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LET’S NOT FORGET

8/12/00

    How often does it happen that a school year ends with one group of central office administrators on the job, and the new year begins with a whole new group of them? Not very often! It seems worthwhile, therefore, to do some thinking as to how this odd circumstance came about in Plainview-Old Bethpage and how that history informs the future.

    To the officers and most of the membership of the PCT, the replacement of the district’s central office team was long overdue. From the very beginning of their tenure in office, they betrayed an alarming lack of competence. Even more importantly, given that all school districts essentially run on the competence and good will of the teaching and clerical staffs, they demonstrated a mean-spiritedness, seemingly reveling in sowing fear in their subordinates and creating a an atmosphere of mistrust and high anxiety. To borrow a line from Macbeth, "Those they command[ed] (sic) moved only in command, nothing in love."

    Clear as their unsuitability for our district was to anyone who cared to look, the Board of Education saw fit pretend that all was in order, allowing the district to blunder on from crisis to crisis. Building administrators were humiliated and threatened, encouraged to treat the people in their buildings with the same contempt with which they were treated. They were only following orders many of them told staff, who were often amazed at their callous indifference to injustice, protecting their own hides at all cost.

    In point of fact, for too many months it was left to the PCT to stand up for what was right, to vigorously confront a central administration inimical to the welfare of all. It was left to the PCT to remind everyone that the emperor in fact had no clothes, that the administration of our district was a sham. The question lingers as to how it could be that we had to put up with the conditions that were permitted to fester here. What prevented board members, building administrators and parents from speaking out about what surely everyone knew. Why?

    There needs to be a serious discussion of how it happened that a dark age descended on our district.

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