by Doris Hohensee
Board President Heather Raymond conducted an illegal meeting asking for my resignation from the Nashua Board of Education. She admits that she spoke privately with the majority of members on the Board to obtain their vote, violating the Right to Know law.
Raymond proceeded to abuse her authority by sending out an official Board press release asking for my resignation, implying that a valid vote of the Board had actually taken place. How else could she have used Board stationery and signed as “President” of the Board?
This was immediately followed by a similar request from the superintendent and the teacher’s union president, who also knew that no valid Board vote had been held. They are all complicit in the Board President’s over-reach of authority.
They all agreed upon a narrative that I had endangered a student by “sharing” a public post written by the student. That student asked that her post be shared on other groups on Facebook. That is where I found it: on a political group on Facebook. Someone else had already shared the student’s public post.
When questions were asked of me about this shared post, I recommended that folks read the arguments that others had made on this issue, which were posted on the student’s Facebook post, or on the political Facebook page where I found her post.
I certainly did not release “private” student information by “sharing” her public post. Yet that is the allegation. The student herself gave her information to the public in the hope of reversing the board’s recent vote in favor of the JROTC marksmanship program. She contacted a correspondent at the Union Leader, who wrote an article which also named the student. This correspondent has not, and never will be, accused of violating the student’s privacy, nor will the other individuals who shared the student’s post, because that does not fit the Board majority’s and superintendent’s agreed-upon narrative.
The Board majority has made these false allegations in order to serve their narrative. They have proceeded to twist the facts and accuse me of inciting violence against this student, warranting police protection, because the student received both favorable and unfavorable comments on her public post, which was political in nature.
I never asked for a backlash against the student. In fact, I attempted to redirect someone else’s comment asking for a “heavy backlash,” to a discussion of the curriculum being used in the district which encourages student activism. I blame the district, not the student. But that does not fit the Board majority’s and superintendent’s agreed-upon narrative, so they omitted those facts.
“Under Social Emotional Learning programs now being used in our schools, EMOTIONS are elevated over logic and reason. [Student] fears will be acknowledged, and they will be thanked for their political activism, as Common Core trains students to be. There needs to be a backlash from rational parents and students, if they want reason to prevail on this issue.”
I recommended eliminating the current educational reforms used in the district. I did not recommend a backlash against any student.
In fact, I had previously posted a quote about “socialism” to highlight the danger of the new Social Emotional Learning program. By elevating emotion over logic, socialism undermines civilized society, demanding equal outcomes, which is quite different from the concept that “All men are created equal” before God and the law. The author I quoted wrote in opposition to socialism. He vehemently opposed Nazism, because it was socialist. The full name of the Nazi party was the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Any serious student of Nazism will tell you that it was a truly revolutionary and totalitarian philosophy that promoted and implemented radical and thorough-going collectivist change. Social Emotional Learning is a vehicle for doing exactly that.
“All men are created equal” before God and the law. That is not a call for compliance with the socialist demand for equality of outcomes. But equality of outcomes is the call of the Board majority and the superintendent. Providing an equal opportunity to get an education is fine, but equal opportunity does not guarantee equal outcomes. As we all know, motivation and aptitude have significant roles to play. Despite all the motivational strategies teachers use, and all the structural support provided for special needs students, the district cannot guarantee equality of outcome. That fact is evidently very frustrating for the Board majority and the superintendent. Their solution is to double down and ignore reality.
More and more educational programs are being implemented that demand equality of outcome. The district does not level elementary reading classes, for example, overburdening fifth-grade teachers with students who can read at anywhere from the kindergarten to 8th-grade level. No teacher can effectively help all these students improve their reading skills, let alone guarantee them equal outcomes when her time is sliced up between all the various skill levels. If non-leveling is beneficial to student progress, why is it not used for high school classes? How does it benefit students to be promoted when they fail to improve their reading skills? They end up unable to function at the next grade level, their self-esteem crashes as they realize their deficiency, and they become resentful and angry and abandon learning entirely.
The district has implemented competency-based grading to eliminate achievement “gaps,” i.e., to equalize outcomes. What this grading has done is penalize and bully top performing students (there are now 20% fewer “A”s under competency-based grading), calling them “grade grubbers” for trying to improve themselves, while rewarding lower performing students even when they fail to prepare for assessments, because they (but not the high performers) are allowed to re-take assessments any number of times Not a terrific motivator for hard work for either group.
Recently, there has been talk of removing class rank, because it is “too stressful” for certain students. Again, this undermines hard-working students, in a quixotic attempt to create an environment of equal outcomes.
My focus has been on the harm of promoting equality of outcomes. It has nothing to do with racial discrimination. Racism is the Board majority’s and superintendent’s issue. It is certainly not mine. If they were honest, they would admit the truth. I am, after all, the one who swung the two votes needed to hire the current superintendent, who is a person of color, and I myself voted for him. You will not hear about that from them, nor will you hear any gratitude from them, because it contradicts the false narrative they promote.
These people have no business being in public service. Rather than see the students in this district turned into the subjects of a giant behavior modification experiment, I call upon them to resign, and to make way for a Board and superintendent who actually want to get on with the people’s business.
Image: YouTube – Perspectives with Dave Schoneman