Complete transparency needed

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

After reading the article on the front page of the February 8 Valley Reporter, I was a little dismayed. There were only three Harwood staff members quoted in the article. Of these three staff members, two were classroom teachers. Both teachers spoke in favor of leaving the proficiency-based grading (PBG) in its present form.

The article referred to a survey that was sent to parents. Great concept, but the most controversial subject, PBG, was left out of the survey. Just another example of central office and Harwood administrators being “transparent.”

I was a science teacher at Harwood for 38 years. During my tenure, I was honored to be part of a strong, diverse and dynamic faculty. A sweeping change in the grading system would have sparked much discussion. I’m sure that not all of the current teachers would have supported this change.

I’m not totally surprised that all the teachers present at this meeting moderated by our superintendent were supportive of the present situation. During my tenure at Harwood there were over a dozen superintendents. Previous superintendents and administrators solicited opinions from all faculty with a strong opinion on either side of an issue.

This was not true during Brigid Nease’s tenure. The central office staff or HU administration did not solicit opposing logic. Faculty that agreed with the administration and superintendent were invited to attend special board or public meetings.

Even though the meetings are open to all, many of the teachers that had an opposing view were afraid to publicly oppose policies of the superintendent. There were teachers that vehemently opposed proposed policies in private but would not do so in the presence of the HU administration or superintendent.

It’d be good to hear from more faculty. Maybe teacher responses could be gathered anonymously so those that have an opposing view could avoid the fear of retribution.

It would also make sense to include questions about PBG on the survey sent to parents. This is the subject that weighs heaviest in the hearts and minds of most parents.

Central office and Harwood administrators have made a step in the right direction by gathering information from parents. It’d be best for all if they also evolve into having complete transparency in their communication with all members of the community.

John Kerrigan