Friday, August 1, 2014

Brent Abrahamson's Plan

By Pim Stewert


  1. School Committtee SucksAugust 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    How far down can our school committee drag the district? I feel sorry for Dr. Page; sitting there with those dolts. But he only has to remember that it won't be long these pompous know-it-alls will start infighting.

    Wouldn't you like to sit and listen to Buzz and Big Bad Brent spouting about how each knows more. This situation would be funny if it wasn't damaging our children's education.

    I think this blog should have a survey that lets the readers rate each school committee member and the superintendent(s) (not sure how many we have this week).

    And remember, only 7 weeks until the State releases the 2014 MCAS results. But Big Mac and the crew will probably keep them hidden, as they have kept the secret contract between the taxpayers and the teachers' union.

    Remember Big Mac and Donovan pledging "transparency" during their campaign? Liars, liars, pants on fire!

    1. “This situation would be funny if it wasn't damaging our children's education” + depleting the R.E. Property Tax Payers’ Wallets along the way. Nothin else left to do but laugh/cry.

  2. Hi, Ken...I am so glad that I stopped my blog...I got to the point where I got tired of adding fuel to the fire...the people that comment here, like everyone, are entitled to their opinions. However, it takes courage to a) say who you are so that it brings a modicum of credibility to ones argument, and b) to actually offer real thoughts, ideas and solutions as opposed to simply criticizing everyone else. Criticism is easy; thoughts, ideas and solutions are not. I stopped reading the local paper a long time ago, and watching local cable, and my blood pressure is down. Things have a way of taking care of themselves. The "organized" movements against the landfill (which I was involved in), the recent one to move to a different form of government, etc...people have to eventually accept that not everyone shares their, or my vision. That doesn't mean that you curl up and go away, but it does mean that the current way of bitching and moaning about things isn't effective. Whoever "Pim" is (and I figured that out a long time ago), why not run for something rather than railing against someone? The easiest path to change is to do something, whether it's you that runs, or someone that you recruit to run, to make for an effective change. Recently, I had a brief conversation with John on Facebook when he told me, in essence, he didn't run to win, but to speak. That's not fair to those that really care and want to win, nor, as it proved in the results, to force change. If people want a forum, go and speak to the council, or speak to the people in town. But the one caution I would reiterate to everyone, from my own experiences: your passion doesn't mean others share it. The failed change of government by a 2-1 margin goes to show that the argument was important to some, but not many. You have to win battles to win the war; and a war of words very rarely accomplishes much, especially in Southbridge. I know firsthand.

    1. Start the "Fix"August 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      Dennis . . . speaking to elected officials? Really? Do you think McLoughlin, Donovan, Abrahamson or Qinuuey give a rats ass about the electorate? Mac, Dovo and Quinney are only there for one thing - THEIR OWN Children. Abrahamson is there to try and show people he is "The Smartest."
      People have figured out that is easier to send their children to other school districts, rather than subject them to the dismal failure that the girls and BA have created. The voters wanted "change" and so they got it.
      With less than 15% of Southbridge households having school age children, the voters could care less about who is on the school committee. They vote for the nicest posters, those that spew the lies that they want to hear, and those that tell them how easy it's going to be to "fix" the problems.
      Have we forgotten how many superintendents, business managers, directors of operations, principals, teachers have come and gone in the past two years? You can not fix anything with constant personnel upheaval.
      The only thing that needs changing in personnel is the school committee. Time for McLoughlin, Donovan, Quinney, Congdon and Abrahamson need to go. Let's start with McLoughlin and Donovan next June.

  3. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that an articulate conversation has a better chance of helping to open eyes and ears that complaining about the problem incessantly...believe me, I know.

    I never said it would be easy. My point was, to paraphrase Ghandi, I believe, be the change you want to see. If you don't like someone, rather than telling everyone how wrong you feel they are, tell people why you, or those your support, are better.

    I could have run for school committee, but I don't send either of my children to the Southbridge Public Schools. The majority of the reason is I want them to get a Catholic School Education. The other part, and I said this a long time ago, is that a state of the art building with the same old problems only brings about state of the art problems. But that shouldn't preclude me or anyone from running. We can all try, at least, to be a force for change.

