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Thread: Class sizes: FY09 vs. FY08

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'm curious why you dodged the one simple question that I asked: do you think that the effect of the Committee's 3-2 vote not to revisit the original vote was in essence a 3-2 vote to make Loker the Kindergarten school. I don't remember their precise words, but I'm pretty sure that Louis Jurist and Deb Cohen spoke in favor of making Happy Hollow the Kindergarten school.



    I'm not sure what value you see to repeating a lie. Every member of the Committee categorically denied that there was any "windows deal." To say otherwise is to call us liars. Are you saying that? Or are you just "putting it out there" to complete a list, in a discredited Fox News "fair and balanced" sort of way?



    That about captures it.



    All of our deliberations were public. There was never ANY mention of a plan or any intent to let certain members "express a different feeling." For all I knew, the vote could have turned out the other way. To suggest this is insulting.



    Another fantasy.



    No one is denying that the process was faster than would have been ideal. The coin flip notion is just another insult.



    Nicely done! You get to list 4 insulting ideas, then don't have the courage to pick one, or even which "elements." Karl Rove would be proud. Take a stand, Jeff, or take a seat.



    What!? Do you really think that anyone would scold *me* for not taking seriously *John's* repeated bullying insults? Up is down. Black is white. Lewis Carroll would be proud of this trip of yours Through the Looking Glass.
    If I dodged the question, it was unintentional. I think the vote not to reconsider was the end result of a process that never was going to result in a change from the original January (I think?) vote. I guess I agree with your premise that the vote not to reconsider was in effect the deal sealer for Loker a K schol.

    There was no intent to insult. You asked a question and I listed several ideas that have been commonly bantered about as to what that whole process was really anchored in and represented. I knew you'd pick #2. Not hard. However, as has been made clear on these boards, one opinion is just that -- one opinion. I stand by my position, I think elements of each are true to some extent. I'll provide more detail below as I now have more time (temple was a calling this morning):

    • I do think the windows deal was a real thing -- calling it a deal, understanding, agreement, or something else. The denial is not a lie - it is a denial of a very specific deifnition of what you and others view as a deal. I don't believe it was an insidious backroom deal, but I do believe all that stuff which is on tape (see John F's links and Alan's post below) played into the decision making process. To what extent it drove people's minds, I won't ever know because nobody will admit it.
    • I don't think proper analysis was done. Period.
    • I do think the deliberations were public, but who knows what kind of an understanding there was. Again, nothing insidious, but knowing the riot that would have broken out the other way had you switched schools, the non-revote that affirmed the earlier position may have had understood results before it was "made public."
    • Why is this a fantasy? It would be no less political than your contention that you sacrificed Loker to help the override pass. Doing something else to help the override pass is clearly fair game to you.
    • The coin flip is an analogy that demonstrates the randomness of the outcome. You have all but said in the past that it was so close. OK, so maybe it was a slightly weighted coin, but I think the analogy applies.


    As for insulting John and being uncivil, I never expected anyone to stand up for him, though they should have if they were sincere in keeping their definition of civility. I won't hold my breath...

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    As for insulting John and being uncivil, I never expected anyone to stand up for him, though they should have if they were sincere in keeping their definition of civility. I won't hold my breath...
    Is this is a request for more intervention from the "polite police"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Is this is a request for more intervention from the "polite police"?
    Gosh no, I meant the people that rush to condemn others via posts about being uncivil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It has wisely been suggested that I edit this post to make explicit the point in my formatting exercise above: it is inappropriate to intentionally alter the words of others as John Flaherty did. I had hoped that by caveating my post as humor, it would be apparent that I was not serious with respect to content. So as to remove any doubt: I was not serious about the substance of my alteration, but rather, serious as to my objection to his doing so initially.
    So, you did it because I did it first, huh?
    I’ve got to hand it to you – you are without question the best I’ve ever seen at spin. You know, it might not be too late to get a job with the Bush administration. Even after he’s left office, they’ll need to work hard to alter the public’s perception of the last 8 years. (BTW, were you involved in those Swift Boat ads a few years back?)

    Here’s what I had said: “By removing just a couple of words from your statement, we’re left with – “your opinion is irrelevant to me.” This just nails it for so many people on what our problem was and is with the entire school committee and administration. This feeling was and is broad and wide among many, many people in this town.”

    I wrote this because I identified in your words a very succinct way to express the frustration that so many people have felt in dealing with the school committee. I didn’t imply that you said them, I didn’t put words in your mouth. I was very clear about that.

