To be honest, I’d really rather spend a lot less time covering the Geneva School Board and far more time on other topics, but that always fascinating gaggle seems intent on consistently demanding my full and undivided attention. So, with yet more fascinating developments on the get our children back in school full-time front, it’s “once more unto the breach, dear friends!”
Political suicide isn’t painless!
As if to prove my previous tone-deaf point, D304 Board President Taylor Egan opened the Monday evening board meeting festivities with a semi-incoherent soliloquy admonishing the attendees for even having the temerity to show up, or god forbid, do something as heinous as send the board repetitive emails.
To a slew of rather startled onlooker looks, Egan concluded by basically saying that if the unwashed horde would simply sit down, shut up, and leave she and the Board alone, they might actually be able to get something done.
As you might imagine, that speech went over just about as well as a pork chop at a Jewish wedding reception and the crowd turned on her faster than the royal family could dismiss Megan and Harry.
Given the short video camera angles, I couldn’t get a sense of what the other six board members were thinking as President Egan spoke, but even the most basic logic would dictate that at least three of them had to understand the inevitable consequences of Egan’s bizarre brand of futility, but they simply sat there and let her commit the worst kind of political suicide.
No matter how oblivious they may be, friends don’t let friends engage in that kind of blatant self-destruction. The bottom line is, every time Egan opens her mouth, the Geneva Parent’s United membership spikes by another 20 percent.
To incorrectly paraphrase my mother, “With enemies like that, who needs friends?”
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me”
In yet another vast D304 Board irony, when those Monday evening speakers showed their disdain for Egan’s absurd monologue by throwing her unbridled arrogance right back in her face, after the meeting, she had the nerve to bitch about “how disrespectful” the barbaric mob really was.
My biblically based counsel to the Board President would be, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap!’ When you disrespect parents by:
· Consistently talking down to them
· Claiming that if they would just listen, they’d realize Taylor Egan is always right
· Telling parents to sit down, shut up, and stop sending repetitive emails
· Barring parents from attending a task force meeting when everyone else had a seat at the table
· Having absolutely no back-to-school plan
· Telling them to run against the board if they don’t like what they’re doing
· Refusing to answer emails until very recently
· Inferring that parents aren’t stakeholders in their own children’s education
what the heck does she expect? Hugs and compliments?
The quality of mercy may “droppeth from heaven as the gentle rain,” but respect is something that must be earned. And to be fair, I don’t think any of the board meeting speakers – on either side – have been the least bit disrespectful. Some of them are simply making an argument that Egan doesn’t want hear.
So, Taylor! If you want D304 parents to respect you – a longshot at this point – perhaps you and the Board might want to consider offering them respect first. A consistently condescending attitude won’t get you very far.
Just when you thought this sad situation couldn’t get any sillier, it does! Because a couple of stellar sources reported that, prior to Monday’s meeting, Egan and certain board members were busy calling begging sympathetic supports to show up and speak on the Board’s behalf.
Can you say “disingenuous?” I knew you could!
If you do wind up watching the board meeting video, you’ll quickly note that Egan only thanks the speakers who supported her position. Prior to Monday, she’d thank anyone who came to the podium.
Can’t we all just get along?
Considering Geneva was initially on the forefront of COVID era hybrid learning, I’ve been racking my brain trying to determine the logic is behind this sudden retreat from what was once an ambitious back-to-school plan.
I understand why they waited to announce the elimination of in-class Fridays until after the deadline to submit the paperwork to run for school board, but nothing else about this strange scenario has been that clear. Ah! But after some persistent prodding, some more-than-reasonable sources finally provided me with an answer.
Apparently, the board and the teachers/teachers union have been at each other’s throats since the 2018 strike, and Egan, along with the bought and sold union backed board members, Alicia Saxton and Larry Cabeen, believe this new era of coronavirus cooperation will “repair” that “relationship” making their board lives a heck of a lot easier.
Of course, they don’t give a bleep that their willingness to appease the union at every turn comes at the far greater expense of your children’s education and social development. What other reason could there be for Egan claiming that “all the stakeholders are here” at the self-congratulatory and ill-advised March 4th “taskforce” meeting where parents were barred from attending?
So, now you know why the board is refusing to budge on the dismal current hybrid plan! They don’t want to upset the fragile détente with the Geneva Education Association and union president Kevin Gannon is playing those board members like a fine Stradivarius fiddle.
It’s the only thing that makes sense.
Where’s Kent – part two
For reference purposes, a school board has but two powers. The first is to set policy and the second is to hire and fire the superintendent. That’s it! Within the bounds of reason, it’s up to the superintendent and his or her administrators to interpret and carry out those policies.
That means D304 Superintendent Kent Mutchler could unilaterally reinstate five-day in-person learning tomorrow if he really wanted to. And when you consider his previous commitment to the classroom and we pay him $236,000 a year salary plus $74,000 in benefits to make the tough calls, I’m gonna say it again!
He seems more than content to simply sit back and let the board get away with whatever they want to get away with because it’s the most politically expedient thing to do.
While we’re all focused on Ms. Egan and the Board, other local Superintendents have examined the evidence and correctly concluded that the classroom may well be the safest place on the planet for children and their teachers.
So, I’m thinking it’s time for us to start leaning on Superintendent Mutchler, too. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want you!
Again! If you’re interested in joining the Geneva Parents United cause – and I hope you are – you can find them here and here!’
¡Viva la Revolución!