Sometimes, the most fascinating stuff to come out of board meetings it's what's left unspoken.
the Monday night meeting of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School
District. I thought I was losing my mind when I kept thinking to myself,
why are they doing this? Why do teachers want to take the Monterey
Academy of Oceanographic Science away form Monterey High and make it its
own charter? What's the real reason?
I've been asking
myself this question over and over again. I even asked marine biology
teacher Geoff Von Saltza, but I never felt I received a satisfactory
So the question came up again, Monday night, from some people in the audience.
Why do the teachers want to do this?
teacher Ron Woods said, in not such few words, they want more control.
Echoing Woods, Von Saltza said (see the videos) that MAOS has always
been a teacher-driven program, and that they want to return it to its
So they want more control.
Then Monterey High principal Marci Plummer got to the podium and told trustees something like this:
offered and I've extended during the entire process the opportunity to
work with us on an alternative proposal, a schedule within a schedule so
we could begin articulation. I have a memo I wrote about our meetings
(documenting) some of the things MAOS needed and we have achieved 10 out
of 11 objectives around course curriculum... "
(Mmm. There's people at MPUSD who actually take notes during meetings. Fascinating.)
went on. She's made some hires for MAOS. And she also offered all the
teachers who are willing the opportunity to work with her to design a
So the teachers want more control and Plummer has tried to make concessions. At least, that's what she said.
came the most poignant commentary of the evening, from MPUSD keen
observer Pam Silkwood and mom of two MAOS students. The idea of a
charters is innovative and out of the box, it should be encouraged and
pursued, she said. But the plan as presented lacks details, and besides,
the charter petition is just a symptom of a bigger ailment at the
"It's an example of lack of collaboration
between teachers and administration," Silkwood said. "I have respect for
both parties. A MAOS charter is like putting a band-aid on a gouging
There you have it. The real reason why MAOS
teachers want out of Monterey High is because they seemingly can't work
At least that's what I thought until
Tuesday evening. Then Scuttlebutt came a'calling, and the rug was pulled
from underneath my chair.
I've covered the district long enough to agree with Pam
Silkwood in one thing: this is symptom of a bigger ailment. It's worrisome because
the district is looking for a new superintendent, and it makes me wonder
how effective he or she will be working in this atmosphere of distrust.
it makes me very sad because in school we ask students to learn to
collaborate and work together, but we can't get the adults to do that
--not just at MPUSD, but everywhere I turn in education. So how
realistic is it to ask that of young people?
Also, we ask of our youngsters not to lie, and it turns out, adults do it ALL THE TIME. And I wonder, how can anybody work with people they can't trust???????
That's how Scuttlebutt pulled my rug. Because, it turns out, some of the adults in the room Monday night were not being completely honest about what's happening in the district. It's not the first time I've heard these claims, so by now I'm giving them more credence.
Excuse me, everybody. I need to go throw up.