We watched the town council meeting earlier this evening. The meeting largely centered around water, how we move it, where it comes from, how to integrate the infrastructure like pumps into public spaces without compromising our ability to enjoy those spaces. The public comment period yielded productive conversations between residents and the council on the impact of installing the hardware needed to maintain our water system (and how we don’t notice it until there’s a problem and we can’t get any).
But the public comment period also – unfortunately – found the council and the rest of us being forced to waste otherwise productive time listening to boilerplate invective from the Montclair Education Association. Instead of taking time to talk about how to move things forward in our town (ie – like the other speakers were doing), the MEA’s reps decided to waste everyone’s time beating the same old drum of their tired attacks and conspiracy theories: testing, investigations, “accountability” for the Board of Education, etc.
Clearly, there are real issues around each of these points, but instead of offering up a productive discussion, the MEA decided to waste everyone’s time with the same old talking points and attacks that they’ve been spouting for months. The myopia of the MEA folks is indicative of their underlying motives: use every opportunity to circle the conversation back to their chosen controversies. And so, as usual, their time tonight was spent attacks on the district and the administration, instead of solutions.
Unsurprisingly, their attack-dog sock puppet online account “AssessmentGate” posted another random attack on the school district tonight, drawing some aspersions about some people who live in Montclair and – they claim, without any evidence, of course – have advised the superintendent. Mainly, they go on to say that the district hasn’t done anything but get bad press.
Leaving aside the fact that that’s just wrong (District is clearly moving forward with various reforms and improvements, whether you agree with them or not), the real point is that these folks have spent all of their time attacking the district and trying to make sure it can’t do anything and just gets bad press. From Day 1 of MacCormack entering the district, they’ve constantly been attacking her and seeking to undermine her. Which is distressing, because while it comports with their political agenda, their attacks do nothing to improve education and have only served to make it harder for the district to function effectively.
Given their general behavior and the ineffective use of time to repeat more talking points, it’s not surprising that the school board decided to set aside this time waster.
While a good debate about the decisions we make is important for the district, there’s a point at which using every meeting to spout the same old tired attacks needs to stop. It seems that we’ve long since reached that point. The MEA needs to stop with the tired attacks, put away the political rhetoric, and be productive.