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SCHOOL DEPARTMENT REJECTS COUNCIL FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE’s INVITATION FOR ONE, JOIN BUDGET REVIEW … SCHOOLs’ SLAP-IN-THE-FACE RESPONSE DRIPS WITH DIVISIVENESS, ARROGANCE … EXCHANGE BETWEEN COUNCIL, SCHOOLS REVEALS OFFICIALS ONLY INTERESTED IN POLITICS, POWER PLAYS, WE-THE-PEOPLE BE DAMNED

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

First of a two-part series

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2013) — In January, councilor-at-large Barry

Councilor-at-Large BARRY CLAIRMONT

Clairmont sent and invitation to the Pittsfield School Department to attend the Feb. 27 meeting of the city council’s finance subcommittee (Jonathan Lothrop, chair; Melissa Mazzeo, Kevin Morandi, and Clairmont). Clairmont extended the invitation so that citizens, voters, and taxpayers might have a “one stop shopping’ experience in having the entire FY13 city budget reviewed as one — including the school department’s whopping 70% of the $133 million tab.

Makes perfect sense. As you know, there are two budgets: city side and school side. The consolidation makes perfect sense, but this is Pittsfield. Perfect sense rarely adds up.

Before we tell you of the school department’s reply to this reasonable and thoughtful invitation, THE PLANET offers six observations:

1. Neither the city council nor the mayor, for that matter, can order school department officials to attend such a meeting. The city charter makes it clear: the city shall be co-goverened by a mayor and council. The schools shall be ruled by a school board, which appoints a superintendent.

2. One would think the charter review committee would want to take a look at this divisive arrangement, which treats the schools as a separate branch of government. That has created an “us-them” relationship between what has long been referred to in Pittsfield as “city side” and “school side.” The division, more than any single factor, explains what happened in the wake if Clairmont’s seemingly progressive invitation.

3. Let it be noted that his colleagues on the subcommittee supported Clairmont’s initiative.

4. This municipal division has wasted countless dollars in duplication (two purchasing departments, two maintenance departments, etc.). it has continually hampered communications between the city and its most expensive department. It has led to the current state of affairs, where the PPS views itself as an independent kingdom, beyond the review of the people’s representatives.

PITTSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE

5. The Pittsfield School Committee, ostensibly We The People‘s safeguard over this type of academic autocracy, has in effect long been compromised. It has been reduced to a puppet of the academic oligarchy set up on the corner of First and Orchard streets. The school committee acts as accomplices in a theft rather than an independent watchdog over what has become robbery in the name of education, using “The Children” as human shields. Only one committeeman has spoken honestly and plainly about this situation. His name is Terry Kinnas.

6. For citizens who do not have children in the public schools but who nonetheless have to pay $15,000 per pupil per year  amount for services they themselves do not consume, the idea of a single budget review instead of two separate ones makes a ton of sense. Why should these citizens have to be electronically tortured by watching one of the painful school committee meetings on TV in order to see what’s happening with the school budget?

Guess What: The School Department Didn’t Show (We Know, You’re Shocked)

As you can read in the subhead, the School Department declined Clairmont’s invitation. Anyone who knows Pittsfield politics would have predicted as much. Why should THE PLANET or anyone else, for that matter, expect anything but arrogance from the school-side wastrels, who want taxpayer dollars without having to worry about any meaningful accountability.

Instead of replying directly to Clairmont’s invitation, Rosemarie Blake, recording secretary for the Pittsfield Public Schools, sent Clairmont the following letter. THE PLANET obtained a copy of this letter through sources. It is published for the first time here. One other thing, a mystery. Although the letter is dated Jan. 31, the council subcommittee didn’t receive it until Feb. 14, according to sources. Pony Express isn’t what it used to be.

—– 00 —–

January 31, 2013

Dear Councilor Clairmont

The Pittsfield School Committee voted on January 23, 2013 [this is after Clairmont's invivation] to support Dr. Noseworthy to extend an invitation to the City Council Finance Subcommittee to attend the March 13 School Committee meeting and jointly participate with the School Committee when reviewing Assistant Superintendent Behnke’s 2013 Fiscal Budget Presentation.

The Pittsfield School Committee respectfully requests that if you have any real delineated complicated [sic, requires commas for serial adjectives] questions that you provide them to Dr. Noseworthy of Ms. Behnke a week early to allow her to do the diligence research on your questions.

