Warning: This post contains profanity.
The emails detailing Michelle Fine’s manipulation and politics in Montclair have been extremely revealing. For instance, they’ve exposed MCAS activist and Fine ally Regina Tuma as the person behind the AssessmentGate blog and leaks. They’ve highlighted Fine’s close strategic coordination with the NJEA and MEA. And they have also showed David Cummings working with Fine to attack district employees (including the superintendent) – a clear violation of the regulations surrounding the job he’s supposed to be doing on the board.
But what comes through even more sharply in the emails is the pettiness, vindictiveness, and just downright nastiness that has defined her political crusade. It also exposes the general disrespect she has for the community and the people that are a part of it.
Take, for instance, this exchange between Fine and the UFT’s Maia Davis in which Fine writes that she loves “torturing penny and david” and “I like sticking to [David] deutsch and penny [McCormack].” Her email exposes her as someone who’s much more focused on attacking people she hates than thinking about the best interests of the kids in Montclair – which she clearly isn’t doing at this point, at all.
Unfortunately, that email is pretty much par for the course in terms of her tone and thinking. And in fact, it only gets worse from there. In an email exchange during a board meeting in November between Assessmentgate/Regina Tuma and Fine, they seemed thrilled at a board of education meeting devolving into disorder. Tuma emailed: “OMGGGG. A public lashing. Good!!!” A few back-and-forth emails later, Fine responded: “Now she is sucking our dicks!!” Presumably, that distasteful email was a reference to McCormack, and it says everything we need to know about the general disdain and lack of respect Fine and MCAS have, and the personal, vitriolic focus of the campaign MCAS has been waging.
Those board members who have allowed themselves to be associated with Fine and MCAS (specifically, Anne Mernin and Jessica de Koninck) should be embarrassed and ashamed by this, and ought to step up and condemn Fine and her vitriolic personal campaign immediately. They certainly shouldn’t be associated with any more of her or MCAS’s events. We’d add Cummings to that list, but he’s betrayed himself as being as bad as her – and given his conduct he clearly shouldn’t be on the board at this point. The Mayor should do the right thing and force his resignation.
This particularly unhinged exchange from October between Fine and Maia Davis exposes more of the same – “we need to shut these f****rs down”, calling the board’s leadership totalitarian, etc. Imagine the outrage of trying to have some diversity of voices during a meeting…
There’s plenty more where these came from and they’re deeply telling about the priorities and tactics that Fine and MCAS have used. They aren’t focused on improving education for kids. In fact, the whole education debate is a bit of an afterthought for them. Instead, it’s all about advancing their political agenda and settling personal scores, which they’ve done by injecting intense vitriolic attacks into the process. It’s time for our town’s leadership and our school board to stop tolerating these kinds of tactics.