Within hours of our publication of “The Quiet Surrender” the backlash by the forces supporting the McLoughlin/Donovan regime began.
Perhaps they feared that turning people’s attention to the potential productivity of telling the public the truth might actually inspire qualified people to run for School Committee in the next election.
Nevertheless, the backlash against Ms. Earls began with the reposting of an exchange of a questionable nature on another local site specializing in reposting tweets.
That exchange appeared as follows:
The attack drew a swift and impassioned response from Town Council Vice-Chairman Carrasco.
Esteban Carrasco Jr To Whom It May Concern and to the person who sent this to cause more damage and harm to our community. I was at the "so called assembly" that this was said and no students were called out by name. Rather we had an assembly with a speaker (who spoke about choices among some other things) and Principal Earls in closing her remarks referenced talking about some seniors that made some choices early in there [sic] education referring to there [sic] freshmen year of high school (which was 3 years ago and not under her leadership) that they have not been able to recover those choices and she was urging the 8th, 9th and some 10th graders who attended the assembly to make the choice now to do what's right! This is unbelievable how people like to talk and take things out of context and run with them. I urge people to check the facts before posting information that is not factual or information taken out of context COMPLETELY!!
Nevertheless, the host of the site went on to repeat the discredited claim that the names of students were called out. In addition they went on to replay the presentation by the SMHS Principal where she stated that in excess of 20 students were at risk. My question is, why is that kind of openness and transparency (which has been so sorely lacking) now a topic of criticism?
Undaunted the sponsor of this site launched into another attack on Ms. Earls a couple of days later, attacking the record of the Martin Luther King, Jr. charter school where she had previously been Principal.
Apparently deeming this insufficient, they then posted the following:
First, I’m surprised by the notation that the original tweet disappeared. Seems to make the whole thing seem so conspiratorial. However, here’s the whole twitter history.
Second, the aggregated numbers fail to illustrate progress made at the school. If one looks at the data providing annual comparisons one sees marked improvements in Mathematics and Science, Tech and Engineering. The declines occur in English Language Arts.
One has to wonder why there is talk of eliminating this school on somewhat shaky data when Southbridge has been allowed to continue with far worse performance for so long.
Third, of course, is the attempt to compare The MLK Jr. charter school, comprised of grades K through 5, to SMHS which is an entirely different population comprised of grades 6 through 12.
Finally of course, as in so many cases, is the issue of politics.
The tweeted article notes, “The sanction was recommended by Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester in a memorandum saying that "despite prior probation and conditions, as well as attempts to improve the instructional program, MLK's academic track record is not acceptable."
What is overlooked is Mitchell Chester’s longstanding opposition to charter schools. As the Pioneer Institute remarked just eight months ago, ” This past week, at the urging of state K-12 education commissioner Mitch Chester, Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts Board of Education took a vote against Massachusetts’ nation-leading and achievement gap-closing charter schools. The vote reminds us once again how intellectually warped so much of K-12 education policymaking remains.
The biggest victims of this BOE vote are the tens-of-thousands of underserved poor and minority children trapped in chronically underperforming urban school districts with no school choices and zero way out.
The vote reminds us that despite the huge gains the country has made since the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education and the events in places like Birmingham, Alabama, in the early 1960s, as a people America still has, in the words of poet Robert Frost, ‘miles to go before [we] sleep,’ to make access to equal K-12 educational opportunities a reality. “
The bottom line was summarized by one commenter on that other site, “This whole thread is non-productive...”
Perhaps the sponsor of this line of attack could adhere to earlier practices and just throw in the towel…