Saturday, September 23, 2006

"UNEDITED" Letters to the Editor

Below you will read an "unedited" Letter to the Editor submitted to the Maryland Independent on Friday, September 22, 2006 by Ms. Margaret Young. She was kind enough to forward it to me for posting. I wonder if they will print and if they do will it be edited. hmmmmm.

I am no longer a candidate for the school board race, but I would like to respond to two pieces that were printed in the September 20th edition of the Maryland Independent, ?The EACC gets its way in board primary? and Meg MacDonald?s letter to the editor. I would also like to encourage the voters of Charles County to do their own homework.

When EACC administrators, such as Meg MacDonald, have difficulty debating the merits of an issue they resort to purposefully misleading and confusing the general public and their own members as well. Like Chicken Little, they want people to believe the sky is falling. The Chicken Little League manipulates the truth so citizens think the EACC member?s accusations are the actions or statements of the Board or its individual members. Some examples of their tall tales are a religious voting bloc and board goals for teaching creationism, banning books, and distributing Bibles. The roorbacks of the Chicken Little League keep journalists employed, publishers in the black, and readers entertained, but it still doesn?t change what actually occurred.

One high profile example is creationism. A board discussion to include creationism as part of the science curriculum has never occurred during the eight years I?ve been on the board, yet I doubt the general public is aware of that fact. Yes, there was debate ad nauseam on the issue, but the Board was not debating the topic. While the Chicken Little League was out fanning the flames of phobia, the board spent many hours listening to opinions of those that responded to their frantic ?all-call.?

The debate took place in the media and during the public forum portion of our meetings. The agenda for public forum is set by the speakers, not the Board. It is a time for citizens to address the Board and for the Board to listen It is not a time for board members to weigh in on the debate or respond to a misguided speaker?s allegations or unfounded personal attacks. Board members only rendered their personal opinions on creationism when they were contacted by the media.

Yes, one member listed creationism and Bible distribution during a brainstorming session as topics for us to consider discussing in the future. And, granted, that member has met repeatedly with top ranking administrators to push that agenda for years, but it was always done without the Board?s knowledge, let alone Board consent or direction.

Previous Boards were accused of being a rubber stamp for the superintendent. This board has attempted to break that tradition and focus instead on accountability from the superintendent down to the classroom teacher ? that ruffles Chicken Little?s feathers.

It?s 2006, the EACC has an agenda, and that is why they are more than willing to do your homework for you. Their first and foremost responsibility is to improve the benefits and conditions of dues paying members ? not students, taxpayers, voters, or parents. They must ensure Wise, Gesl, and Stover are elected. All three have personal family incomes and benefits that are controlled to a very large extent by the Board. A conflict of interest? You bet! One vote short of a majority, they?re counting on Wade, a former teacher in another county, to round out that fourth vote. The chief negotiator for administration and his wife are both CCPS employees and therefore benefit directly from the negotiated outcome. Either students will suffer program cuts or taxpayers can look forward to a serious shakedown if these four EACC endorsed candidates are elected. And, heaven help any student or parent that attempts to appeal a school or administrative decision to a ?neutral? Board.

Don?t let the EACC or any other organization do your homework for you. Get your head out of opinion pieces and start looking at some primary documents like the actual voting records and minutes; they are available on line and they paint a very different picture. Surf the candidates? websites. Better yet, attend some of the meetings if your schedule allows. Yes, some housecleaning is in order. Still, there are several excellent school board candidates from which to choose ? ones that don?t have financial and personal conflicts of interest or a covert religious agenda. Contact them directly to get the facts and unedited opinions. The Chicken Little League has an agenda, and that?s exactly why they want to do your homework and fill in your ballot for you.

Margaret Young


Anonymous said...

For a person who is no longer running for a seat on the Board, what is with this letter? In hopes of gaining support for Abell? It sounds quite ridiculous and very mean-spirited and exactly what the CCBOE does NOT need.

doodydom said...

