(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, NOV. 6, 2017) — Going back to our grammar school days, THE PLANET has long loved education and learning. This includes the self-taught and acquired kind, which — if you think about it — is the only kind of authentic learning.

Our formal academic background consists of nine years of private grammar school, one year at a private high school, three years at a public high school, two and a half years at a public college, two and a half years at a private college, and two years at a private university, graduate school. It totals three diplomas, one certification, and three college degrees: 14.5 years privately taught, 5.5 years in the public way. We have learned that education is the way up and out, a message we have passionately preached, pushed, and proselytized in hundreds of college courses to thousands of students going back to fall semester, 1977, at LeMoyne College.

There, this newly minted adjunct professor of English barely older than his students faced a senior-level classroom of men and women taking our course in expository writing. Today, these many years later, The Ol’ Professor still loves entering a classroom, eager, excited, and enthused at the opportunity of helping to ignite a spark that will foster an explosion that leads to a realization, namely, that education and learning provide the fuel to the most satisfying journey of life, that of self-actualization, a main component of which is to understand that “happiness” and “success” are but inaccurate synonyms for the much-more attainable human state of “fulfillment.”

“Happiness” comes only as occasional oases in the journey through life and its “veil of tears.” As for “success,” it, like “failure,” can only be self-defined, individual visions that can be seen only in the most sacred, sacrosanct level of honesty — you know, the inner stuff we tell ourselves at night when we look in the mirror after the long day, when the masks come off and the bullspitting stops. Fullfillment, on the other hand, resides uniformly in one’s persona (“soul,” if you will) with no need of definition. When you are fulfilled, you know it. You live gratefully and die with no regrets.

Education provides the surest ticket to Fullfillment. The Greeks knew this when they gave their understanding of “happiness.” They thought that a “happy” life comes from the pursuit of one’s talents, fully, along the lines of excellence. No holding back, no self-limitations, no excuses or rationales. In fact, the word “education” itself provides a clue. It is a word derived from the Latin prefix “ex” (“out of”) and the term “ducas”  (“to lead”). Education is the process of leading someone out of ignorance, out of the linguistic and intellectual ghettoes that separate, divide, and exclude people.

THE PLANET shares these observations after reading a recent editorial by Jonathan Levine in The Pittsfield Gazette. Levine wrote this about the most recent MCAS results for the Pittsfield School District. The words are worth sharing. We hope they sear their way into the minds of every public official in the city:

“Sugarcoating can’t obscure the shockingly grim standardized test scores this week by school officials.

“Pittsfield’s MCAS results are downright cataclysmic. In eighth grade English, not a single [student citywide] was classified as ‘exceeding expectations.’ The results for other grades and subjects were only marginally better.

“To put it in more familiar terms, Pittsfield kids as a whole earned an “F” on the 2017 MCAS exams.”

Do we have to draw you a map? If you’re the mayor, a city councilor, or a member of the school committee, the answer is evidently “yes.” They, too, have failed — colossally and expensively. Over the past decade, taxpayers have funded these dismal results to the financial tune of ONE BILLION DOLLARS.


Think about it if you vote tomorrow.

Elect NONE OF THE ABOVE. Better yet, do your civic duty by NOT voting. Casting a ballot — other than writing in NOTA or a protest name such as Walter A. White, Jimmy McGill, or Dan Valenti — only makes you complicit in a sickening crime.


“Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl”Marty Robbins, “El Paso.”



The Usual Disclaimer.



  1. SisterGoldenHair
    November 6, 2017 at 3:10 am #

    And that my friends is why “they” want to eliminate MCAS and other standardized testing, And how much is the new high school we can’t afford and don’t need costing again? You know, the one that won’t be big enough for all the kiddies? The one that Mazzeo touts as an economic engine?

    I’m stayin’ home tomorrow.

  2. The school committee
    November 6, 2017 at 3:38 am #

    Educators with greater experience than yours have had great difficulty succeeding with the republican right wing forever changing mandates that ultimately are the reason conservative s know will ruin public ed.The other was to remove smart well to do kids from their neighborhood friends and let elitist teach to the superkids at the super school.Education is not equal like in the planets day.