    Here’s what you said about me, as if from my point of view:
    “I don’t speak the truth. I just nail people and change reality out of spite.”

    You reciprocated by putting words in my mouth – granted, jokingly – that called me a liar.

    And THEN, rather than simply apologize after hearing from Kim about my displeasure with your “joke”, you cleverly found a way to write something that suggests that I some how was the one in the wrong here.

    No, Jeff. You were wrong. I know you could never admit that. However, the truth remains that you have called me a liar and said that I nail people out of spite, in your own peculiar attempt at humor, while I have simply taken some of your words to make a point, which wasn’t even aimed at you personally – it was directed at the committee of which you are a member.

    BIG difference.

    Where are the “Polite Police” when you need them? Oh, that’s right – they only come out to defend their friends.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I don't believe it was an insidious backroom deal, but I do believe all that stuff which is on tape (see John F's links and Alan's post below) played into the decision making process. To what extent it drove people's minds, I won't ever know because nobody will admit it....
    Only the people whose minds were not driven can tell you that. They have. You just choose not to believe them. It has nothing to do with not admitting it! It's just not what you think, or want to hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    As for insulting John and being uncivil, I never expected anyone to stand up for him, though they should have if they were sincere in keeping their definition of civility. I won't hold my breath...
    BTW, I didn't like how Jeff said John's opinion on "spin" is "irrelevant" to him. Maybe "offensive", "pointless", or "disrespectful" would've been more appropriate?
    I do have to say that when it comes to John's many accusations of "spin", he is denying Jeff (and everyone else he accuses) the validity of what he/they are saying. Continuing to hear back that your opinion is "spin", is a disrespectful cop-out and I don't know why John would continue to debate with someone he believes is not forthright. It would be nice to see people who have differing opinions agree to disagree and leave it at that. Nobody needs to be accused of dishonesty of their opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    So, you did it because I did it first, huh?
    I’ve got to hand it to you – you are without question the best I’ve ever seen at spin. You know, it might not be too late to get a job with the Bush administration. Even after he’s left office, they’ll need to work hard to alter the public’s perception of the last 8 years. (BTW, were you involved in those Swift Boat ads a few years back?)

    Here’s what I had said: “By removing just a couple of words from your statement, we’re left with – “your opinion is irrelevant to me.” This just nails it for so many people on what our problem was and is with the entire school committee and administration. This feeling was and is broad and wide among many, many people in this town.”

    I wrote this because I identified in your words a very succinct way to express the frustration that so many people have felt in dealing with the school committee. I didn’t imply that you said them, I didn’t put words in your mouth. I was very clear about that.

    Here’s what you said about me, as if from my point of view:
    “I don’t speak the truth. I just nail people and change reality out of spite.”

    You reciprocated by putting words in my mouth – granted, jokingly – that called me a liar.

    And THEN, rather than simply apologize after hearing from Kim about my displeasure with your “joke”, you cleverly found a way to write something that suggests that I some how was the one in the wrong here.

    No, Jeff. You were wrong. I know you could never admit that. However, the truth remains that you have called me a liar and said that I nail people out of spite, in your own peculiar attempt at humor, while I have simply taken some of your words to make a point, which wasn’t even aimed at you personally – it was directed at the committee of which you are a member.

    BIG difference.

    Where are the “Polite Police” when you need them? Oh, that’s right – they only come out to defend their friends.
    People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    John, I have no objection to people disagreeing with me about school or other matters. As I've said countless times (in response to countless challenges), the decisions to reconfigure the elementary schools and about which school to convert to Kindergarten were not clear cut. They were honest, however.

    For months, you have been rude, insulting, and disrespectful to me and others. I have no objection to that either. I'm not the first to observe that your poor behavior says far more about you than it does me.

    Fast forward to yesterday. You took a very specific statement that I made, removed the most important words, and left it in quotes as if it was still mine. While relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, that action was dishonest, reprehensible, and undeserved.

    So I returned the favor in kind, to make a point. And you have the nerve to cry foul. John, that's truly laughable, as I'm sure any neutral reader would agree. Since your skin is so thin (despite a "thick tongue"), I'm going to further edit my post to remove a bit of the sting. But I stand fully behind the point that I was making in response to your transgression and the manner with which I made it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Only the people whose minds were not driven can tell you that. They have. You just choose not to believe them. It has nothing to do with not admitting it! It's just not what you think, or want to hear.
    Tracy, you are not in a position to be authoritative on this subject. You were not a member of the BoS, FinCom, or SC at any time. Therefore, your willingness to believe is no more valid than my unwillingness to do so.