I see many discrepancies between what you say and what you preach. You stated recently you want to use taxpayer money to review other theories. I you do not want creationism in schools, then why bother? Be HONEST!

Jennifer Abell said...

Not sure if this is directed at me or at Margaret Young. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

You state that you are/were not a part of a voting block yet You, Mrs. Abell have consistently voted with Mrs. Young, Mr. Bailey, and Mr. Crawford.

You have touted your membership in the Charles County Commission for Women yet you voted along with Mrs. Young in opposition to a resolution for Women's History Month.

You also voted not to accept the superintendent's recommended changes to the Policy 6000 document. A document that is a public record, that does have YOUR name on it and includes as topics for discussion the teaching of creationism, and the distribution of Bibles.

You claim that no books have been banned yet an English teacher at McDonough was told she was prohibited from using certain books. Dress it up any way you like Mrs. Abell, I call that censorship.

In response to your comment that you did not expect the EACC to endorse you because you are not a Democrat I would point out that the EACC has endoresed two Republicans this year. They are Danny Mayer and Candice Quinn Kelley so don't try to hide behind your political affilition. You were given the same opportunity to participate in the process as every other candidate.

You also oppose filling mid-term Board vacancies in a public manner. If you are still in need of convincing that carrying out this process behind closed doors, Mrs. Abell go to the nearest mirror. There you will find Exhibit A.

Jennifer Abell said...

Thank you for your input, however just like the EACC you try to portray your opinion facts. I say it's opinion because it is unsubstantiated with any facts. I will address your comments one at a time below and back them up with actual facts or in your words, Exhibits:
1. Voting Block - since my tenure on the (June 2004) the Board has voted on 293 public items. Of the 293 items over a 27 month period I have voted with the "alleged voting block" a whopping 16 times. That's a total of 5%. The Board has voted in consensus a total of 117 times or 40%. Upon reviewing the voting records another voting trend is identified. This one contains Crawford, Wade, Coggins, and Marshall. They actually voted in unison 16 times in just the past six months.
2. Women's History Month - Yes I did because I think we should celebrate women all year long, not just one month out of the year. If we really want equity for women then we would be not recognize them for only one month out of the year.
3. Policy 6000 - No I did not support the Supt. recommendation because I didn not agree with it. The document is public record and no where in the document will you find reference to distribution of bibles or creationism. Ms. Young ad myself were on the committee to revise this document and did solicit input from the public, staff, and fellow board members. Can you can actually show me where in Policy 6000 this is written or suggested? I don't think so.
4. Banning Books - We the Board have never banned ANY books from the school. If a teahcer at McDonough was told not to use a specific book I would be interested in knowing who told her that and why? The Board and myself had no part in that. If you can be more specific I will follow-up on the matter.
5. EACC endorsement - Yes they do endorse Ms. Kelly and Mr. Mayer (both fine choices) however, every one they endorse for school board candidacy is a registered democrat. In addition, I was NOT afforded the same opportunity of an interview and neither was Ed Holland, Mike Lucas, Frank Jenkins, or Margaret Young, just to name a few. Our phone calls were never returned and appointments for interviews never given.
6. Board vacancies - Obviously you do not attend board meetings or do your own homework and rely on the EACC propaganda. I was against performing the interviews in public for the simple fact that it would give some applicants an unfair advantage over others and our Board attorney, Mr. Eric Schwartz advised us against it. However, I was for releasing the names post selection and also suggested taping the interviews to be shown on our local cable channel following the selection.

As for the insult and name calling. Is that really necessary? I think not. If you don't agree with my stand on positions that is your right. However, just because we disagree on issues doesn't make one of us better than the other and definitely doesn't mean we need to resort to slander.
I sincerely hope you have a nice weekend :)

Anonymous said...

Well said Ms. Abell,
But you are wasting your breath. Biased people use their one mouth more than their two ears! Continue to state the facts and your record will prove itself in time.

Jennifer Abell said...

Thank you, anonymous!