  3. Rocky Creed
    November 6, 2017 at 3:45 am #

    SGH—You have to go vote tomorrow. That’s what they want people to do. To stay home. Bullet vote Gaetani

  4. Spagirl
    November 6, 2017 at 4:29 am #

    MCA’s and standardized testing has decimated education systemically. Teachers are frustrated, and tired. The students are lost and have been sacrificed for greed. This is a power greed act like no other.

  5. n
    November 6, 2017 at 4:32 am #

    Rumor has it that if the G Man some how pulls it off, he will have to relinquish victory because of his T V Show. campaign rules of some sort, that is why Krol is not doing his show during election.So, let’s get out there and vote for him.

    • Shakes His Head
      November 6, 2017 at 6:22 am #

      The last time G ran in a city-wide election he garnered less than 300 votes. No way he breaks 4 digits.

      • Dustin M
        November 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

        Add something Matt. You arent.

        • Shakes His Head
          November 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

          Eat an egg. Lord knows you can fit three of them in your mouth.

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 6:19 am #

            Again matt you add nothing to the conversation

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 8:37 am #


            What are you adding to a conversation, the pedophile opinion?


            Not Matt

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 8:40 am #

            Yes you are Matt, and again this is not topix and your comment should be redacted

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 10:04 am #

            I’m not Matt and I’ve never posted on Topix, and your face should be redacted.

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 10:39 am #

            Yes it is and yes you have.

  6. Len X Abhorant
    November 6, 2017 at 4:40 am #

    Just voting for him will take the same old out of the Council Meetings. Elderly, Vets and all taxpayers in General, should get behind Gaetani.Or, we can all watch the rubber stamps, week after week, advocate for the good ol boys,and the Machine.

  7. Pat
    November 6, 2017 at 5:10 am #

    The problem is that critical thinking skills are not being taught at all levels of education. Schools need to go back to basics. Stop teaching so many classes that have no relevance to actual basic learning. This is especially critical at the high school and college levels since there are too many classes about left leaning social issues instead of the basics like history and those critical thinking skills courses.

    Kids and young adults are not being taught to think because they are being recruited for one political way of looking at the world. Just look at colleges that used to be known for being open minded, but will now only listen to those who promote the left. Conservative views are met with violence. The result is that young adults are not getting a true education in our colleges. This is more like what we would expect in Russia or China.

    • Cos
      November 6, 2017 at 5:48 am #

      You don’t think getting free breakfast/lunch in schools is a incentive for the parent to vote the status quo?

    • Mr. G
      November 6, 2017 at 6:14 am #

      You really believe that Pat? Sometimes you seem to present measured, thoughtful comments, and other times you parrot some bizarre, hard-right talking points from a Rush Limbaugh show script. The problem Dan points out, via the Gazette, is that kids are failing truly basic standardized testing, meaning that the schools are dismally failing the kids. Those tests need to be looked at as tests for the schools and the districts, not for the kids. As the MA commissioner once told me when I challenged him about the need for MCAS years ago, the passing standards, the threshhold, on these tests are so low that if kids can’t pass, God help us. That made sense to me and changed my mind some on the testing question.

      The School Committees need to be held accountable. They NEED informed people attending meetings and holding their feet to the fire on this issue. You may disagree with testing fundamentally, but the tests are currently the only measure we have of district performance. If performance sucks, the protests from parents need to be vociferous. Go to the meetings. Ask why. Then ask what is going to be done, and if the answer you get is not satisfactory…ask again, louder. The money has been spent and you got LESS than zero ROI. Changing the system, changing the results, is on YOU.

      • Spagirl
        November 6, 2017 at 8:31 am #

        The kids are suffering because all emphasis and critical learning time is spent on testing. Teachers are overwhelmed with paperwork, and pressure from the top. This is failing our kids. We now have a monstrosity of a high school, when kids cant pass the basics at the lower levels.

        • Mr. G
          November 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

          But what does it say about the capabilities of the adults in the building if they are “working so hard” and still failing miserably? Other districts have managed to figure it out and strike a balance. It can be done.