    In fairness, though, I haven't been paying attention to the school committee, so I don't know who is doing what or not, but as a person who ran twice for Town Council and lost, I found that it's hard if you haven't lived here all your life, or if you have a great network. The latter can be accomplished, the former, not so much.

    But if you target someone, you have to keep in mind that there is a natural tendency to defend someone, whether you like them, or even if you don't know about them. That's why I didn't vote for Scott Brown the second time--I didn't care about his issue of whether or not his appointment was of Indian descent, nor did I like his condescending snakiness towards her being a "professor", as if that were a four letter word.

    Sometimes, no, all times, it's all in the least, that's how I feel.

    1. In Fairness or Apathy?August 4, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      "In fairness, though, I haven't been paying attention to the school committee, so I don't know who is doing what or not,"

      open honesty - Dennis, clearly you admit you don't know what your talking about!
      Clearly, you don't know that:
      NO ONE knows what is going on in our schools because Transparency was just a broke campaign promise and not something that exists in our school committee..
      That being an attack dog is the only possible way right now to inform others of what really goes on.
      Don't say go to the podium - we've all seen how the guidance councilors where treated and how important the bully policy is to be enforced on everyone but themselves.
      So ... you don't know that the retention rate is as low as the unemployment rate is high. The unemployment rate where every principal either left or was was forced out. Same for many other administrative positions including the finance director most recently. That last year 40 teachers at the MSHS didn't come back and this year that number is projected to be around 50! All due to all the administrative and School committee dysfunction of which the state rates as level four. NO school is rated level four just the administration and governance is. HMMMM.
      You of all people should know that you can't communicate with people who smile at you to your face while also stabbing you in the back .
      Here's my advice - you can't communicate with the SC if they haven't earned your trust. It takes two to communicate and currently we have a power hungry oligarchy in office and a disgusted public who if paying attention knows that they were lied to and for the ones who haven't been paying attention well you get the social or popular, prom queen type elected SC you deserve.
      The More You Know.....cuz they certainly aren't going to tell you much, that's how I feel.

    2. "Dennis, clearly you admit you don't know what your talking about! "

      I'm not going to get into an argument, especially with someone that won't even be brave enough to say who they are, which is your prerogative...however, at least get the facts straight.

      What I said was: "I haven't been paying attention to the school committee, so I don't know who is doing what or not". Where in that statement does is say that I don't know what I'm talking about?

      What I know about the SC I readily admit is not from the Evening News or cable. That doesn't mean that I don't know what's going on with the schools or the teachers, or some of the issues. I don't care about the personalities at the moment, so if you want to call that apathy, so be it.

      I have more important things to do than argue with anyone at this point in my point was that you're not going to get anyone around your rallying cry through insulting them. I realize I'm just one voter, but with an approach like that, you just lost me.

      You can't win the hearts and minds of the people while sticking it to them at the same time. While I appreciate different opinions, you also helped to prove my point: all the complaining in the world won't force change. Change is at the ballot box.

      If I had advice to give as a voter? Calmly and rationally explain to me a) the problem, b) how you would deal with it differently, and c) what would the outcome of b be over a?

      Those are the kinds of things you should be asking yourself. Nothing against Ken, his blog, my defunct blog or any blogs:

      They are an avenue for discussion, complaining, etc, by the nature of their I proved, however, not much in the way of change. Change takes hard work, not blind comments.

      I appreciate how you feel...I hope you appreciate how I feel as well.

  4. I should have said that on a personal level, I know Kara and Brent and like them both very much. I don't know what they're doing on the school committee that has everyone so up in arms, but...

    If I can feel comfortable, finally, with myself that I could go and speak with anyone on the Town Council, you can find a way to communicate wit the SC. I learned that being an attack dog isn't well received. Just my advice.