    Tangentially, by accepting the denials, you are, by default saying that Alan Reiss (a member of the BoS at the time) is not telling the truth in regards to how he details quite explicitly the chain of events (what I referred to as "the windows deal") that I (and many others) believe influenced people (I've repasted his post below in italics).

    On March 5th 2007 Cherry came before the BoS and, on her own, without prompting or questioning by the BoS brought up the fact that HH would not be the school to close in the case of declining enrollment. This was said because she was asking for $735K to repair or replace windows at HH and (I assume) that she wanted to give assurances to the BoS that if we went for the money then the money would go to an asset which would *survive*.

    The selectman made NO DEAL... but a DEAL walked into the room and that DEAL must have been made prior to March 5th 2007. This is why 5 out of 5 selectmen said that there was NO DEAL between the selectmen and the SC or the FinCom...

    On March 27th I purposefully asked that question of Cherry as a plus two to confirm that what she said on March 5th was still true and real. The tape shows my question and it also shows her answer. Barb was in the room and and she talked about this *windows agreement* at length. Its obvious that some DEAL was already struck.

    At the April town meeting I asked the question again (in a different way) and although nobody had an obligation to answer me, I asked it nonetheless.

    One more time... 5 out of 5 selectmen agree that there was NO DEAL between the BoS and the FinCom or the BoS and the SC. The DEAL that is referred to was the one that appeared in front of the BoS on March 5th 2007 and that (I must assume) was cut prior to that date between the FinCom and the SC.


    There's video evidence at http://waylandtransparency.com/schools/video.asp.

    Why not agree that people will make up their own minds about the evidence?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post

    For months, you have been rude, insulting, and disrespectful to me and others. I have no objection to that either.
    Other than my infamous "shut-up post", which like Howard Dean's scream some years back was isolated and taken totally out of context to be used as "proof" of rudeness, I don't believe I've said anything objectionable.

    While I've been extremely critical of your board, which is more than a right - it's a duty in our democratic society to speak up against our government when we see the need to - I have never attacked you personally.

    Fast forward to yesterday. You took a very specific statement that I made, removed the most important words, and left it in quotes as if it was still mine.
    I did nothing of the sort. As I said above, I removed some words from something you'd said to make an entirely different point. Nothing about it suggested they these were your words anymore once I'd grabbed the ones I needed to make my point.


    I'm going to further edit my post to remove a bit of the sting.
    Why? You think I'm going to like "I nail people and change reality" any better?

    If nailing people is your definition of speaking one's mind and seeking the truth when nothing seems to add up, then I guess you're right. But I don't see it that way at all.

    And "changing reality"? Never.
    All I want to do is promote the truth.

    You shouldn't be afraid of that.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Continuing to hear back that your opinion is "spin", is a disrespectful cop-out and I don't know why John would continue to debate with someone he believes is not forthright.
    Tracy,

    I'll answer the second part first.
    Because the same people whom I believe made a colossal blunder, followed by a series of more blunders, are still in office. I believe that their actions were so egregious, that they ought to have stepped down by now. I know you don't agree with that. But I certainly have a right to voice that concern. And it IS a concern because we are continuing to pay for their mistakes and because their mistakes are continuing. Again, you don't agree? Fine. But I'm going to say it because that is what I believe.

    As to the issue of spin, that is the reason I got into this fight.
    I'm not singling out Jeff by any means, but the committee as a whole and the administration first caught my attention last January, when they were saying things that made absolutely no sense to me.
    Here are a few choice ones from back then:
    • Gary stated that Happy Hollow's cafeteria was "slightly smaller" than Loker's when Loker's is more than twice the size.
    • Claiming that Happy Hollow has more parking spaces than Loker until it was proven otherwise, and then saying, well, parking doesn't really matter anyway.
    • To say they did a comprehensive study to determine which would be the better choice, when in reality the 9 models Brad Crozier drew up ALL showed HH as the 1-5 and Loker as the school to close
    • To say that, even with the words of Cherry Carlson clearly stating on the video a year ealier that "if they contemplate the need to close an elementary school, one of our concerns was that if we were to put this money into an elementary school, we wanted to make certain that this would be one that would remain open, and we were told that it would be." (click anywhere on the quote to view the video) To say this is not a "deal" simply defies logic.