    • The school committee
      November 7, 2017 at 3:30 am #

      Pat ,please explain how much critical thinking you did kthru 12,you guys make this crap up.You pretend you did critical thinking.Fake generation.

      • LoneGunMan
        November 7, 2017 at 7:08 am #

        Some of us are/were teachers and I can assure you that Critical Thinking was a major component in almost every place I worked.

        Except Pittsfield. I’m sure those counselors and teachers are VERY over worked making $80k a year and leaving as soon as the bell rings (not all, but MOST)

  8. Shakes His Head
    November 6, 2017 at 6:29 am #

    Education is not the key to fulfillment. Data shows other factors, like access to a personal vehicle, are much more important.

    Conservatives rule school boards at the local and state level across the country.

    • Dustin M
      November 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

      Excellent. As it should be. Cant have preachy liberals like you running things Matt.

      • Shakes His Head
        November 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

        Speaking of a lack of education. Here is exhibit A

        • The school committee
          November 7, 2017 at 3:35 am #

          America needs more conservatives teaching conservative math skills.How does anyone teach conservative English grammar. Is there a conservative way to fly an airplane.

        • Dustin M
          November 7, 2017 at 6:19 am #

          Matt you are not adding to the conversation. Not our fault you are a criminal

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 8:38 am #

            I wonder if this Matt fellow realizes you slander him on this blog?

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 8:41 am #

            And explain to me matt how i slander you

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 10:05 am #


            NOT MATT


            If he is not criminal, then you are slandering him.

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 10:44 am #

            you are and he is

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 11:06 am #

            What is this homosexual stalking fantasy you have with some guy named matt?

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 11:21 am #

            matt your latest post should be redacted. this is not topix

  9. CosbiesLadies
    November 6, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    If Gaetani will do anything it will be to put the Administations feet to the fire, including department heads. That is the worst that can happen. Vote Mr. Gaetani.

  10. mi
    November 6, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    I must have been in the Planets back seat when he was explaining the crosswalk near the Howard Building, funny stuff Dan! The key to bitching about Jaywalkers and bad driving is how to ‘tell the story’ which ain’t a story.

  11. Shelly Liver
    November 6, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    Isn’t the reason people go to the Berkshire Museum is to see paintings like Rockwell. No sale! This should be denied Ruberto is on the board and Tyer and Bouvier both agree with selling?

  12. H
    November 6, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    So fat ass Van and company can plunge to the restaurants and drink champagne while meeting with the gobsigs.

  13. Jonathan Melle
    November 6, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    My solution to all of Pittsfield politics problems is to rebuild the old Berlin Wall around the city with propaganda billboards that say the following:
    * The Good Old Boys serve the people and democracy
    * PEDA will recruit and retain Fortune 500 companies
    * Pittsfield public schools are the best in the state and nation
    * Swimming in Silver Lake and PCBS are good for your health
    * Downtown Pittsfield is a cultural and arts mecca that rivals London, Paris, Manhattan, and L.A.
    * Pittsfield politics rebuilt Berlin Wall will stem the loss of population and jobs
    * Teo’s hot dogs and Kool Aid is the meal and drink of champions
    * Dan Valenti’s bitching and moaning about Pittsfield politics is going to change things for the better
    * The Berkshire Museum’s selling of priceless art will bring great fortune to the community
    * High per capita muncipal taxes, fees, and debts are investments in the community
    * Murders, shootings, violent crime, drugs, and gangs are signs of Pittsfield’s diversity and strengths
    * The Consent Decree helped Pittsfield address its cancer causing toxic waste problems
    * Teen pregnancies, pregnant mothers smoking cigarettes, high per capita welfare caseloads, free school lunches for all, high school drop-outs, poor standardized test results are signs of how much Pittsfield cares about its youth

  14. mi
    November 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Someone told me years ago that the fence that surrounds outer North StreetnLake was taken down when the original fence put up was blocking the view of the Lake. Does anyone know anything about this? What was there before guard rails. How could the City mess up a fence?

    • Radar
      November 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

      When they re-did that area of Route 7, they put up a five or six foot high solid barrier wall around the perimeter of the lake. When everyone complained, they replaced it with the rails that are there now – because the solid wall blocked the view of the lake.