    1. Get A Clue DennisAugust 5, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      Really Dennis? You don't know what they're doing to destroy the school district?
      In the last two years (that when Donovan and McLoughlin were elected) they have:
      * Renewed Eric Ely's contract for two additional years (even though he had one year remaining)
      * Allowed Ely to remove Bishop as the principal of our new school 30 days before opening, replacing him with an inexperienced, non-certified, person.
      * Since the new school opened there have been no less than 6 or 7 principals (
      * Went from two principals to one, thirty days before opening
      * Allowed Ely to conduct himself in a manner that lead to double-digit female employees coming forward to protest his actions toward them. Finally placed on paid leave, eventually he signed. We are now on out 4th superintendent in two years. Not sure of how many business managers, but it more than one.
      *Created countless new administrative positions; including Director of Operations, Assistant Superintendent, Elementary Assistant PrincipalS,
      * Created an atmosphere of fear for staff throughout the district
      * Penned a SECRET contract with the teachers' union and the town that reportedly gave massive raises to employees in a failing district
      * Lost HUNDREDS of teachers and students
      * Spent 7 figures (as in Million) on legal fees, unemployment, law suit settlements, investigations, lost arbitrations, and plain stupidity.
      * Attacked the parochial school use of 2 food service worker (less than $10,000 annually), at the same time they pay a superintedent "mentor" $27,000. this year. (the State provides free superintendent mentors).

      And the student achievement goes drastically down during this period.

      You like Kara? Like a golden retriever! Our staff have been belittled and our students failed.

      Donovan and McLoughlin are the key architects of this demise of the district, Abrahamson is only carrying the train.

    2. Check...ok, check, ok...check.

      First off, thank you for saying what you did how you did. It's quite simple to see someone you know and their writing pattern...ask Ken, after a while, there are always a few key things you don't realize that you say, or how you structure it, that give you away.

      But, since you don't have the courage to stand up and say who you are (and please don't give us that old adage that you could get in trouble with the "powers that be" or some other nonsense)--it takes courage to stand behind your convictions, and without them, your argument is worthless to me.

      There is nothing, and I mean, nothing you say that I haven't heard of.

      What you've once again proven? You can change your user name to appear as someone different, but your argument remains laser focused on what others "have done wrong" in your mind, but not ONE original thought/idea?

      Your insults ("like a golden retriever") are childish. I do like Kara. I like Brent. On the TC, I also like Shawn, Esteban, and...others you wouldn't like.

      The focus from you is how to bitch and moan, without so much as an original thought as to how to change things from your view. Your argument, like your hiding behind fake names is non-productive.

      Sorry, Ken, but until you can get intelligent people willing to engage in articulate discussion, I'm done trying to add anything to your site. I wish you the best, but it's boring hearing the same over and over again.

      I'm only surprised that this "writer" didn't go back to the landfill, the access road, and every other old (and lost) argument in their treasure trove.


    3. In Fairness or Apathy?August 6, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Dennis you are as clueless as you are hypocritical.

      You just turned attack dog on more than one person but don't let facts get in the way of your opinions. In regards to your being (cough , cough) .... tired of adding fuel, well I guess you drank an energy drink while at your keyboard.

      " Hi, Ken...I am so glad that I stopped my blog...I got to the point where I got tired of adding fuel to the fire...the people that comment here,."

      Your actions remind me of an old childish poem ;

      In days of old
      when knights where bold
      and toilets weren't invented,
      They laid their load beside the road
      and walked away contented.

      Keep walking!
      You do better at apathy than you do fairness.

    4. And once again, the gutless, unnamed can do nothing but criticize and offer nothing of value.

      I'll leave it to you to make changes to town government. I was most impressed with the change of government (cough, cough) and the support of a Town Councilor who was gone for six months after attacking the police, physically and verbally (cough, cough, cough).

      Your lame attempts to force change are born out of anger and not ideas.

      I have no time for people that can't articulate an argument with facts and not pabulum.

      You are right, that someone is clueless, but it is not I: it is you and the few people that share your thoughts that think they have the right approach to solving problems, when in are clueless.

      Good luck, Ken. When people think articulating points is attacking, it's time for me to spend my time elsewhere. Curiosity got the better of me. I'd rather be apathetic than pathetic.

  5. One Less Guidance CounselorAugust 6, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Well, things are going so well at out new school that the new guidance counselor (two weeks on the job) quit today. So our children get the short end again. Does anyone really think that all students will be appropriately scheduled for classes in two weeks? Does anyone really think that the needs of our students will be met when they arrive on opening day? NOT!

    To those that continue to support the gross incompetence of the current school committee, please wake up. Not all of us can afford to send our children to private/parochial schools. And frankly, we shouldn't be forced to!

