Around one hundred fifty people gathered in West Manchester’s Rock Rimmon Park to voice a message of unity last night.  Citizens, organized by West Manchester Resident Dan Szczesny, with the assistance of our very own Ins and Outs of Immigration segment anchor Eva Castillo-Turgeon, were prompted to action after a banner proclaiming that diversity is codeword for white genocide was found at Parkside.  After the discovery was made public, three other banners were said to have been found and removed by citizens at Webster School and along the Piscataquog River Rail Trail

Gatsas: Let’s hold hands

Among the attendees at last night’s event were Mayor Ted Gatsas who, in a rousing address, said as long as he was mayor, such sentiments would not be tolerated. 

Bishop of Manchester Peter Libasci both cautioned and exhorted the crowd, refusing to call it an act of hate.  Libasci recast the banners as the product of misunderstanding, saying “we are better than this.”  

Libasci: Not hate, but misunderstanding.

Castillo led the group in chants of “not in my town” and Szczesny, referred to his young daughter in hand, as the reason why he’d acted to organize the vigil. 

We “Facebook Lived” the event, until our battery died, so those who want to hear some brief and interesting interviews and see what some of the speakers had to say can click the link we’ve included with this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

MST: ELL program scrutinized

The Manchester Board of School Committee’s Committee on Curriculum and Instruction tackled a couple of contentious issues at its meeting last night.  On the agenda was a discussion about how children were entered into and exited into the district’s English Language Learner Program.  At-Large Board Member Rich Girard asked for the agenda item at the board’s meeting in early January, saying he’d heard from frustrated parents who didn’t believe their children, whose only language is English, should be in the program.  After an extensive dialogue with program director Wendy Perron, who detailed how, when and why kids are entered into and exited from the program, which, of course, had to accommodate directives from the feds, the committee agreed to a suggestion from Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas to review the district’s policies on the matter.  Girard said he found the explanations extremely helpful, concluding there’s likely miscommunication in cases where parents have expressed concerns.

common core math lesson

gobbledygook math questioned

The committee also tackled the district’s math curriculum, or apparent lack thereof.  Amidst committee member concerns over frequent and serious parent complaints over their children’s math education, district officials disclosed that there really is no math curriculum in the district, but that teachers were working with the district’s math standards and the resources provided through them to educate students.  It would be safe to say all parties agreed that something different needs to be done.  The question is what and how.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Edelblut: Gets conservative backing

Two of New Hampshire’s premiere conservative issues groups are calling on their supporters to back Governor Chris Sununu’s nomination of former Wilton State Rep. and G O P gubernatorial candidate Frank Edelblut to be the state’s next Commissioner of Education

Cornerstone Action, a non-partisan advocacy group, provided contact information for each member of the Executive Council in urging its adherents to back Edelblut saying he was quote

Cornerstone: Backs Edelblut nomination

a strong advocate for New Hampshire students through his advocacy for school choice, parental rights, and local control of education. He is critical of Common Core. As a parent, entrepreneur, and public servant, he understands the importance of education. He understands that parents should never be treated as afterthoughts when educational policy is developed. His leadership in the Department of Education would be a welcome change.

Warns of liberals on the attack

In a similar message, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire issued a public statement urging support for Edelblut’s nomination, calling him a reformer and a staunch school choice advocate.   Quote:

We need his refreshing voice fighting for our children at the state’s Department of Education.  

The group also warned, quote

Liberals are working diligently to try and stop the much needed reforms Edelblut will bring to the education system in our state, so please call now.

They also urged people to have their friends and family follow suit.

Calls urged

We have, of course, published the contact for each executive councilor and the Office of the Executive Council in the State House so you can make yourselves known as you see fit.  We’ve also published Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire’s instructions on what to say and what to do if the Executive Council’s Office voice mail box is full.

  • The phone number for the Council office at the State House is 271-3632.   Mention the town you live in and report that you are calling to SUPPORT Frank Edelblut for Commissioner.  If the mailbox is full, please try calling again later to register your opinion.

In an interview on Girard at Large yesterday, Sununu said Edelblut would bring a fresh set of eyes to our educational system, stating he had a unique and intimate understanding of how education worked in the state, enabling him to advance necessary change.

Sununu: Busy week on Education

Sununu also issued a proclamation naming this week as New Hampshire School Choice Week, joining parents, teachers and community leaders across the country recognizing choice in quality education, regardless of income.

In issuing the proclamation, which we’ve linked to from this news read, Sununu said he was quote

…proud…to proclaim this week New Hampshire School Choice Week, as we continue to advocate for and support initiatives that expand choice in our education system.  Together, we can provide families the choice to explore educational opportunities that better fit their children’s needs and empower teachers to more effectively prepare students to enter an ever-increasingly competitive global workforce.

Sununu has expressed his support of House Bill 3 8 6, which would expand school choice opportunities in New Hampshire.  Pretty sure he touched on that in his interview with us yesterday, too.  We’ve linked to it, just in case you missed it!.