Sincerely,

Rosemarie Blake

cc: City Clerk Linda Tyer

 —– 00 —–

It’s a damning letter not for what it says but for what it illustrates. Allow THE PLANET to translate.

a.) It’s indicatively damning that interim Supt. Gordon Noseworthy chose not to reply directly to Clairmont and the finance subcommittee. This sets the appropriate, lordly, “It’s beneath us” tone. Would it have ruined some vast, eternal plan for Noseworthy to have composed a reply and sent it himself, as an e-mail? Is the interim super that pressed to time?

b.) This letter illustrates — far better than anything we could say or write — the imperious, bumptious nature of the school department. This battle is all about turf and control. The school department doesn’t want to appear to be going to the representatives of We The People. It wants Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, through their direct reps on the finance subcommittee, to come crawling to them, “mountain to Mohammed” style. This demonstrates that our Right Honorable Good Friends on the subcommittee have taken the high road here. They come off more interested in the common good than about the petty politics of who comes to whom.

c.) Notice Blake’s neatly ominous last paragraph, which speaks of “real delineated complicated [sic] questions” the subcommittee might have. What one earth can that adjectival trifecta mean? What is a “real” question. What is a “delineated” question. What is a “complicated” question — to say nothing of a “real delineated complicated question.” This would be funny in its embarrassment, except we are talking $90+ million of taxpayer money. Does this straight-jacketed phrase suggest that the subcommittee, should it accept the invitation, should ask only unreal, ill-defined, and simplistic questions? Is this another way for the School Department to tell the councilors, “Don’t ask anything hot or controversial. Keep the pitching to softballs and lilac water.”

d.) By turning the tables on Clairmont, rejecting the subcommittees invitation and extending an invitation of its own, the school department creates a “heads we win, tales they lose” situation. If Clairmont and the subcommittee accept, which they have, they have been politically defeated (see item [e.]). if they didn’t accept, the school depeartment could say, “See, we wanted a joint review, but they refused.”

e.) Accepting the school department’s invitation is a political defeat because of the way it ignores the intent and purpose of Clairmont’s invitation. The idea of having the schools meet with the finance subcommittee was to provide “one-stop shopping” for time-crunched citizens. The school department’s idea would still have two separate meetings, literally on their turf.

f.) Though it is a political defeat for the council, it represents a fiscal victory for taxpayers. THE PLANET loves the idea of the council inserting itself into the line item debate over school money. Come budget time, the mayor and council will have to submit and approve a bottom line figure for the schools. The more line item review by the council, the better than chances for taxpayers of saving some money.

g.) Incidentally, sources tell us that the finance subcommittee has accepted the invitation of the school department. It will be appearing at the March 13 meeting.

The Subcommittee’s Invitation is a 2012-13 Council Highlight

Clairmont’s proactive invitation to the schools will stand as one of the highlights of the 2012-13 council term. Even if Clairmont’s intention was political (that is, sending the invite knowing the school department wouldn’t accept), it nonetheless helps citizens and voters better understand from where the schools are coming. They are coming at the budget (this year’s and next) not with the attitude of community building but with defiant self-preservation.

They aim to preserve their Kingdom.

They aim to keep We The People from meaningful oversight, achieved mainly through a compliant set of administrative captains and lieutenants but mainly through a roll-and-play-dead school committee.

The schools stand alone as Pittsfield most jaundiced department. Godspeed to the incoming superintendent and efforts such as Clairmont’s to try to keep the bums honest. As we shall see tomorrow, there’s big bucks on the line.

Tomorrow, we conclude this series with part two, including publishing of heretofore unpublished correspondence between the interim school superintendent and the chairman of the city council finance subcommittee.

————————————————————————-

“I stepped from Plank to Plank / A slow and cautious way / The Stars about my Head I felt / About my Feet the Sea. // I knew not but the next / Would be my final inch — / This gave me that precarious gait / Some call Experience.”Emily Dickenson

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

67 Responses to “SCHOOL DEPARTMENT REJECTS COUNCIL FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE’s INVITATION FOR ONE, JOIN BUDGET REVIEW … SCHOOLs’ SLAP-IN-THE-FACE RESPONSE DRIPS WITH DIVISIVENESS, ARROGANCE … EXCHANGE BETWEEN COUNCIL, SCHOOLS REVEALS OFFICIALS ONLY INTERESTED IN POLITICS, POWER PLAYS, WE-THE-PEOPLE BE DAMNED”

  1. dusty
    March 7, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    I have not been a fan of Clairmont. But if he is serious in pursuing better fiscal management of the school department I could become a big fan. The city needs a whip to tackle runaway costs with this department and if he wants to be loved by all he will do this in the dogged manner he seems to capable of.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      DUSTY
      As you know, Barry and I got off to a rough start, but we kept open minds with respect to each other. I think Barry IS serious about the finances. He’s done excellent work on behalf of taxspayers in that respect.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    March 7, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    The hope and change Obama background has such a nice touch to it.

