Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whitmarsh and Eberhart

I realize that I've blogged many times on Prop. 8 (and I probably still have a few more left in me), and that's the sort of thing that only applies to the Californians who read this. This time, I'm getting even more specific, and I'm appealing to everybody who lives within the Mt. Diablo School District to vote for Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh for the school board. (Alas, I'm not in the district myself, as I live in Martinez - which has its own school district. However, I do teach in the district, so that's why I care.)

Honestly, I've been putting this one off for a while now. While I believe that I have good reasons for wanting them to get in office (Eberhart is already in office and is running as an incumbent - Whitmarsh is a new face to replace April Treece), I don't always feel confident as to how I can make my case for them.

So, let's just stick with some basic facts. Teachers in Mt. Diablo are amongst the lowest paid in Contra Costa County. Many of them have been leaving for surrounding districts, and if you take the average numbers of years experience of our teachers, it has dropped significantly over the past few years. (That's an awfully convoluted sentence, but I can't seem to work it out right now. Let's just say that a lot of experienced teachers are leaving.)

While times are certainly tough, the leadership at the district has been proven to be incompetent at best, and downright masters of skullduggery at worst. They have not engaged in fair negotations with the union, and there is evidence of some pretty serious mishandling of funds. I don't have a head for this sort of a thing (can't remember numbers to save my life) but you can get some details here.

Currently, there are two members of the board, Paul Strange and Gary Eberhart, who are vocal critics of the current superintendent, Gary McHenry - even to the point of calling for his resignation. The other members just continue to make excuses for him. I once attended an informal question/answer session with incumbent April Treece and Dick Allen, and I think that if you brought Squealer himself, monacle and all (from Animal Farm) to make the case for McHenry, it would have been even less Orwellian than the shuck-and-jive dog and pony show that you'd get from them. When asked, point-blank by a teacher why it is that we're all so wrong in our criticism of McHenry, they both gave a really long, convoluted explanation that involved "data" but made little actual sense. To say that I felt my intelligence being insulted would be an understatement.

So, if you live in the Mt. Diablo District, and you think that we need a change, vote Gary and Sherry.

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