Submitted by Carl Higbie, District 8 RTM member
Sad? You wrote your letter (Greenwich Teacher: “I am sad to hear the contempt for teachers.” Oct 22, 2021) from the prism of being on the receiving end of outrage that is sweeping the nation, let me show you through the parent’s prism though. Your hypothesis is inaccurate, there is no mass contempt for teachers. There may be a few outliers but I can tell you unequivocally that our teachers are supported by this community. It is the leadership we have great distain for. And you should feel the same way because they have no loyalty to you.
When I spoke to Lil Perrone after the meeting to extend an offer to help her with issues she felt were pressing. She was deeply concerned about the added stress on teachers having to drive multiple hours for a mandated COVID tests weekly, even if not sick, something the educational overlords have forced on our teachers. When my daughter’s second grade (not her class) was shown a video of an erection, my first call was to the administration, Toni Jones who could not have been more dismissive, hastily blamed two teachers, threw them right under the bus.
I then called for their firing based on that. So if that is what you mean by “harassment” then you should direct your “sadness” at the administration, not parents. Your letter attacks parents for their concerns about what their kids are taught, these are our kids!
Let’s begin to solve problems; I asked point blank during and after the BOE meeting last Thursday for ONE specific example of a Greenwich teacher that was being harassed, threatened or mocked. I even held up my cellphone number in the meeting as an elected member of town government and offered to stand shoulder to shoulder with any teacher that is threatened. No one provided a single specific example!
I would happily sit down to better understand your feelings on the matter. But this is WHY such a growing number of parents are as angry as we are. Why that one parent as you said; “one speaker came back to her seat (directly in front of me) and loud enough to be heard called the chairman an a*hole and “such a dck””? Because as you noted in your fifth paragraph, “I am sad because parent meetings and board meetings are contentious instead of collaborative”. You are sad, we are pissed for the same reason. These people work for us and they are no longer
collaborative. There is no mechanism for dialogue. Our educational administrators and elected officials don’t return our calls, rarely return emails and if they do, it is dismissive and non-committal. The single time each month we the public have a chance to address them face to face, as you heard the other night BOE Chair Peter Bernstein say to many distressed parents; “This is not a dialogue”. To your point, it’s not “collaborative”… We are angry for the same
reason you are. You want to fix this problem? Let’s make it a dialogue, starting with you and I, your move; [email protected] Because unlike our school board, I don’t hide from my community, I embrace it!
To another point you made; You know why teachers are no longer “enthusiastic”? Because the system is less concerned about reading, writing and arithmetic and more concerned with an agenda of social constructs, as one liberal parent said Thursday; “no child should be taught to hate America”. The NMS that was moved to a Stamford campus (ironically because of poorly managed oversight) doesn’t even have flags in every classroom which is the LAW. The pledge of allegiance is no longer said as it was in the days you so elegantly cherished. This is the administration’s fault, and parents’ source of concern… but also, not one teacher spoke up about it… I spent 9 years in and out of gun fights in a slew of countries for that flag and not a single teacher, administrator, or board member did anything about it until THE PARENTS said something. That’s why we are mad. Tons of good teachers I know personally hate their jobs BECAUSE of the administration, not because of their job. A teacher you and I both know had the single greatest impact on my life. There is not a student out there that doesn’t respect him, but this administration threw him under the bus to save their own ass…THAT’S the problem, the parents are not the problem, we are a symptom of a poorly managed system.