  3. FPR
    March 7, 2013 at 5:28 am #

    I still maintain that parents should teach their own children. The entire school department should be disbanded and all the entire school system should be shut down. Save the taxpayers 70% of their tax money in one fell swoop. The education of the children should never have placed in the hands of the state to begin with.

    It will happen anyway when the US dollar collapses to zero. No one will be teaching, busing, or raising “the children” when the money is worthless. No social security checks in the mail, no welfare, no food stamps etc. – it will all come to a screeching halt.

    • The Kraken
      March 7, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      FPR,
      You are forgetting one important thing: the vast majority of parents do not have the skillset, aptitude, or time to teach their own children. That is why teachers and schools have to educate our kids.

      • Wilson
        March 7, 2013 at 10:09 am #

        Online education made schools obsolete years ago. They are just job programs now for “unions”

        • The Kraken
          March 8, 2013 at 7:17 am #

          Yeah, I’ll have my 5 year old take an online education course and see how that goes.
          I’ve taken plenty of online courses myself. They pale in comparison to real classrooms with real instructors.
          But I do agree the unions have had a significantly negative affect on public education. If I had more days off than days I worked, like teachers do, my company would surely let me go.

      • FPR
        March 7, 2013 at 10:26 am #

        True. However, dont-cha think that if you cut people’s taxes by 70% it might free up a little more time from work? You can teach a kid in a couple hours at home what it takes a school an entire day to do.

        Single parents and are others with special needs – community or neighborhood based classes can be formed. Those who don’t have children can help teach those who do. You can’t teach someone something unless you learn it yourself, so parents would also have knowledge and keep it sharp.

        There are a whole world of answers that are not even thought of under the present system of things.

        • Scott
          March 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

          People should try a little bit of everything to see what works in regards to education. One thing is for sure yo can not trust the public school system to teach your ids everything. My son has had religious as well as public education and we always do learning based activities at home. With the baby we’re gonna give it a go for the first few years and tech her at home. We have the resources and ambition that most working class people don’t have the luxury to do. With that said a public school education can be taken advantage of if you stay involved and aware with what is going on. The importance of education in general should be instilled and the although you need to take on that responsibility as a parent it’s not a bad idea to put expectations and responsibility on the child to strive for academic excellence.

          • danvalenti
            March 8, 2013 at 9:52 am #

            SCOTT
            Yes, we agree. Borrow the best “Best Practices,” which is what the private sector does to stay profitable.

        • Relax
          March 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

          Home schooling is one of the worst ideas to come down the pike since the Edsel. Most parents know little about education, and their children need the environment of the school so they can learn to deal with people different from them. And, homeschooling is more about the parents and their crazy views and their desire to make their children carbon copies of them than it is about trying to give their kids a better education.

          • Joe Blow
            March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

            When you say crazy views you’re really saying conservative views…right?

          • in the know
            March 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

            Relax Great Reply!

          • Joe Pinhead
            March 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

            Relax, please define your term “a better education” maybe they are attempting to give their child a better education via home schooling? The child can be exposed to people different then them in so many places besides school. The public schools scream diversity but fail to truly practice it.
            To many who are in the know fail to recognise how little they truly know. Please do tell each of us what are child’s hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations are. Then tell us how a public education system can guide them towards the goal better than the parents. Please explain to me in real terms how it is possible that the education system we know today didn’t exist but the pupils from the turn of the century until the mid 50′s accomplished so much. I mean with out sex education, without half days, teacher workshops, and all the other trappings of the modern educational system.
            Is it possible that parents are fed up with the system that is supposed to serve them does not so they opt out? If home schooling is bad what are the schools doing to serve those that do opt out? I mean besides ridicule and demean them? Finally how can we or how should we hold the educational establishment accountable for outcome? Until we can I hope everyone gives home schooling a good look and decides based upon all factors what works best for them in helping their child attain there dreams.
            Please help me understand this last thought. A women at any age is wise enough to decide if a pregnancy or more aptly a fetus should be terminated or not is somehow not wise enough some years later to decide how best to educate that child?

            Just askin

          • Scott
            March 7, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

            I agree in some instances that’s why I say a healthy combination of learning environments and encouragement to academic excellence is crucial. We don’t want carbon copies. I want free thinkers personally. I even want them to question my views. To me any scenario is healthy life is about experience, exposure and our minds interpretation. With a solid family foundation your kids can go anywhere they want. They need to know they rule and the sky is the limit!