  6. Afterthought:

    I do better at apathy than fairness?

    This coming from a know-it-all who hides because you don't want people to know who you are, for obvious reasons.

    You are the unfair one, as I, and anyone who dares to disagree with you, are so obviously wrong. Fair is being open-minded, and listening to all sides, and conceding that you don't know everything. I don't. You think you do.

    1. In Fairness or Apathy?August 7, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Now this from the Say one thing while doing the opposite dept..
      “I am so glad that I stopped my blog...I got to the point where I got tired of adding fuel to the fire...”
      - But honestly that is ALL you have done here. No Solutions just piss and vinegar and disagreeing with yourself and your own words..
      “I'm not going to get into an argument, “
      - Um, do I even have to say it – YES you did!
      “I have more important things to do than argue with anyone at this point in my life...”
      Um - again apparently not.
      “You can't win the hearts and minds of the people while sticking it to them at the same time. “
      I guess you’re not trying to win any one here’s hearts or minds.
      “Sorry, Ken, but until you can get intelligent people willing to engage in articulate discussion, I'm done trying to add anything to your site. “
      See above!
      “I have no time for people that can't articulate an argument with facts and not pabulum.”
      - And you’re not going to argue with them either right?

      Wants to teach you raise the more import issues and i will now defer so your real and constructive points can hopefully get addressed.

    2. Fair but not pathetically stupid!August 7, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      I can see why Dennis can't tolerate people like you. You are a close-minded jerk who hasn't said one thing about what you'd do--all you do is criticize. You want Dennis to do as you say, but you can't control your own idiocy. Why does anyone even pay attention to this site? Because misery loves company, and this is where the miserable without so much as one thought seem to congregate. I'm with Dennis--regardless of what your side is, I'm against it, for the simple reason that you can't do anything besides attack. You're a bully, and I am also out of here permanently.

  7. Enough already! (Dennis and others)
    Bottom line is Southbridge Middle High School is in big trouble! Will seniors get the classes they need to graduate? Will teaming in the middle school be scheduled correctly? Are all the vacated positions filled?
    School starts in a few weeks and I'm scared to death that this year will be worse than last! (Not sure that could be possible) I want to teach kids but when they come to my class after raising hell in their last two classes that had substitute teachers assigned, my job becomes almost impossible!
    Will there be a complete guidance department, foreign language dept, or a math dept for that matter, this year? I'm just not sure that those of us who are still trying won't just give up! ,
    I've never written on this blog before but many of us are scared and the school committee won't even talk to us! HELP!

    1. Just a few questions:

      1. How many teachers are we supposed tohave at SMHS?
      2. How many do we currently have?
      3. How many of our teachers have been on the job formore than a year?

    2. Dysfucntion JunctionAugust 7, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Let's not forget the absent science department, are there any returning science teachers? Oh Union Dave Williams is there, but he spends most of his time on union business. Check the Grade 8 MCAS scores !
      As for the guidance disaster, Mrs. Hatch remains. Of course, she is also a big union player and is often out of the building on grievance matters. Not sure why these issues can't be addressed during non-instructional hours, but they are usually not.
      I suspect these union officials are given the freedom to do as they like, due substantially to the work that the union performed in getting Lauren McLoughlin and Kara Donovan elected two years ago. I can bet the ranch that their children get the classes they want!

    3. It doesn't hurt when the President of the Union is also supposed to be ensuring that Barefoot Road operations are in order.

      IMNSHO it is inappropriate to have a Town employee on the Board of Health, never mind the head of the teachers union.Back when the five people on our three person Board of Health had to make decisions related to the landfill changes, there were substantial pressures put on Town Employees to STFU or risk losing their job. Now that the landfill makes the town almost as much as the water & sewer, it would be outrageously difficult for the head of the Teacher's Union to make choices at the BoH that might result in financial losses that could result in the losing teaching positions.

      One of the people that posts here has a lot of figures regarding the big new school near the old dump. Please reply go these questions:

      How many teachers did we have when that school opened, and how many teachers do we have there now.

      And how many students did we have when that school was opened and how many do we have now?

    4. Southbridge is merely reaping what it sowed!


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