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Hayner responds to comments in letter

Bill Hayner, a member of the School Committee seeking reelection, submitted this letter. His campaign website >>

William Hayner, School Committee candidate, 2020Hayner

I would like to respond to Gwendolyn Wong’s statement about my remarks during the School Committee debate that I am a “slow learner who relies on others to interpret stats…”.  [See her letter >>]  I recognize the expertise in others and will rely on it.  This does not mean that I won’t question their interpretation and demand that they support their interpretation of statistics. 

Anyone who has watched the School Committee during the past nine years will note that I am not a passive participant during meetings.  I have taken and passed courses in statistics so that I can interpret them.  Mr. Schlichtman is an expert in statistical analysis when he speaks, and I will listen and have learned to rely on what he says.  He also puts into perspective the interpretation of the statistics that are being discussed.

One needs to remember that there are statistics to support any argument, false or true, if one wants to look for them.  Ms. Wong did not listen carefully to what Mr. Schlichtman or what I said regarding the “acceptable range.”  She needs to go back and listen carefully.

As a teacher of 28 years, I have learned that statistics are one of many tools that may indicate a trend.  Good school systems take a careful look at statistics, question them and when and, only when the statistics are supported by facts, then develop a response.  The school system’s primary goal is to provide the best education for all its students.

Do we have problems? Yes!  Do we need to address them?  Yes!  How do we do this?  We need to have a proactive administration from the top down.  This is something all the candidates agreed on.  We need to have a committee that works together and listens to opinions that as individuals we don’t necessarily agree with but will accept the majority view. 

Diversity is something that has changed in a positive way with the hiring of a more diverse staff during the past nine years.  It does not reflect Is there room for growth? Yes!  Is this a priority of the School Committee? Yes, and it continues with monthly and annual reports with ongoing conversations on how to improve our hiring and retention.

I asked the following question during the debate: “What is the School Committee’s role with regard to the superintendent, and are there limits?”  If one is to be a member of the School Committee, one must understand that the committee member does represent the public but once elected should not promise that he/she will go and seek a public referendum on every issue.  The School Committee member needs to be responsive to the public but within the School Committee Policy BDA-E.  This document is something each committee member signs once a year during our organizational meeting.  Take the time to read it and understand that the committee you elect is expected to adhere to these norms. 

File: BDA-E - SCHOOL COMMITTEE NORMS AND STANDARDS

We, the Arlington School Committee, acknowledge that a School Committee meeting is a meeting of School Committee members that is held in public and not a public meeting and that we will make every effort to ensure that meetings are effective and efficient To that end, we acknowledge the importance of subcommittees and we and the Superintendent agree to utilize them to focus on specific topics in-depth and to prepare for presentation, deliberation, and possible action by the School Committee.

We, the Arlington School Committee, set forth these Standards and Norms that we will all commit to abide by as individuals and as a Committee:

1.  Represent the needs and interests of all students in the district.

2.  Exercise leadership in vision, planning, policy making, evaluation, and advocacy on behalf of the students and district, not in managing the day-to-day operations of the district.

3.  Conduct our business through a set agenda. Emerging items will be addressed in subsequent meetings through agenda items.

4.  Provide full disclosure. Each member will provide input, encouragement, express concerns and positions rather than withhold information from other members. When a Committee member feels that there has not been full disclosure, an objective process for revisiting the issue will be used.

5.  Maintain an open environment where each member is empowered to freely express opinions, concerns, and ideas. Committee members will work together to clarify and restate discussions in order to strive for full understanding.

6.  Keep an open mind and accept that they can change their opinions by recognizing that they are not locked into their initial stated positions.

7.  Make decisions on information and not on personalities. Committee members will act with the best information available at the time considering data, the superintendent's recommendations, proposals, and suggestions. Committee members will strive to make the best decision at the time.

8.  Debate the issues, not one another. The Committee will engage in critical thinking, expecting all Committee members to freely offer differing points of view as part of the discussion, prior to making a board decision.

9.  Not take unilateral action. A Committee member's authority is derived only through a majority decision of the Committee acting as a whole during an open, public meeting.

10.  Attend meetings well prepared to discuss issues on the agenda and will be prepared to make decisions, striving for efficient decision making.

11.  Strive to have no surprises for the committee or superintendent. All members will receive the same information on all topics in a timely manner.

12.  Strive to reach decisions by consensus. Discuss with respect, disagree without acrimony. When consensus is not possible, all members will publicly abide by the majority decision.

13.  Understand and respect the chain of command as it concerns roles and responsibilities and direct others to do the same.

14.  Review and revise our standards and norms, as needed, as part of the committee's self-evaluation.


This letter was published Friday, April 24.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong
 

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