We publish this email sent by Manchester resident, parent and taxpayer Jon DiPietro to NH Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry following her announcing she would only meet privately with individual school board members or in small groups in non-public sessions.

Dear Commissioner Barry,

I’m a resident of Manchester and a parent of four daughters in the Manchester School District. I understand that you have finally responded to our school board’s request to meet with them and that you refuse to do so in a publ
ic forum. Furthermore, you said that “A public meeting rarely accomplishes the kind of meaningful conversation necessary to support students and families in these complex times.”

This is unacceptable.

First of all, whether or not public meetings are meaningful or productive is irrelevant. As a public servant, they are your duty. You serve us, not vice versa. As a citizen, parent, and taxpayer, I insist that you do your job and answer these questions on the public record.

Second, your statement reinforces the stereotype of the unelected government bureaucrat; an elitist who believes their station in life is higher than those they serve and can’t be bothered to descend from their ivory tower to mingle with the little people. We parents, many of whom have our own masters and doctorate degrees, see the effects of your decisions every day in our homes. We’re much closer to many of these issues than you and the implication that we don’t have the intellectual horsepower to contribute constructively to a conversation “in these complex times” is offensive and, frankly, wrong.

I’m deeply disturbed that you refuse to meet with the state’s largest school district. In fact, it is completely unacceptable. I ask that you reconsider your decision. Absent that, I implore the Executive Council to replace you with a Commissioner who will do their job and work together with local school boards and parents. Absent that, I will implore voters to replace the Executive Council with public officials who value transparency and accountability in our state government.