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Thread: The Dark Side of WaylandTransparency.com

  1. #1
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    Default The Dark Side of WaylandTransparency.com

    WaylandTransparency.com's very logo incorporates the catchphrase "Facts Without Spin." That claim notwithstanding, perhaps the site's spin-so-fast-it-makes-one's-head-spin history of rarely if ever saying anything positive about the Wayland Public Schools should have prepared me for a new page of theirs: "The Dark Side."

    On that page, John Flaherty (perhaps accompanied by his alleged band of unnamed co-conspirators) irresponsibly trashes a recently discovered theft (discovered by the Wayland Public Schools, no less!) of petty cash as purported evidence of the schools having a "culture and environment that exists in which this type of thing could happen."

    Several thousand dollars on a budget of tens of millions is such a miniscule amount that had it gone undiscovered, it would arguably still be a stretch to label it evidence of negligence or worse. But Mr. Flaherty misses the point--the theft WAS discovered, suggesting at least the possibility of the schools having in place the very type of system or systems he thinks might be lacking.

    In this case, I don't know how the theft was discovered, nor whether systems worked as planned or the schools simply got lucky, and I do not intend to find out. But were I to use the incident to cast aspersions as Mr. Flaherty has, I'd do my homework first by gathering the facts (without spin).

  2. #2
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    Jeff,

    Thank you so much for driving traffic to Wayland Transparency. I appreciate your support.
    As anyone will see who clicks on the link you provided, there is no spin when not taken out of context, as your post has done.


    Of course, you have spun it by taking it out of context and leaving out such lines as “Do these things occur in Wayland? Let's hope not. “. You’re trying to imply that I am suggesting corruption if rampant in Wayland when, if you read my words, it’s very clear that I am not.


    However, I AM willing to talk about things that make some people uncomfortable, which as proven in the SC website thread, you are not.
    John Flaherty

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

  3. #3
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    John, I am thrilled to drive traffic to your WaylandTransparency.com. Any rational visitor will quickly see it as a one-sided manifesto that by its character and tone undermines the very point that it purports to make. Let's review:

    Q: Does your WaylandTransparency.com present "Facts Without Spin?"
    A: No. An even remotely balanced transparent look at the Wayland Public Schools would find far more to cheer than to jeer. Yet if even a single objective cheer graces your site, I can't easily find it. That's spin by any definition.

    Q: Does your "Declining Enrollment Myth" on your WaylandTransparency.com present "Facts Without Spin?"
    A: No. It graphically shows the very enrollment decline that in essentially the same breath you mislabel a myth.

    Q: Does your new "Dark Side" section of your WaylandTransparency.com present "Facts Without Spin?"
    A: No. Let us count the ways.

    1. The very name of the page: "The Dark Side"
    2. The page's theme: "Fraud ~ Embezzlement ~ Malfeasance ~ other nasty things;" if the page is devoted to these negatives, and you place content on this page, then by extension you call this content negative, your lonely "I hope not" notwithstanding
    3. The prominent placement of the cover of a document entitled "Stopping School Corruption: A Manual for Taxpayers"
    4. The placement of the quote, "I believe that some degree of corruption is festering in all school districts." Small amounts of waste are inevitable, and the former superintendent you cite calls such waste corruption, so it's technically true ... if you fall for his ludicrous notion that waste alone might constitute "festering corruption"
    5. Your accusation that the district lacks the very systems that apparently uncovered the minor theft

    John, if you can't see the spin you're weaving with your WaylandTransparency.com, then the anger that appears to fuel you also blinds you.

  4. #4
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    No anger here, Jeff.

    In fact there was a "single objective cheer" that I posted just this morning that the busing seems to be going well this year, even with the added challenges presented by the HS construction.

    But the point of the site is not to cheer OR jeer. It is simply to present the OTHER side of the story from the spin we hear all the time.


    I'm afraid you'll have to try harder than that.
    Nothing you've said about WaylandTransparency rises to the level of spin.


    Your attempts to throw cold water fall short:
    Calling the page "The Dark Side" is spin? Really? I think the name is perfectly suited for a subject that people don't want to talk about. What would you have called it?
    The "prominent placement of the cover of a document entitled "Stopping School Corruption: A Manual for Taxpayers"" is spin? So, if I buried it further down on the page it wouldn't have been?

    "Your accusation that the district lacks the very systems that apparently uncovered the minor theft"
    We don't know that, but that's really not the point.
    If we had the necessary procedures in place, there would have been no theft to uncover.

    So, again, Jeff, I thank you.
    Not only for pointing people to the site, but for underscoring its truth and its value by throwing stones that simply fizzle.

