School Committee Chair, Margaret Driscoll, has informed this author, in a recent email, that the public has no right to know the details of any school senior staff decision or to question them since she claims by law, prevents the public from knowing the intimate details of their decisions. I can understand such a philosophy in a totalitarian or communist country, but not here in Melrose, Massachusetts, and in the United States! Her comment further explains her demeanor and attitude towards public comments during open school committee meetings where she will frequently cuts-off public speakers or acts indignant when there is any criticism directed toward the committee.
Ms. Driscoll must understand that as a school committee member, she represents the entire community at large not just a select group of parents who may have a specific agenda that agrees with hers. She firmly believes that the school committee responsibility lies only with the budget and policy – and not to be concerned about how the policy is carried out or any issues involved with carrying out those policies. The indifference she exhibits toward the recent OCR finding and ongoing OCR investigations as well as their impact on the budget is reflected in her recent performance evaluation of Ms. Taymore when she lauds the Superintendent even though her policies have led to our first Level 3 school (which was only recently changed to a Level 2), our first OCR finding, and with additional investigations pending.
I have copied verbatim the email dialogue I had with Ms. Driscoll, described above, and it is an example of why Ms. Driscoll should resign her position.
MFD Comment: “I listed specific issues in my previous email concerning Ms. Taymore performance which have been documented in newspaper reports and interviews with Ms. Taymore - but you seem to think that these are unknowable facts. The issues about the termination of recess and the firing of head teachers for the fine arts programs have been well documented in newspaper reports including documented comments by Ms. Taymore - are these examples of a person who acts before performing a thoughtful review of policies? This to me is being autocratic - so to claim ignorance of them is quite shocking considering you were around during this period of time.”
Ms. Driscoll comment: “I think you are confusing your opinion with my "ignorance." We all read what's in the paper. But there is nothing in the paper (because it is personnel related) that explains the how and why. We are not, any of us, entitled to know all the details. That's the law, whether we like it/agree with it or not. Impact on budget and policy is our role in this case.”
As a member of the public - you all can decide if this is the type of person you want determining school policy for us!
A brilliant response by Margaret Driscoll. A fundamental misunderstanding that many have is that the SC is involved in school personnel decisions. That is not their role. The only employee of the city that they are involved with and have any influence over is the Superintendent. This is something that GM simply does not understand and apparently MFD doesn’t either. The chair’s reply was brilliant and exactly what I want from my elected officials. There simply is no need to pander to constant critics that have tried to make a sport out of criticizing the Melrose district and don’t seem to care about what is best for our students.
"Love it" is just rehashed Vuvu and Clown Patrol.
"A fundamental misunderstanding" and then an attack against Gerry Mroz, very predictable from this poster, who wouldn't be able to comprehend what "fundamental" actually means, let alone willing to understand what the actual purview of the Melrose School Committee is according to the law. This poster is only capable of cheap shots at favorite targets: "constant critics that have tried to make a sport out of criticizing the Melrose district," willfully "misunderstanding" and misrepresenting that those who criticize are doing so to "make a sport" of doing harm to the school district and "don’t seem to care about what is best for our students." This is the kind of cheap and vicious shot that is also characteristic of this administration and the purposely ignorant supporters.
I am definitely not school or city establishment. I’m just a citizen that understands the role of the SC and is also sick and tired of folks like MFD making it their personal mission to be disruptive to our district.
The fact is, if you have a problem with personnel decision you have to take it up with the Superintendent. If you don’t like the way the Superintendent handles a matter or want to avoid her altogether, your only remedy is to appeal to the SC to get rid of the Superintendent. You do not have additional remedies. As much as you and others may want to pry scandalous details out of the personnel files at the district, you simply do not have a right to that information. I know it hurts that MD put you in your place, but it is what it is.
So is your position that the SC has a role in school personnel decisions beyond the Superintendent?
As for the woman who claimed to hear angels singing when the high school administration talked about their fabulous (ridiculous) Program of Studies "improvements" (with the added mickey mouse "pathways"), no one needs to wonder about her motives. While she will carry on in either hushed tones or pious uptalk that is meant to stimulate the need for kleenex and adoration, it's pretty easy to see what's really going on.
Whenever she claims they are "in service to the best interests of children" beware. That's code for the nonsense that passes for real with those that need to believe in the MEF and Dolan/Taymore fairy tales. Watch any of these people for 5 minutes in actual life and it should be clear as swamp gas what kind of people they are.
I like this discussion thread but it should be in front of the school committee so that they get "the point" that many residents are fed up with their secretive deliberations - this is obvious when you see motions that are made about policies with little or discussion and they vote for them - except CKK when she was present - you know why? Because she was not put of the "Inner Club" on the committee and didn't participate in these outside committee gatherings.
Ms. Driscoll's familiar refrain when challenged about these policies is always, "The majority of the committee voted for them" - and will not accept that there are public disagreements with them. This attitude will continue until the "click" is broken up.
"So, why is Jessica Duggan attending teacher meetings at the schools?
Isn't this far outside her role as a school committee member?
She can't have it both ways."
It's totally inappropriate that this SC member is attending any kind of faculty or staff meetings, and the unions should shut that down yesterday!
She has grossly overstepped her authority, as has MD (who has been overstepping her roles for probably a decade now).