We’re Back.  

Last fall, we decided to take a bit of a hiatus of indeterminate length from the blog. At the time, things seemed to be headed in the right direction so we felt there was less of a need to blog as often as we had been. Everyone was talking about collaboration, and there even seemed to be a few signs that they were serious about it. Agitators like Michelle Fine, Regina Tuma, and the rest of the MCAS crowd weren’t being taken as seriously any more as their transparent political stunts started to be recognized for exactly what they were. We felt like we’d helped to expose some of the politics, and bring a bit more accountability and fact-i-ness to the debates here. Keeping the blog going took time away from our work and families, and we thought that with things looking up, and a better dialogue occurring, it was time for us to move on to other projects.

Unfortunately, we were wrong. Without anyone holding them to account for their actions, the MCAS crowd, the MEA, and their allies have been back with a particular vengeance.

These past few weeks have been painful for us to watch, and we feel in a way that as community members deeply devoted to our schools and concerned about the state of affairs there (and the political shenanigans around the schools), we’ve abdicated our responsibility a bit. We should have been here and active while our schools and school leaders were subjected to ongoing false attacks. We’re back, and ready to make up for it.

The resignations last week of our superintendent Penny MacCormack and of her assistant Matt Frankel put into clear focus what continues to be wrong with the politics around our schools and the thugs who are willing to go to any length to get their way. They’ll harass, bully and intimidate the public and public servants who stand up to them. They’ve got to be held accountable – not just by us but by our entire community.

Already, Michelle Fine, MCAS, AssessmentGate, and their allies are pushing a host of lies and misinformation about the school budget. In this debate, we believe that they’ve shown clearly to anyone genuinely interested in improving our schools that they aren’t honest brokers and they aren’t to be trusted for a second. We hope that ALL of the board members, our mayor, our city council, and everyone interested in these issues will take note of the lies they’re pushing to try and explain away the real responsibility for the budget. We’ll have much more detailed fact-checking and reporting on this in the coming days.

Montclair deserves a fair and balanced outlet for education news, and it’s unfortunate that our local press outlets – who often do provide excellent coverage – have thus far blindly repeated the antagonists’ claims about the budget, and failed to call them out for the liars and charlatans they are.

For those of you who contacted us in the last few weeks, asking us to return to posting – we’ve heard you loud and clear and we agree. We look forward to adding some accountability to these debates.

As always, if you have tips, thoughts you want to share, or information that you think it’s important to shed light on in our community, please shoot us an email at montclairschoolswatch@gmail.com. Anonymity guaranteed.

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