    Oh, and as to the "Declining Enrollment Myth", we've been over this before but I'll refresh your memory - the myth part doesn't mean there isn't sometimes declining enrollment. As you've pointed out, the chart clearly shows enrollment that is declining. The myth is that it was ever declining at a rate or to a degree that justified closing a school, which when compared to the other chart that shows a significantly steeper decline in 1980, when Loker was closed for the first time, there is NO comparison.
    To say that this is spin, when as you have pointed out yourself, the graph shows a (slight) decline, is just silly.
    Last edited by John Flaherty; 09-08-2010 at 11:35 PM. Reason: Added the last paragraph.
    John Flaherty

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

  5. #5
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    Readers who would like to see YET ANOTHER example of John Flaherty's spin should check out the "Busing" page he mentions.

    The full quote is not John's very selectively excerpted and re-written (spun?) "busing seems to be going well this year, even with the added challenges presented by the HS construction," but rather, this: "We're happy to say that we've heard very few horror stories to the busing on opening day this year, in spite of the added complications with the HS construction."

    That "backhanded compliment" quote represents only a small fraction of the page--the rest is pure jeer. John, to call this a cheer is a preposterous claim.

  6. #6
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    Funny you should mention busing.
    Apparently I spoke too soon with my "backhanded compliment" about things going well.
    I received this email last night:

    "I have 3 students all in different schools (Loker, Claypit, and the WMS). I received three separate letters (all printed, stuffed, and mailed at tax payers’ expense) and then I received an e-mail (free) telling me to disregard all the letters because they were incorrect. I received three separate mailings with plastic bus passes(all printed, stuffed, and mailed at tax payers’ expense) and then I received an e-mail to disregard the fact that they were all printed incorrectly and say “2009-2010” on them. Now that’s quality control.

    All the letters came from the same place. Didn’t anyone notice that they were all being delivered to the same address? Why all the separate mailings?

    Oh, and on the first day of school the wrong bus picked up my kids (and all the neighbors). Apparently he didn’t know what his actual route was!"


    This goes right to the heart of #2 in the author's list of what he calls corruption - Waste & Mismanagement.

    To be clear, Wayland Transparency is about spin & opacity, which by their very nature qualify as bad stuff. If you want compliments and praise and back-slapping for the things that go right, there are plenty of sources for that. Wayland Transparency is the other side of the story, that which you will never get from the School Committee, the administration, SOS or eNews. If someone's kid made it home on time on the bus, as I'd like to think most did, that's not something Wayland Transparency is going to focus on, because that is what is supposed to happen anyway. That is what we should expect.

    Here's an example of the spin that Wayland Transparency is working to counter:
    In his September 3 newsletter of the first year of the reconfiguration, Burton had this to say: " The opening of school at all five locations has gone very well, with the exception of a few bus issues."

    Talk about spin! As anyone who lived through that fiasco 2 years ago remembers, this was the understatement of the year. It was a nightmare of kids getting on the wrong bus, 90 minute bus rides, kids not let off at the right stop... It was not "a few bus issues". It was the entire system broken down.
    We pay these people too much - $128,000 to the person who did the bus routes, $185,000 to the superintendent - to have to have such incompetence from the former and such misrepresentation of reality from the latter.

    Wayland Transparency exists neither to praise, nor to slam the School Committee or the administration. Its purpose is to sift through the spin that they provide and to present the facts.
    John Flaherty

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

  7. #7
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    Default WaylandTransparency.com: Spinning Selected Facts

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Funny you should mention busing.
    Actually, John, you first brought up busing, not I.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    To be clear, Wayland Transparency is about spin & opacity, ...
    I couldn't agree more.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    ... which by their very nature qualify as bad stuff. If you want compliments and praise and back-slapping for the things that go right, there are plenty of sources for that. Wayland Transparency is the other side of the story, that which you will never get from the School Committee, the administration, SOS or eNews.
    John, if have any aspirations towards credibility, you can't claim "Facts Without Spin" in one breath and telling only one side of the story in the next.

    Also, I hope you appreciate the ridiculousness of saying that Wayland eNews will "never" give the other side of the story; if I'm not mistaken, they link to all Wayland news, and recently, the petty cash theft among them.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Wayland Transparency exists neither to praise, nor to slam the School Committee or the administration. Its purpose is to sift through the spin that they provide and to present the facts.
    John, you should have the person who writes the first part of your posts ("the other side of the story") check in with the person who writes the the second part ("neither to praise, nor to slam").

    I've got no objection to constructive criticism, as I appreciate the value that feedback serves. What I don't like are "organizations" (WVN, WaylandTransparency.com) that falsely claim to be one thing (objective) while clearly being another (taking a point of view).

    So why don't you just come out and say it explicitly, since you say it with your every post on WaylandTransparency.com: "Wayland Transparency: Spinning Selected Facts?"

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