          • Relax
            March 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

            Most parents know next to nothing about education unless they are educators themselves. And, why on earth would you think you know the first thing about how to properly socialize your children in the absence of other children? Children being with other children their age is critical for their development. Home schooling is arrogant and myopic. For goodness’ sake, most people don’t even know how to add fractions, let alone teach algebra, geometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, evolution, etc.

            I just laugh at these poseurs who think they have any idea what they’re talking about.

          • FPR
            March 8, 2013 at 3:33 am #

            So relax, what you are saying is parents who graduated, never learned these subjects themselves.

            You just laugh at people who want to raise and teach their children? Your arrogance knows no bounds.

            You reek of GOB.

            You think its better to hand off your kids to the state for their education? I wholeheartedly disagree. They will brainwash your kids. Discipline them. Give them psychotropic drugs to control them. Make everyone pay for it using 70% of their tax dollars to accomplish this. Even those who do not have any children. How Communistic of you.

            No matter though, because the time is coming when this entire system will collapse in on itself due to its own weight. People can only be taxed so much. You would have them work all the way into their graves or else take away their property to make them pay for such an inefficient school system.

            Quite frankly, you disgust me.

          • Joe Pinhead
            March 8, 2013 at 7:24 am #

            Relax,
            Your statements only further prove the need for and the rising popularity of home schooling. In your words “For goodness’ sake, most people don’t even know how to add fractions,” would you cede the point that most parents are products of a public education system? Would you agree most have a diploma from that system indicating that they have in fact completed the requirements to earn a diploma and have demonstrated the minimum proficiency in core academic areas? Or are you saying parents cannot educate their children based upon the fact that they have graduated from a public school system and are therefore unqualified and unable to teach fractions? What does your statement say about the current state of the public education system? If by your own admission the school system is not putting out a product capable of adding fractions then is it also fair to state they are putting out a product not capable of performing in the workforce? The question of an educator regarding the work product is a simple one Have I and the system prepared this person to be in a position to take my place? You’ve answered no.
            Socialization is a whole different beast; the system desires to have children interacting with children of different colors, not mindsets and experiences. The system wants no one to pass judgment on another’s behavior and no one should question another’s actions or behaviors. I think it was Teddy Roosevelt that said “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” I am comfortable in saying the current system is lacking in moral education and the enforcement of the code of conduct it has developed and adopted. How many children is the system currently feeding psychotropic drugs to on a daily basis? What are the long term effects of those drugs? Or does it not matter as long as they are drugged enough to keep quiet so staff and administration don’t need to deal with them?
            Just out of curiosity what is the current percentage of teachers in the Pittsfield School system that find alternate methods (home school, religious, charter etc) of education for their children?
            The amazing part of this whole discussion is your admission of the failures of the school system, now I ask have you stood up and said in a professional forum that the system is putting out a work product not capable of adding fractions? If not and you know that fact to be true you are doing a disservice to the children, the tax payers and your profession. I guess its ok as long as the paychecks and kool-aid keep coming.
            just sayin

          • FPR
            March 8, 2013 at 7:52 am #

            Joe — excellent! I agree 100%. (is that a fraction?)

          • Payroll Patroit
            March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am #

            The state of Mass had 40 kids killed in 2011 that were under their control. From page news in Boston on Jan 21, 2013. The director of the Department of Children and Families just resigned. 11 deaths from medical, seven from suicide, one in a car crash, five were gunned down, and ” 12 babies – some sleeping in aduld’s bed- who were deemed victums of suddens and unexpected infant deaths according the alarming report” Boston Hearld. This state has problems, were the state workers schooled at home or in a public school?

          • danvalenti
            March 8, 2013 at 9:51 am #

            ITK
            Home schooling can and does work, but, of course, not in all instances. It’s not for everyone. Another solution besides public school reform is privatizing education. “For profit” is a model to be examined.

  4. Still wondering
    March 7, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Yes Ron, I was impressed by the Obama poster too. A Chicago gangster watching the local ones.

  5. bobbyd
    March 7, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Other issues aside, nit picking grammar and mechanics is a pet peeve of mine. To your credit, you do address the substance of the response.

    That being said, how certain are you that the word “delineated” is an adjective modifying the plural noun “questions” rather than an adverb modifying the adjective “complicated”?

    • Dave
      March 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      I used to have a pet peeve too bobbyd, but he got run over by the gravy train that now rules this town!

  6. Pat
    March 7, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    The people who are lucky enough to actually have a job right now are being worked into an early grave (at least many of them are) because they are doing the job that 3 or 4 people used to do. Companies have learned to run leaner and meaner and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. People in the country are just beginning to realize this in the past few years, but for those of us in Berkshire County this situation has been our way of life for a long time.