      • EddieP
        November 7, 2017 at 8:15 am #

        The roadway was elevated about 3 or 4 feet along that stretch.
        There were guardrails there, low enough so that you could climb over and get to the water.
        Also, the reason the road is so high on the curve by the old canoe club is the state put a concrete box culvert under the road so the Ponterill crowd could cross and get to the lake.

  15. The school committee
    November 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    Education reform= right wing late 80s… the right wing reformed it and now nobody knows what the right wing is doing.Right wingers should be giving more answers as to why you failed and please dont say unions because it makes you sound stupid from the start.

    • Shakes His Head
      November 6, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

      sound stupid? They are stupid….

      • Dustin M
        November 7, 2017 at 6:20 am #

        Wow matt, that really adds to the conversation. You show your foolishness and ignorance

        • Shakes His Head
          November 7, 2017 at 8:39 am #

          And you really show you can’t come within 1,000 feet of a daycare or school.

          • Dustin M
            November 7, 2017 at 11:21 am #

            Again matt your senseless post should be redacted

          • Still Not Matt
            November 8, 2017 at 6:08 am #

            maybe you should get your own blog and then you can decide what is redacted and what isn’t?

          • Dustin M
            November 8, 2017 at 7:40 am #

            Matt it is sad how far you have fallen. sad.

    • Mr. G
      November 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      The simple fact SC, as always, can be learned by following the money. The conservatives have had a hard on to privatize “public education” since, as you said, the 80’s because there is a lot of money to be made off of each child and the conservatives cannot bear to see an opportunity for massive profit to go unrealized. The smart money is on dismantling the system by making it so difficult and unaffordable that privatizing starts to look like a reasonable option. Much as they have done with the ACA. There is a freight train load of money being spread about by lobbyists in DC to accomplish this privatization and Betsy DeVos is leading the charge…rolling in it like an ignorant pig at a trough.

      • The school committee
        November 7, 2017 at 3:41 am #

        Just as they did with the prison system.Find me 1 conservative who thinks 2.5 million in our private prison system is a bad idea,mostly based on black males using drugs.This is Americas modern slavery.Those private prisons need bodies and America knows just where to get them.

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      In th People’s Democratic Republic of Massachusetts, ED Reform was a Democrat initiative. It passed in 1993. Since you mentioned unions, teachers unions co-opted the process, blocked the reforms, and put the program 10 years behind schedule. Specifically, they failed to implement key curricula reform while scaring politicians into unsustainable pay hikes. Meanwhile the MTA and the local unions put the scare into politicians. While salaries and benefits rose astronomically, classroom perforce sank to the bottom of the barrel, where it is now in Pittsfield.

      • The school committee
        November 7, 2017 at 3:49 am #

        Generally teachers with a masters and 5 years make 50 k and Im wondering what those key curricula are.I would like to see the work behind the statement blocked key curricula.
        I would suggest 50 k and a liscense to teach is not getting overpaid.How many people on this forum have that .If you do say so.

        • Mr. G
          November 7, 2017 at 5:48 am #

          Hey SC, I think you’re off on this one. I believe most districts START Masters- credentialed teachers at near $50k. With a Masters and 15 years they are likely much closer to $100k than $50k.

          • Shakes His Head
            November 7, 2017 at 6:13 am #

            why, that is a veritable fortune!

          • Mr. G
            November 7, 2017 at 6:25 am #

            Hey Shakes, not passing a value judgement on the amounr, nor even implying that the amount is too high. Just correcting SC’s assertion.

        • War Pigs
          November 7, 2017 at 6:14 am #

          I’d suggest working 6.5-7 hours a day, 181 days a year, 14 weeks paid vacation, 10 half days, 30 sick days a year and getting a big fat pension (with a huge lump sum payout of unused sick days and vacation time) while retiring early is being underworked, and overpaid.

          • The school committee
            November 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

            Those hours are based on another generation’s teaching day.More like the 60s or 70s

        • 12 Gauge
          November 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

          So the Black males in prison are not there for violent offences?

    • Ed Check
      November 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

      The “right wing”….the co- sponsor of education reform (no child left behind) back then was none other than that ultra conservative senator from Massachusetts, the dishonorable Ted Kennedy.

