Administration failed to work with city teachers union

Sunday November 18, 2012


While I may agree the Race To the Top -- District (RTTT-D) grant was a lost opportunity for Pittsfield I do not agree with Dr. Noseworthy’s reasons for this loss expressed in his column of Nov. 10. Instead of blaming the United Educators of Pittsfield (UEP) Dr. Noseworthy should look within his administration.

The RTTT-D grant required the inclusion of the local Asso ciation as a partner in crafting the grant. This inclusion would have precluded many of the concerns voiced by UEP members at a general membership meeting. Unfor tu nately, Dr. Noseworthy did not include association input until the grant had been written. When I served as UEP president I was frequently included in discussions and gave input regarding RTTT and other important issues. This inclusion was a major factor in Pittsfield receiving its first RTTT grant. Knowing the grant writers I believe that "For the ensuing three weeks a team at Mercer familiar with grant writing worked day and night to enter this competition with gusto Š" it is presumptuous and demeaning to think the UEP would not have been willing to contribute with the same gusto.

Dr. Noseworthy also is critical of the number of UEP members who voted on the proposed grant. The members present voted 135-41 against signing the grant. This is approximately 30 percent of the membership. Had we more time and notice maybe more members would have attended but since 30 percent is a greater turnout than the voters in many congressional elections, it is not really an argument that has validity. If Dr. Noseworthy had really wanted membership input, he would have included the membership when writing the grant.


Finally, I find Dr. Nose worthy’s assertions a personal attack on President Yates and members of the Executive Board of the UEP. Comments made during meetings and negotiations can easily be taken out of context. The educators on the Executive Board have dedicated their lives to helping children. Without com pelling and complete texts of their conversations I could do nothing but dismiss Dr. Noseworthy’s characterization of what took place during the meeting of Oct. 22.

In spite of the opinion of the Executive Board regarding RTTT-D, President Yates sought member input and gave the final decision to the UEP membership. President Yates had no personal agenda when she called the meeting and invited members of the administration to answer questions. This openness and opportunity to convince the UEP is not the act of a closed-minded individual but of a person trying to work with the administration In the end, the UEP voted not to endorse this grant because we felt it would not, as written, benefit the students of the Pitts field Public Schools. Whe ther the attendees were for or against the RTTT-D grant, both sides were given a fair op por tunity to present their arguments.

Dr. Noseworthy should stop blaming the UEP and Presi dent Yates. The UEP has al ways been ready to work with administrators for the benefit of our students. It cannot happen if the administration is not willing to work with the UEP.

I hope going forward we can work collaboratively on important issues that will benefit the students of the Pittsfield Public Schools. The RTTT-D grant re quired this collaboration but instead the UEP was faced with only the opportunity to sign after the fact. That signature would have required an ex planation of nonparticipation.

It is time to stop finger- pointing and move forward. This is a teachable moment. In the future, let the UEP work with the administration. Keep ing us up to date, allowing input as things proceed and truly making us a partner will bear many more successes. We have the best interest of our students in mind.


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