    All of this (and much more) leads me to believe that there's something else at play here. Nothing makes sense. I believe that they are "changing reality". And the common denominator was always Happy Hollow. Even in instances where Loker had a clear advantage - a larger playing field - they turn that asset right on its head and make it a liability saying that it will cost more to water.

    This isn't about HH vs. Loker. That's been settled.
    I only refer to these as examples of what I consider to be some very bad decision making and the spin that goes along with them.

    This type of what I call "spin" continues to this day when the Superintendent came out within a day or two of schools opening saying:

    • " The opening of school at all five locations has gone very well, with the exception of a few bus issues"

    That's it. Nothing about the multiple examples of "lost" children - kids who did not come home on the bus they were supposed to and had to be tracked down by frantic parents on cell phones, nothing about the 90 minutes bus rides of some 5 year olds, nothing about the fact that the kids had to wait 30 minutes after dismissal for the buses to arrive - just a few run of the mill "bus issues".

    This is what I call spin.

    I'm sorry if you don't like my pointing it out. Please don't confuse my strong opinions with rudeness or lack of civility.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I'm sorry if you don't like my pointing it out.
    It has nothing to do with what I like or "don't like" about your points. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion.

    It has everything to do with the purpose for your continued repetition of your points. I don't understand how you see it as helpful to re-post the same points over and again? Regardless of any of our opinions on windows, cafeterias, parking spaces, Loker, HH etc. the effective timeframe for that discussion has ended. Wouldn't it be more useful for the kids (and us) to be using our time to volunteer and talk about the schools moving forward?

    Would you be willing to agree to disagree and move on shifting the focus to improving what we have and where we are going?

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    I corrected an error that I made in post #4 on this thread. I don't think that edits trigger an email to those subscribed to a thread, so I'm adding this new post to trigger the notification.

    Previously, I had said that we had 3 *fewer* sections at or above the class size guideline in FY09 compared with FY08--in fact, we have 2 *more* sections at or above the class size guideline this year. The number of sections over guideline remains correct: 2 this year, 9 last year.

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    Default Mythbusters: Enrollment decline

    Jeff,

    Is it true that we only have 10 (or is it 3) fewer students this year than last year?
    Also, how is enrollment determined other than standard methods of registration?

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    Mary, given your subject line, and in the spirit of Jeff Baron's excellent Reflections thread, I'm taking a pass on responding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Mary, given your subject line, and in the spirit of Jeff Baron's excellent Reflections thread, I'm taking a pass on responding.
    I am not sure why you are taking a pass on responding. I understand Mr. Baron's post to mean that there is nothing that can be gained from beating the dead horse of the past, and how do we serve the children in our schools going forward...
    In the spirit of Jeff's Baron's reflection thread you stated:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    For my part, I'll sign on to Jeff Baron's pledge--I've got 7th grade BAYS soccer to coach, HS cross country meets to attend, soccer balls to kick myself, and a great fall season of cycling ahead.

    That said, I'm happy to answer questions about our schools, and track down information to the extent that I'm able.
    I did not intend to offend with my title. I am a big fan of the show Mythbusters on the Discovery channel. The concept is to weigh scientific evidence and determine whether something may or may not be possible. http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/my...thbusters.html

    I received an answer to my question from someone who attended Monday's SC meeting. I understand it to be that we have 10 fewer students (out of 1200?) than we had last year. I would conclude from that figure that declining enrollment was a myth.

    I guess I will have to wonder whether we will err on the side of caution when estimating enrollment in the future, unless you decide to answer.

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    I'm familiar with Mythbusters. Generally, they consider themselves more successful when they debunk a myth than when they confirm one. From the absence of a question mark in your post title and your decision not to ask the question more neutrally ("Is elementary enrollment declining?"), I inferred the "offense." If none was intended, none taken.

    Enrollment decline is demonstrably not a myth, as John Flaherty graphically makes clear in his signature block (I've commented elsewhere on the overall point of his chart).

    From last year (FY08: 1,213 students) to this year (FY09: 1,203), the elementary enrollment decline continued, albeit at 10 students, only slightly. Next year, the decline will most likely accelerate, as we have a relatively large class of 5th graders (227) exiting and being "replaced" by a smaller Kindergarten (this assumption also takes into account "inter-grade" changes, for instance the number exiting Kindergarten and entering first grade). The School Committee should receive the administration's FY10 enrollment projections at its next meeting.

    Those readers interested in broader Massachusetts trends might find the Pioneer Institute's "Enrollment Trends in Massachusetts" by Ken Ardon to be of interest.

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