  16. Shelly Liver
    November 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    Trump approval rating at at all time low, the man’s a dud.

  17. 12 Gauge
    November 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

    End the B.S. in Pittsfield bullet vote for Gaetani the GOB’s worst nightmare.

  18. None Of The Above
    November 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

    Please don’t vote for any of the hacks who are running for school committee. Give None Of The Above a write in bullet vote.

    • Bill Q
      November 6, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

      So will None of the above actually be counted?

      • None Of The Above
        November 6, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

        Yes, the total will be published.

  19. SisterGoldenHair
    November 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    All you whom want the G Man elected – he is a bit out there, is a criminal to boot and won’t get 200 votes. I can’t bring myself to pull the lever for him. And Trumps a dud you say -like all the pittsfield mayor’s as far back as I remember. Have we ever had a good Mayor since Donald Butler?

    • 12 Gauge
      November 6, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

      What have you gotten out of the council for the last 20? Pittsfield has become a disaster. I could tell you stories about most of the people on the council that would make Gaetani look lie a Eagle Scout.

      • Bill Q
        November 7, 2017 at 4:48 am #

        Two story’s please. Before we vote.

    • Sum Ting Wong
      November 6, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

      Don Butler was a Republican. Maybe we should try that again.

  20. dusty
    November 7, 2017 at 1:37 am #

    Word on the street is that Trump is going to have to toss Betsy DeVos aside in the near future. She is an idiots idiot and was only appointed as a favor to a trump friend. (she kind of reminds me of Tricia Farley)

    And once she becomes available perhaps she could join the wonderful people running the Pittsfield school system into the ground.

  21. I H o TTCM
    November 7, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    So lets see who wins tonight,probably the last chance to think outside the box and elect at least two candidates that offer some kind of opposition to the Network.

  22. H
    November 7, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    Can the man that shot the murderer in Texas get a Medal Of Honor?

  23. Nota
    November 7, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    Ward seven don’t be stupid. Vote Tony Roads.

  24. Nota
    November 7, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Vote Gaetani if not for entertainment purposes.

  25. Nota
    November 7, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Vote Morandi, don’t be stupid WardTwo

  26. Len X Abhorant
    November 7, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    Believe the Narrator for the debate,Mr. Crackta called the ward 7 candidate Donna? When the Moderator of a debate ( Crackta) calls the candidate the wrong first name, and believe he called Dina Guiel, Diane, then you have to vote for the incumbent because, wouldn’t you would know the first name of someone that is qualified.

    • Arial Black
      November 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

      Have another beer.

  27. CosbiesLadies
    November 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    I think the citizens of Pittsfield have been had. If you live in Ward 6 for Instance, you don’t have a chice for City Councilor, you also don’t have a choice for School Committee, six Candidates, you don’t vote for Mayor because of the new four years, and the only thing you can vote is Councilor at Large, and if you vote there,your vote would not make a difference as far as status Quo change. So basically your right to vote is null and void.

  28. dusty
    November 7, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

    Marchetti must be paranoid. He has outspent his opposition 100 to one on advertising. Looks like he may have spent more than all other councilors together. wtf He must be the key good old boy that controls how the drink is stirred.

    • Harrison
      November 7, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

      His opponents spent next to nothing. So 100 x next to nothing = next to nothing.

    • 12 Gauge
      November 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

      The G man has him running scared.

  29. CosbiesLadies
    November 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    Yesterday afternoon around 2 30 or so,there was a drunk driver all over the road going down east dt. past the high school. Couldn’t get through to call the fuzz and even tried beeping to an officer who was on his cell phone but couldn’t get his attention, maybe he seen the clown, who actually was drinking a quart of something while driving, Incredible.

  30. The school committee
    November 7, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    Those hours are based on another generation’s teaching day.More like the 60s or 70s

  31. dusty
    November 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Exit polling shows Tyer winning!!!

  32. Big Dig
    November 7, 2017 at 4:47 pm #

    Planet is the Best, great show Dan!

  33. 12 Gauge
    November 7, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    Hard to believe that Barrett the corrupt career politician who did nothing for North Adams won.