Looks like our story yesterday on Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry’s refusal to meet in public with the Manchester Board of School Committee has created a firestorm as folks took to social media not just to criticize Barry, but to urge their fellow subjects to express their displeasure with her decision and request, if not demand, she meet with the elected board in public session. Our very own Web Savvy anchor Jon DiPietro got the ball rolling with a Facebook post, condemning Barry’s decision and writing quote “Let’s support our school board and administration by emailing Commissioner Barry at Virginia dot Barry @ d o e dot n h dot gov and the Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, who represents Manchester, at c pappas at n h dot gov. Tell them our Board deserves her attention and to have their questions addressed publicly, such that she can be held accountable. If we don’t put a stop to this, our board, administration, and teachers will continue to have less and less say in how OUR kids are educated and OUR tax dollars are spent.”
DiPietro then went to publish the email he sent to Barry, which, among other things, condemned as “irrelevant” and “unacceptable” her statement that quote “A public meeting rarely accomplishes the kind of meaningful conversation necessary to support students and families in these complex times,” saying it was her duty as a public servant to meet with governing bodies in public. “You serve us, not vice versa,” wrote DiPietro. “As a citizen, parent, and taxpayer, I insist that you do your job and answer these questions on the public record.” We’ve published DiPietro’s letter at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this newscast.
Former Hooksett School Board Member David Pearl also got into the act, posting the letter he emailed to Barry on the Girard at Large Facebook page. We’ve published and linked to that as well. He expressed his disappointment with her decision and deep concern with her proposal to meet in small groups, which would be off the record meetings. Quote “You are a ‘public’ official and should speak in public regarding all of our NH students. Is this the example you want to set for our NH students? Should we teach our students to not speak in public to defend their positions?”
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Senate Bill one oh one passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin yesterday and is on its way to the desk of Her Highness the Governess Margaret Wood Hassan. In case you’re wondering, Senate Bill one oh one was the bill proposed by District Twelve State Senator Kevin Avard, Republican from Nashua, that prohibits the Department of Education and the state Board of Education from implementing the Common Core national standards in any school or school district in this state. Critics of the bill say it’s unnecessary legislation as local school districts can already determine whether or not to adopt the standards on their own, claiming neither the department nor board has mandated the standards. Supporters of the bill have argued that by imposing the Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced Assessment on the state, the bureaucracy has imposed a defacto mandate and point to a proposed requirement in the draft language of another waiver application to the No Child Left Behind Act that school districts adopt the coming Common Core national standards in science, known as the Next Generation Science Standards. The roll call vote in favor of the bill was two hundred two to one hundred thirty eight.
Common Core opponents around the state, including Cornerstone Action and N H Families for Education, are calling on the public to contact Her Highness to urge her support for the bill. In doing so, Cornerstone said quote “Parents, students and teachers across New Hampshire sent letters and testified in support of SB101 based on the problems they are seeing in their local schools with the implementation of Common Core. SB101 clarifies that Common Core is not a mandate on schools and that they are free to use better academic standards in their district. Cornerstone urges Governor Hassan to listen to the people of New Hampshire and sign SB101 into law.” Cornerstone Executive Director Bryan McCormack issued a statement saying he hoped to meet with Hassan to discuss the bill. We’ve linked to the governess’ contact info from this news read at Girard at Large dot com for your convenience.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!