Thursday, December 20, 2007

Al Fondy doesn't like Garcia

An anonymous comment at the Tennessean article regarding MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia not getting the San Diego gig recommended an article titled "A Skeptics Guide to Pedro Garcia" by Drew Ruble and printed in the Nashville Post in July of 2002. I got curious and started poking around the site currently hosting the article.

The domain is actually owned by former MNEA president Harry McMackin but the contact for e-mail is Al Fondy. Al Fondy is the name of the president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers who died in 2005 just 7 months before the domain name was first purchased. It's not clear who the author of the entries are but s/he really should get a regular blog going if only to ensure the post dates are recorded. The web site posts provide an interesting walk down memory lane. Clearly Garcia is the enemy. S/he doesn't think much of education reporters. Al Gore's "Assault on Reason" is quoted several times.

From the most recent post Pedro Garcia attempts to escape:

Now, without the fig leaf of his leaving the system for “bigger and better” California, the school board and the supporters of the majority will have to confront the disaster that they have enabled. It is not a pretty picture. But the five members who voted to extend his contract deserve to sit through the long tense meetings, and receive the heart-rending phone calls, and lose sleep at night. It is small consolation, but the truth is, Garcia has given the school board members themselves more trouble than he has to the teachers. We will soon see how much power frustration has to move those members toward courage.
From Observations of the BOE meeting of 01-10-2006:
Kathleen Harkey [now former BOE member] wonders why we cannot get exit interviews from parents and teachers who are leaving the system. We used to have that listed in the board minutes. But as a part of suppressing data, the numbers of teachers departing and the reasons is now secret--or at least not transparent. The board could change that back by asking for the personnel report to be included in the board minutes like it was from before 2003.
Good idea. An industry that refuses to do some kind of exit interview won't know enough to make appropriate changes. While on the BOE it was made clear to me that my conversations with parents who had left MNPS didn't accurately reflect the truth as several BOE members believed it to be. That truth being people leaving didn't want their children around 'those children'. It couldn't possibly be an issue of academics, failure to meet their child's individual learning needs or legitimate safety concerns.

From How Things Go Wrong in December of 2005:
During the 1990s school finances were the most transparent ever. That was a time when the computing power of the PC matched, or came close enough to matching, the mainframe at Metro Schools. Citizen researchers could take budget data construct their own database for analysis.
I can't be the only one who has wished MNPS would issue an Excel version of the proposed budget for tweaking during the debate.

The Nashville Scene called Pedro Garcia the 2002 Nashvillian of the Year [adult site].
It’s too early to predict whether Garcia is the messiah people want him to be, but he’s certainly not sitting around, appointing study committees and waiting for suggestions. Garcia, a rabid moviegoer, is a veritable action hero, quickly sizing up the problems and indiscriminately tackling them.
Looks like former BOE member Murray Phillips was exactly right on page 5 of the "Skeptics guide":
And the result, Philip says, will be that Nashville will be left with a system that does not serve the average and above average students, further exacerbating the local problem of average and above average students ending up in private schools.

"You've got to look at what Garcia is all about," Philip says. "It looks like public education in Nashville is becoming more and more for the disadvantaged."
Thanks for your point of view, Al. It was good to be reminded about several things.

1 comment:

Buckley said...

Interesting read.