the school district. Again, the stakeholders showed up in great numbers – teachers, parents, students, community members; they spoke out with passion and rational, thoughtful public commentary about the disruption that this would cause in our school district. Again – the stakeholders were ignored. Another disturbing truth began to emerge as this process unfolded. Although the transfers seemed obviously arbitrary and capricious, there was no meaningful pushback from the collective body of the Beacon Teacher’s Association. Other than 3 individual grievances, which were denied due to lack of Union support, there was only a brief statement by the then BTA president and a reference to a meeting that had been held between the BTA and Superintendent. “A statement and a meeting” - After 27 sudden, involuntary transfers? I am convinced that the collective bargaining unit, known as the Beacon Teachers Association had no true, meaningful representation at that time due to the close relationship between the BTA president and the Superintendent. The teachers were sitting ducks. This scenario demonstrates a disgraceful conflict of interest, and the casualties of this conflict of interest are the students of the BCSD. Furthermore, since the transfers, at least 2 teachers have resigned from our district. Indeed, the implications of this decision will be unfolding for a long time to come. We must advocate, to ensure that stakeholders of our school district are no longer ignored.
Beacon kids deserve better!
Over 350+ parents, teachers, students, and stakeholders remained in the auditorium. Board Members Anthony White and Bill Zopf remained in attendance along with Deputy Superintendent Ann Marie Quartironi.
We thank all of those that stayed and listened to the speakers.