    I think the job situation here in the Berkshires and in the country needs some big changes in order to insure full employment for those who really want to work.

    • Scott
      March 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      I feel guilt with my thankfulness I make good money and have “supermodel hours” as my wife says!

  7. Ron Kitterman
    March 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    That is a pathetic response for sure, the conversation had to come though, maybe between the Mayor and the new Superintendent ? They need to talk about so called cutting the rate of growth or God forbid cuts in spending .

  8. Scott
    March 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    @ joepinhead I agree with you too if you have the ambition and resources to home school children to be free thinkers and excel all the power to you. I was handed a folder with stuff my kid should have learned his first year of school to do over the summer to prepare for fist grade it finally dawned on me it was my responsibility to give my children the tools to learn and that the burden was too much for a over funded public institution to take on with out my involvement. Life is about balance after all.

  9. Relax
    March 8, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    FPR and Joe Pinehead strike me as riders upon the Ron and Rand Paul meat wagon. You facile indictment of an imagined, conspiratorial system is as laughable as it is dangerous.

    You two gentlemen miss the point entirely: the solution is not to isolate your children in your home and preach to them as if they were hostages to their parental kidnappers. The solution is level funding for public schools, significant parental involvement in their children’s education (prioritizing homework, self study, reading), but affording their kids opportunities to be with their peers. It is only in this environment that children learn to become responsible adults, and are able to compete in a growing global economy.

    Moreover, it is highly unlikely that either of you possess the competence to teach subjects like composition, calculus, physics, chemistry, geometry. etc. First, your analyticial skills are appallingly bad, and your grammar and punctuation aren’t far behind. Second, your casual references to children being on psychotropic drugs completely disregard the obvious fact that the parents of these children allow the taking of these drugs in the first place. Next, I’ll be hearing that we shouldn’t vaccinate our children because of these phony links to autism.

    Your attitudes scare me, and all other fair minded people.

    • danvalenti
      March 8, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      RELAX
      Well, I have taught composition at the college level since 1977. Now to you being scared, a suggestion: Try to rise above your fears by opening your mind to reason, logic, and argument. It works, you know.

      • Relax
        March 8, 2013 at 10:00 am #

        Dan,

        BCC isn’t exactly the cream of the crop, is it? Aren’t you a bit tired of teaching kids the differences between there, they’re, and their?

        And, people like FPR and Joe Pinhead, with their chicken little routine, abominable lack of coherent thought, and penchant for fearmongering, are precisely the type of people who add nothing to the discussion but paranoia and sophomoric nonsense.

        There is nothing logical about their argument. It is mere reactionary prattle, written by people who may have read a chapter of Orwell 20 years ago, but never understood it.

        • Scott
          March 8, 2013 at 11:05 am #

          I think we could debate this a little more civilly don’t you think “relax”? While I agree on some of everyone’s points I disagree on others. Like for instance the the social experience which is a factor in our decision to do the first few years of home school as we have access to other children for that outside social learning experience. As I have pointed out before I see value in all education options and the parental involvement is key even you admit that. “Joe pinhead” made a very valid point I would like to hear you acknowledge and respond. The point was if a public schooled parent who passed and received a diploma and maybe even did college isn’t equipped to educate their own kids then what does that say about the system you have obviously been dedicated to and believe in???? Lot’s of people misuse homophones and can’t do basic math. I would imagine anyone home schooling would be well versed in those areas. I know I’m confident I can do not only a good job but a better one for k-12 but I will most likely just do the beginning years and then utilize either private or a public in one of our smaller towns def not Pittsfield I would never send my kids to a Pittsfield school. also to call someone names due to an individual choice we are all free to make is childish and myopic in itself. You would be better served by making valued points for the pros as opposed to cons of public education. You only deepen people’s paranoia and beliefs when you resort to vilifying their core beliefs.

          • Relax
            March 8, 2013 at 11:34 am #

            Scott:

            FPR referred to me as a communist and said I disgust him simply because I question the efficacy of home schooling. Well mannered he is not.

            Joe Pinehead has villified Dan for Dan’s comment about soldiers serving in Afghanistan, and is given to conspiratorial flights of fancy in nearly all his posts.

            And, why this blaming of the system instead of the person in the system? Some people simply cannot learn as well as other people. And, simply because a significant majority of public school graduates require remedial training after high school (a phenomenon Dan is acutely aware of through his work at BCC) does not mean that home schooling is the answer. While I consider myself qualified to teach my children a myriad of subjects, I’m not arrogant enough to believe I am a good teacher. Nor would I deny my children the opportunities for them to make friendships with their piers, play school sports, go on field trips, learn music, take art classes, etc. Those experiences are lost when children are home schooled. Education is far more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.

