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Thread: Curious indeed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Curious indeed

    This quote from Jeff Dieffenbach was from the Wicked Local site, but my response was either too long or something, but it wouldn't post. So, here it is:

    “The notion that the reconfiguration decision was made without data is curious”

    Not really.
    Jeff, I distinctly remember multiple instances of going back and forth from HH to Loker, measuring classrooms, counting parking spaces, measuring the cafeterias, and more, all in an effort to understand the wacky data on your comparison chart that seemed so far removed from the reality. You had an awful lot of information up there that just didn’t seem right. Sure enough, much of it wasn’t.
    And this was after you’d made your decision.

    As we (several concerned Loker parents) gathered and corrected more and more of your data, suddenly there was an equal number of school personnel out there following in our footsteps, doing the same thing, as you tried to play catch up.
    As I went from school to school, I would see building managers close behind me, there for the same purpose that I was. Each with our own tape measure in hand and in some cases comparing our results.

    Everything that we were all doing at that point, is stuff that should have been done WELL in advance, in order to help the Committee make a rational, informed, data-driven decision, to determine if closing a school was a reasonable and necessary thing to do, and if so, which school to close. Instead, this work was being done after the fact in order to justify the decision.

    Jeff, this is how it went down. For weeks.
    Please don’t deny this or try to rationalize it, because I wasn’t the only one doing this – there were plenty of others involved in this process. This was not one "angry Loker parent" being a pain in the neck. It was a large group of concerned people trying to make sense out of the nonsense and absurd explanations and answers that we were expected to swallow. Surely as someone with a propensity for logic, you can understand why we simply couldn't believe what we were seeing and hearing.

    At the point at which I got involved, the number of classrooms at each school was changing like the tides, the number of parking spaces at HH was exaggerated, while the number at Loker was undercounted. This caught my attention and led me to many more examples of inaccurate data.

    Dr. Burton was saying he felt the traffic “flow” was better at HH, because it all moved in one direction – nothing about safety yet, just flow. We had to bring safety up ourselves, as none of you were talking about it at that point. He is also on tape as saying that HH’s cafeteria was “slightly smaller than Loker’s”, even after we’d proven that Loker’s is more than twice the size.

    Think about that! A room less than half the size of another was being portrayed as “slightly smaller”. Can you understand why we felt as we did?

    Jeff, our anger was and is based on the misrepresentations and misinformation that was coming from the committee and the administration constantly! It’s got nothing to do with which is the better school. It’s got everything to do with the way this was done.
    (and that is NOT your cue to admit that "some mistakes were made". We've heard that from you and others many times. This goes WAY beyond a few mistakes being made.)

    So, for you to tell us now, that the reconfiguration decision was made with solid data and all your ducks in a row is just perpetuating the misinformation that this process was so full of.

    Please stop perpetuating this. In doing so, you are only insulting us further.
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 04-16-2008 at 07:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wayland MA


    The School Committee put the Administration in a difficult spot by opting on short notice for the 2 1/2 school model. The Administration did an admirable job under trying circumstances in pulling together information on the many facets of the comparison. And they did this job while putting together a budget.

    As an aside, I can only speak for myself, but at no point in the process did I willfully misrepresent anything*. Knowing the integrity of the rest of the Committee and of the Administration, I cannot imagine that anyone else did either. The fact that the information set changed and improved was a natural and inevitable part of the tight time line. I'm grateful for the efforts that all community members made in collecting that information.

    At the time of the decision in late February, the Committee and the Administration had amassed a sizable but by no means perfect body of information. The selection of Happy Hollow over Loker as the 1-5 school was a reasonable interpretation of that information. As I have said on a number of occasions, it was also reasonable to come to the opposite conclusion.

    Yes, the Committee might have looked at the time line and opted not to reconfigure to 2 1/2 schools. We'll never know, but such a choice might well have ended with a failure of the override and the resulting significant hit to our educational program. As it stands, that program is preserved.

    * Also, if I'm not mistaken, you edited your original post to remove your accusation of lying on the part of the Committee and/or the Administration. Thank you for that removal. In the future, however, in keeping with responsible discussion board practice, I encourage you note the nature of the change when you make the edit. That is, if you remove something, indicate what you've removed. If my recollection of your original post is incorrect, I apologize.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Jeff, I'm not surprised that you gloss over everything and apologize for nothing, but I'm not going to focus on that right now.

    However, this jumped off the page at me and needs correcting:
    "At the time of the decision in late February, the Committee and the Administration had amassed a sizable but by no means perfect body of information."

    Your timeline is off.
    In late January, I attended the SC meeting to hear the fate of my school. Sure enough, that night it was made clear that Loker would be closing. I left that meeting sad, but resigned and assumed that you all knew what you were doing and that was the end of it.
    However, over the next several days, I kept hearing things from a number of people that Loker had a bigger cafeteria, more classrooms, twice as many baseball diamonds, and on and on. Naturally, this raised my curiosity and I started asking questions, which led to more and more questions and to the bizarre absence of logic and data that completely misrepresented reality.

    So, the decision in late February that you are referring to was after much of your data had been corrected, and it was a much more "perfect body of information" than what you'd started out with.

    OK, one more:
    "The selection of Happy Hollow over Loker as the 1-5 school was a reasonable interpretation of that information."

    The ONLY way a reasonable person could come to this conclusion is if you factor in the "Windows for Schools" deal, which you deny ever happened.
    If you leave that out of the equation, there is no way these two buildings are close, and I believe that deep down inside you know that.


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