Mark Williams's Editorial
- Published: Friday, 07 March 2014 17:35
February 8th, 2014
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to recent criticisms of the North Kingstown teachers' association by the school committee. Since the start of this school year the faculties from three of the schools in the school district have voted no confidence in special education administrators Pezzullo and Perry. I suspect the recent publication of those votes came as somewhat of a surprise to some school committee members. However, that does not mean the teachers' concerns were not justified. I can personally speak to one of the issues that contributed to the vote of no-confidence at the high school. My concerns and the concerns of a handful of parents were brought to the attention of the school department administration almost one year ago, and they were in fact related to compliance with federal special education law. Interestingly the concerns were only addressed after the parents got involved.
The legal concern over confidentiality stymies open discussion of many issues and unless they are brought up directly to the school committee perhaps they never truly see the light of day. If the school administration bobs and weaves and finally settles matters before the issue goes before the school committee then perhaps the committee remains unaware of some of these issues surrounding teaching and learning (issues that teachers are very aware of).
As for the criticisms of the teachers' association declared by select committee members, let me say that from my direct experience I can attest that the teachers' association considered the issues, and similar concerns of other teacher practitioners, and calmly brought them before the administration in an attempt to come to a resolution (perhaps a little too calmly in my view). For a member of the school committee to state that the teachers' association did otherwise is disingenuous and perhaps a prime example of information being withheld from the committee.
Furthermore, for the school committee to neglect to consider why the teachers' association would take those unanimous votes of no confidence should be of concern to all. Why were the shared concerns of hundreds of teachers dismissed?
I believe that more open communication and respect is in order for more effective and responsible decision making. I would like to help foster that and that is why I will be running for school committee in the next election. I would like to be a part of making decisions that benefit our school community and I promise that I will remain accountable to that community.
Mark Williams (Retired educator)
24 Hemlock Drive
North Kingstown, 02852
Tel. 294 9645 / 368 4326