            Indeed, home schooling is fundamentally a narcissistic exercise, fueled by parents’ uninformed fears of the “system” they know little of, and a misguided belief in their own teaching abilities. In the end, it’s more about the parents and their egos than it is about looking out for their children’s welfare.

            And, not everyone’s core beliefs deserve respect simply because they’re core beliefs. For example, Mormons believe that Jesus Christ came to America to visit with Joseph Smith. That is just completely nuts. As is the belief that the United States is about to become the Weimar Republic, and that we therefore need to scrap the public education system entirely, herd our children into private, for-profit institutions, and re-educate them. It’s all so much infantile pablum.

          • Joe Pinhead
            March 8, 2013 at 11:52 am #

            Scott, it is a long tried and sometimes effective technique to beat the messenger if you can’t defend your message. I respect this forum to much and appreciate it thus I refuse to turn it into a topix via name calling. I find it ironic that one point made is to expose children to different view points but to demean an entire segment of the population. I can only wonder what is meant by exposing children to diverse social experiences. Simply serving green tea and displaying a kimono is not exposing one to the Japanese culture and society.
            I was not aware our posts were going to be graded, due in part to someone some where who was educated out of the Pittsfield public school system I am able to type this on a phone from a parking lot and send it via the web. I suppose I can run it through spell checker and language correction / usage but really now.
            Besides I was told there they’re their would be no math today.
            Scott I would also like to say I admire your research into and the thought you have put into how your child will be and should be educated. Kudos
            FPR I r knot bee qualified to knowed if 100% is a fraction or knot. I think its have of something though

        • danvalenti
          March 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

          RELAX
          I was waiting for a remark of that sort! As a matter of fact, BCC is ranked as one of the top two-year colleges in the country. The English and Nursing departments have national reputations for quality, as we have gotten out students in as transfers to Harvard, Williams, Yale, Syracuse, and the like. Also, for the record, we started out teaching at LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY. Look it up. It, too, has a stellar reputation. And no, I am not a bit tired about teaching developing writers about homonyms and many other aspects of composition. The day I DO get tired is the day I retire. We also have a differing view of “people like” Joe P and FPR. They add a great deal to the discussion. You do not agree with their points, and you make the illogical statement that there’s “nothing logical about their argument.” If you wish to discuss Orwell with me, by the way, I would love to. I presume you understood him those 20 years ago.

      • Scott
        March 8, 2013 at 11:07 am #

        Dan I think it’s great you teach at BCC the students are lucky to have a teacher of your skill set. You’re a true poet and a master of words even if I don’t agree with everything you say you def have something to offer as a teacher in your respective field.

  10. Scott
    March 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    “Relax” It maybe a little paranoid but not so much unrealistic to understand that gov’t can’t be trusted and that some aspects of exposure through public education are unsavory and damaging. I had a customer who home schooled her kids all through school and they became part of the drug culture anyways. Someone who has the time and resources to home school is wonderful and as long as it’s done correctly you can net positive results it comes down to a personal choice and anyone who makes that choice deserves to have it respected. If you believe in public education and don’t feel comfortable teaching you kids at home then that is your choice as well. I didn’t see the communist comments I’ll try and keep up next time.

  11. Scott
    March 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Joe 100% would be a whole number. (I think…) I know it gets frustrating sometimes to have an internet comment scrutinized for grammar and punctuation. It’s a waste of time and does nothing to further the conversation. I went to PPS too! I too think the gov’t is overstepping it’s boundaries and gov’t on all levels needs serious budget reform especially education.

  12. Joe Pinhead
    March 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Scott,
    I do not understand the comments made by relax they are blatantly false, he states all these conspiracy theories but spews out false information. The fact of the matter is if you decide to home school your child they can participate in sports and other programs. Some 24 states allow and encourage home school student participation in all sorts of areas.
    Why would one bother to become informed when we can all just listen to relax and others who actually know very little about it but fear it because they fear opening their minds even more.
    Please read the case law and Legislation portions
    http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/MA/default.asp

    just sayin

    • Relax
      March 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      I am well aware of the legislation, Joe. I simply consider it a bad idea. The home-schooled children I’ve met are generally poorly adjusted and not curious about the world. And, their parents are typically creepy, intelligent-design nuts, gluten-free diet devotees, or other manner of whacked-out, self-indulgent fools.

