~ Mahatma Gandhi
Support Our Schools!There is a contingent in town that frequently tries to paint some folks as anti-school, so we thought it would be useful to look at what it means to really support our schools.
First, though, let’s examine the opposite.
How To Support Mediocrity:
1. Support the Administration & School Committee fully and blindly; never question or criticize in any way, and work to silence those who do.
2.Look the other way when you see something wrong. Continuing to employ a coach arrested for drunk driving is normal. A staff member paying down personal credit cards with school money is perfectly alright. Doing nothing about athletes exhibiting aggressive, erratic behavior is OK.
3. Accept at face value regurgitated lines, i.e. "It’s a personnel matter” and “We wish we were at liberty to say, but on advice of counsel....” and “We trust them with our children, so why wouldn’t we trust them with our money” without ever stopping to think about the vacuousness of such statements.
4. Don’t worry about money spent on lawsuits, legal counsel, OML violations, etc. Just try to get more money in the door and it will all work out. No need for accountability, as long as you have a large enough slush fund.
5. Vote for your friends, regardless of how much you know about where they stand or their qualifications.
6. Trust, but don’t verify.
How To REALLY Support Our Schools:
1. Get involved - volunteer when and where you can. Get to know the teachers and try to help them in any way you can.
2. Understand how your tax money is spent. Knowledge is power.
4. Demand accountability. Every penny that is spent unwisely or unlawfully deprives your children of educational dollars.
5. Educate yourself before you cast your ballot. Don't rely on friends & neighbors to tell you how to vote.
6. Speak up when you see something wrong. When warranted, report it to the proper authorities anonymously, if you wish.
7.Understand school finances. Since more than 70% of Wayland’s tax dollars are spent on our schools, it is critically important that the money be spent wisely. Would you like to see language offered at the elementary schools, fewer administrators and more teachers (smaller class sizes) and better MCAS or SAT scores?
8.Run for office or volunteer to serve on a board.
Supporting our schools is NOT accepting things as they are without question and never having the nerve to challenge the status quo. Truly supporting our schools is the opposite of that - it is getting in close-up, asking lots of questions and learning about why things are they way they are and then working to try to improve and expand on our strengths, while also dealing with our inefficiencies and striving to eliminate all fraud, waste and abuse, because every penny of every dollar should go toward educating our children.
A Culture of Fear
Why is everyone so damned scared in this town?Updated 7/22/15
A culture of fear and distrust continues to permeate the Wayland Public Schools. On May 8th, three days after providing Superintendent Paul Stein with a “long email” detailing alleged violations, Stephen Cass, the Wayland Public Schools’ Athletic Director, learned his contract would not be renewed.
Parents (and coaches) have been reluctant to speak publicly and defend the ousted whistleblower, fearing similar reprisal from the school administration against their children. Anonymous messages have emerged that express their concern.
1. Several residents who do not currently have children in the schools have been approached by parents who do, and have been asked to speak on their behalf. The reason? They are afraid that their children will suffer the consequences if they speak out themselves.
2. During the Wayland High School graduation ceremony, someone stealthily expressed their feelings by attaching flyers to some of the cars of graduation attendees parked in the high school lot. The flyers read “Stein, Crozier, Fraud – The 3 Amigos” At the June 8th meeting of the Wayland School Committee (elapsed time 0:30:42 on WayCam), Ramah Hawley, a Wayland resident and school employee, expressed her concern and dismay about the flyer at public comment. To date, no one has claimed responsibility for the flyers and we don't know who was behind them.
3. An anonymous letter was receieved with the words "Clean up the cesspool" hand-written at the bottom of a typed page that is extremely critical of the school administration. (Click on the letter for a larger version)
4. A letter simply signed “Varsity Boys Soccer Parents, past, present and future” details allegations against the head coach. The “culture of fear and retribution” mentioned in the letter has seemingly permeated the sport enough that the parents are now seeking a confidential meeting “with members of the School Committee and/or Paul Stein.” Here’s the letter:
It’s clear from the cryptic tone and lack of specificity in the SC attorney's letters that these agencies have been provided little incentive and will probably not pursue an investigation unless there is a public outcry. YOU can clean things up, or continue to watch the broom sweep them under the rug.
We've heard from parents, teachers, coaches, and even students that they have heard/seen improper practices within the Wayland athletics department, but they are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation. If you would like to remain anonymous but feel it’s important to be heard:
For concerns related to waste, fraud or abuse of power, file an anonymous complaint with the Office of the Inspector General:
• 24 Hour Hotline: 800-322-1323 / Fax: 617-723-2334
• Email: MA-IGO-General-Mail@massmail.state.ma.us
• U.S. Mail: Office of the Inspector General, John W. McCormack State Office Building, One Ashburton Place, Room 1311, Boston, MA 02108
For concerns related to personal gain (Conflict of Interest violations), file an anonymous complaint with the State Ethics Enforcement Division
State Ethics Enforcement Division (Complaints are required by law to be kept confidential, including the name of the complainant.)
• Call Intake Investigator (617) 371-9500 or (888) 485-4766 between noon and 5:00pm, Monday - Friday
• U.S. mail to: State Ethics Commission, Enforcement Division, One Ashburton Place, Room 619, Boston, MA 02108-1501
• File a Complaint Electronically by Email
Anonymous complaints cannot be accepted by email. If you wish to file a complaint anonymously, please call, write or visit the Commission.
If you are employed by the town and would like to learn more about the Whistleblower Act, there is a Whistlebower link at the top of every page on this site.
Contacting one or more of the above agencies is the most important and powerful step you can take. However, you can also email the School Committee , The Superintendent , or BOTH to let them know how you feel.
Or.... if you just want to vent, you just want to share your own experiences here on WT and you don't mind that it probably won't make a damn bit of difference, then go to our Comments page.