A letter to the editor
Region 1 school officials misread the public mood
We respectfully take exception to the April 15 letter “Disgruntled parents in Region 1 getting too much attention,” by schools Superintendent Pam Vogel and Board of Education Chairman Bob Whelan. All of us attended the public meeting they referenced, not only because Housatonic Valley Regional High School is in our town, but also because of our shared long-term commitment to education.
To say the Republican-American gives too much attention to the views of “a small group of disgruntled parents” is a condescending and dismissive comment. We believe it is unwarranted and does not carry the imprimatur of the board as a whole, the teachers and the students. Raising issues that are not in agreement with Dr. Vogel and Mr. Whelan deserves more than derisive commentary; it is a plea for dialogue, of which there obviously has not been enough.
Change is not, in itself, a bad thing, but change requires the imperative for making sure it is understood by every group affected by it; and that it is implemented in a cohesive, effective manner. Neither seems to have been done in this instance.
The comments made by a teacher in another district with children in ours were much more ambivalent and nuanced than depicted by Dr. Vogel and Mr. Whelan. It was not a glowing endorsement. The teacher emphasized that phasing in such a change takes time and education of all the groups with a stake in the change, i.e. parents, teachers and students, as well as the administrators and the board.
We think killing the messengers and dismissing them as complainers is a discredit to the Region 1 school board and administration. Wise leadership comes through the building of consensus, not name-calling.
Henry Todd, first selectman
Greg Marlowe, selectman
Dave Barger, selectman