      • Joe Pinhead
        March 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

        Relax,
        Now I am completely confused please help me, you state you are well aware of the legislation allowing home schooled children to join in the public school reindeer games, but a few posts up you claim the children are not well adjusted due in part to the inability to play school sports.
        I can assure you I do not fit into the groups you mention either the tea party or the “creepy, intelligent-design nuts, gluten-free diet devotees, or other manner of whacked-out, self-indulgent fools.”
        I also failed to see where I vilified Dan for his position regarding troops in Afghanistan either, but you like those “creepy, intelligent-design nuts, gluten-free diet devotees, or other manner of whacked-out, self-indulgent fools.” are entitled to your views.

        just sayin (grammer for effect)

        • Relax
          March 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

          They are not well adjusted because the majority of home-schooled children do not participate in those activities, despite their entitlement to them.

          And, I recall you where all dandered up because Dan referred to the troops as dupes and “non heroes.”

          Moreover, the HSLDA is a proselytizing group, eager to make good little christian soldiers out these home-schooled kids.

          And, the word is spelled “grammar,” not “grammer.” Just sayin’…

    • Relax
      March 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

      And, Joe does not point out that the HSLDA, a legal defense fund for home-schoolers, is a Christian organization. The problem with these organizations, though they profess to be ecumenical, is that they are staffed by religious zealots who seek out families who are not at all well versed with how rigorous an academic curriculum should be, and the HSLDA peppers the curriculum with questionable theology and doctrinaire statements to make good little evagencials out of the children.

      • Scott
        March 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

        Relax you are RIGHT! But guess what it’s a parents choice to send a child to a religions private school. Religious indoctrination and public education indoctrination have similarities and equal possible negative results.

    • Scott
      March 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks Joe I know this I have dabbled in all aspects and options available to me to give my kids what I feel is best for them and meets their needs. Everyone should not only have that right but it should be an obvious responsibility.

  13. Relax
    March 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    You were all dandered up.

  14. Joe Pinhead
    March 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Relax,
    I still don’t recall when I was all dandered up as you say but that’s ok.
    Please tell me if home schooled children are in part not well adjusted because they don’t join in the reindeer games can the same claim be made for those who don’t play on a team that attend public school? What happened to your exposing of children to various different social experiences?
    In your words we have “creepy, intelligent-design nuts, gluten-free diet devotees, or other manner of whacked-out, self-indulgent fools.” Followed by “religious zealots” so why would I want a child socializing at a school where these people send their children?
    In reality I was looking for the case law Perchemlides v. Frizzle (1978) and the site you refer to as being from the zealots popped up first. I have no issue with it but since you do I will post a different link.
    http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/library/primary-sources/perchemlides-v-frizzle-1978

    just sayin (grammEr still for effect)

    • Relax
      March 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Yes, Joe. All that case stands for is the right of parents to educate their kids at home, subject to approval of an education plan by the local school system. I’ve never said that right doesn’t exist.

      But, kids deserve all sorts of socialization opportunities: sports, clubs, music, art, drama, writing. They simply do not get these chances if they’re kept home. Home schooling is selfish and does the child a profound disservice.

      • Joe Pinhead
        March 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

        Relax,
        The simple point is the one size fits all solution no longer (if it ever did) works. I will cede you that some parents do a poor job of home schooling; some parents do a terrific job at it as well. From those parents that do home school and do a great job we can and should learn. I dare say that if every parent was as involved in their child’s education as those that do a great job at home schooling we would be in a much better place. We all need to look at it from a different view point; those that desire to home school are not all tea partiers, religious zealots, creepy intelligent design nuts, gluten-free dieters or conspiracy theorists. Is it all possible some feel as if we have an obligation to question, to probe and do whatever to make the place or the system just a little bit better? At the end of the day we are charged with making things better than we found them.

        Thanks for the exchange

        just sayin (you know)

  15. FPR
    March 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Jesus Christ himself was “home schooled”. He didn’t attend Pittsfield Public schools. His father (Joseph) taught him to be a carpenter. With no power tools even.

    He wasn’t given any psychotropic drugs to make him docile and behave. He wasn’t given any immunizations. His parents kept him home and taught him everything they knew.

    Do you think Jesus Christ grew up to be a “well adjusted” adult?

    He even started his own religion.

    When he went into the temple and overturned the tables of the “money changers” did that “scare” you? Did his anger toward that system of things strike you as riders upon the Ron and Rand Paul meat wagon? Obviously the powers in existence back then felt he was dangerous also because they crucified him for his beliefs.

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      FPR-Awesome! Dan we need a like button on this blog

    • Relax
      March 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      And that religion is responsible for untold death and destruction around the world. Jesus is as much a myth as Mithra, Osiris, and various other prior gods who died and were resurrected.

      What did Jesus say?

      Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34–39 NASB)

      Do you consider this well adjusted and peaceful?

      • Scott
        March 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

        The meaning of that is to keep you in tune to the teachings of Jesus regardless of in the event that people in your family may stray from the path of God. You’re taking the verse too literal.

        • Relax
          March 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

          You’re not reading the verse at all. You’re ignoring its miltaristic aspects to suit your purposes. The Gospel of Luke reports Jesus saying this:

          “I say to you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. As for my enemies who do not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence” Luke 19:26-27

          What sort of teaching is that?

          • danvalenti
            March 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

            RELAX
            I’m surprised that you would resort to the oldest trick in the book pertaining to the Holy Bible, which is to cherry pick sections out of context to “prove” a point. One must understand a book like this in a more complete, non-contextual sense. And you know what, when you do that, the apparent “contradictory” saying of Jesus remain. I thank you for your participation in this discussion.

      • FPR
        March 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

        Well Relax, needless to say that you are not preparing for the economic collapse that is coming primarily because you refuse to acknowledge the reality of it. Even more important is the fact that you have no hope at salvation.

        Saying the Jesus is a myth and rejecting him means that his ransom sacrifice has no benefit to you. You are certainly free to believe whatever you like.

        I doubt I would ever find any common ground with you as I am diametrically opposed to everything you stand for. However, I do defend your right to say whatever you’d like to say.

        • Relax
          March 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

          Well, did Jesus really sacrifice anything since it was God’s plan for him to die on the cross after all? Did Jesus have any choice in the matter?

          And, there is no coming economic collapse. Inflation is near zero at the moment. The US is not a Weimar Republic. Arguments saying it is are laughable.

          • FPR
            March 9, 2013 at 3:48 am #

            Yes Relax, it was God’s purpose that Jesus die, however, he did have a choice. He was a full blooded man. He said “let not my will but yours be done”. Giving his life freely, he bought back what Adam had lost for all of mankind. All of the gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, Federal Reserve notes and derivatives in existence could not even come close to the value of what Jesus did.

            You can go ahead and laugh at the probability of an economic collapse but time will tell. The US dollar will soon show its true value.

          • Relax
            March 9, 2013 at 11:17 am #

            Of course you would believe that Adam actually existed, but I suppose that’s what home schoolers spoonfeed to impressionable minds.

            You sound like a doomsday prepper, FPR. You must have MREs and a stockpile of weapons at the ready.

          • FPR
            March 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

            What on earth is a doomsday prepper?

  16. Scott
    March 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    “Joe Pinhead” and “FPR” You guys know what you’re talking about. “Relax” seems for big gov’t and control as if “they” know what’s best for your children over you. This is the big gov’t mentality they think we need them to tell us how to live and raise children because we are too stupid to do it on our own. You will see more charter schools popping up people are getting fed up with bloated budgets and poor results.

    • Scott
      March 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      FYI there is a local group of home school moms who get together at the Pittsfield library to communicate and share curriculum as well as giving the children that social experiences we agree is important and valuable. I believe they do lessons with them there as well. I remember that reading booth there in the children section it seems smaller than I remember it…

    • FPR
      March 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      Thanks Scott. I appreciate your balanced reasoning and enjoy your comments.

  17. Gene
    March 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    IT’s been an interesting discussion among Scott, Joe P, and Relax. I’ve sat back and tried to be neutral. I am more swayed by more of the point made by Scott and Joe. Nothing personal, Relax. In fact I thank you for a stimulating community discussion.

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Gene, Scott, FPR and Relax, in the end isn’t it about the exchange of ideas and ideals? I don’t understand the name calling and tried to remain a mature adult without putting down anyone’s thoughts, or beliefs. Dan thanks for this forum and a place where ideas and thoughts can be discussed. Relax I mean this in the best way possible trust me, I asked many questions few if any you answered instead you peppered your responses with disparaging remarks.
      I am not a conspiracy theorist however I have seen first hand the evil man can and does inflict on and upon each other and not always in the name of religion, many times in the name of “the greater good”. I am not certain if noticed or not I used the Japanese culture as an example. Recently the anniversary of the start of the interment went by largely unknown and untold. Bear in mind many lost property, all lost time, and sadly many of us have lost the significance of this event done in our name for “the greater good” with out trial with out reason and with out thought. No I am not a doomsday prepper as you claim, do I have MRE’s and other provisions on hand? After seeing how the government responded in the last couple of storms ( Sandy and Katrina ) you might want to stash a cracker or 2 away for a rainy day.

      Just sayin