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Cross Principal Vetoes Student Election Results

by Melissa Bailey | Jun 22, 2011 7:44 am

(101) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Schools, School Reform

Melissa Bailey Photos Wilbur Cross High School Principal Peggy Moore gave students a parting lesson in democracy as the academic year came to a close: After an outspoken junior won an election, she added new rules and nullified the results.

The student council at Wilbur Cross High School held the election on June 9. When students tallied the 29 votes, they concluded Isaiah Lee had edged out his opposition to become next year’s president of the student body.

The next day, Principal Moore declared the election “null and void” because students failed to follow the rules. She said she will not allow another election to take place before next fall.

Moore gave six reasons for her decision—reasons that amounted to new rules that were never disclosed before the vote, according to two student leaders. School administrators claim at least two of the rules were made clear in advance of the vote.

The incident was the second time this year that Moore has put her foot down on the activities of student organizers at the city’s largest high school. Moore took over in the fall as principal of the 1,466-student comprehensive school on East Rock’s Mitchell Drive.

Under her watch, the student Political Action Club was disbanded after holding a public demonstration advocating for more textbooks and resources for kids. Moore said the club dissolved because the student advisor no longer wished to participate. That advisor, calculus teacher Barry Kleinfeld, has declined comment to the Independent, and no other adult has stepped in to replace him. Students marched to the New Haven Green after Moore denied them permission to hold the event on school grounds.

Thomas MacMillan Photo The latest incident makes it harder for students’ voices to be heard, said James Doss-Gollin (pictured), vice president of the student council.

“I know it’s hard for a new principal in a new school, and that everyone’s going to have their own style of dealing with students, but we had the political action club shut down earlier this year ... and now we’re having the student council left without leadership for next year,” Doss-Gollin said.

“Students really want to have a voice” on education issues, especially in light of the citywide school reform effort, he said. “Without any elected student government, it’s going to be challenging for students to make sure they’re heard.”

Both run-ins with the principal involve a similar group of politically active students, including Isaiah Lee.

Lee, a junior, burst onto the citywide political scene on the day of that March 30 protest when he camped outside the mayor’s office with a megaphone and refused to leave until he met “the main man.” (The meeting later took place.) He later took stage during a union solidarity rally, organized fellow students behind a threatened boycott of standardized tests, and has lately been pushing for student representation on the city school board.

He took part in that activism as an outsider, through a new grassroots student group he started, New Haven Students for Change. His attempt to become president of the establishment-approved student government caused some excitement at Cross. Lee was one of four candidates who ran for president of the student body.

“This was our most controversial election in years,” said Lea Winter, the student council president for the past three years. “There was a lot of competition. There were a lot of candidates who were very strong.”

Winter, who’s scheduled to give a valedictorian speech at Cross’s graduation Thursday, is leaving her post at Cross to become a freshman at Yale University.

“Null And Void”

The election was overseen by Doss-Gollin, another graduating senior who’s on his way to Yale. In phone interviews Tuesday, Doss-Gollin and Winter recounted how students picked new leaders for next year—then had their vote overruled by the powers that be.

Elections at Cross are held a little differently each year, depending on the wishes of the student body. There have been varying numbers of vice presidents. Some elections have been open to the whole student body, others restricted to the student council.

At the outset of this month’s election, Moore told students to run the the vote based on a student council constitution written in 1979. Students dusted it off. It turned out to offer little guidance over how the elections should be run except to say that only student council members can vote.

Students compiled a list of candidates. They held a debate. They rounded up the members of the student council for a vote. On Thursday, June 9, council leaders gathered in a conference room a couple of doors down from the principal’s office.

Winter said she poked her head in to see Principal Moore.

“Hi, here’s a copy of our ballot. We’re holding an election in the conference room,” Winter said she told Moore.

Students collected 29 ballots. They tallied them up. They concluded Isaiah Lee had squeaked out a win for president, beating Erin Cofrancesco 15 to 14, according to Winter. They also elected Alexandra Torresquintero as vice president, Lily Engbith as secretary, and freshman Max Martin as treasurer.

The next day Winter received an email from the student council advisor, history and civics teacher Al Meadows.

“Per the principal that election results are hereby null and void,” Meadows announced in the email.

The rest of the email follows:

      Reasons given

      - No member of the faculty present (specially me)
      - academic standings of those running
      - academic standings of those voting
      - election tally and who voted
      - past practice and protocol
      - notifications to principal and faculty advisor prior to any election

      Al Meadows

      Sent from my iPhone

The list came as a surprise to the students.

“We didn’t find out about these rules until after the results came out,” Doss-Gollin said. “None of those rules were written in the constitution.”

“New Rules”

They amounted to “new rules,” Winter agreed.

Winter said students were never told that the advisor has to be in the room at the time of the vote.

Winter said students have typically held elections in Meadows’ room, and he was usually present because he happened to be there. She said his room was unavailable on June 9. She said students advised him they would be holding the election elsewhere. Winter said voting was overseen by three seniors—two of whom are legal adults over the age of 18.

“I think that there could be a little bit more trust given to the students,” she said.

In an interview Tuesday, Meadows acknowledged he did know there was an election in the school, but he was unable to attend. He said in the past seven years he has served as advisor to the student council, he has always been present for elections. The rule isn’t written in the constitution, but it’s a long-standing practice that students should have been aware of, he said.

Meadows said he does trust Lea and her classmates to count the vote.

But he raised other problems with the process. Meadows said he asked all the candidates to come see him prior to the vote. “I need to know everyone who’s running.” He said all but one did so. “Isaiah never came to see me, because Isaiah wants to do things his way.”

Meadows acknowledged Isaiah was a controversial pick for president: “He won, and that has colored some things for some people.” But he said Lee was not the reason for the nullification—it came down to a failure to follow the rules.

Meadows said he made clear to students two weeks before the election that the principal would like to see a protocol by which the elections would be run.

“Ms. Moore being new, and not knowing” about how elections were run at Cross, had requested the protocol, he said. “I asked the students to turn in a protocol. It never happened.”

Meadows said if the decision were up to him, he would have discussed the glitches in the process with the students before determining how to proceed.

“Would I have null and voided it? I would have talked to the kids,” Meadows said. “I would have said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ I trust those kids.”

Melissa Bailey PhotoIn an interview Tuesday, Moore was asked her reasons for voiding the election results.

“There are some criteria that have to be met,” she replied. “It includes students’ grades, GPA,” and “discipline reports.” She said she could not discuss the matter further due to confidentiality reasons.

Lee, who takes honors and Advanced Placement classes, said he was not made aware of any requirement for a candidate’s GPA, nor does he believe that he would fail any such requirement.

“I was certainly distracted by many of the things I was involved with [this year], but at the same time, my grades are certainly up to par,” he said.

Moore also said students also broke the rules by failing to have an advisor present for the vote.

Doss-Gollin said that students are willing to work with the new rules—if they can figure out what they are. However, after meeting with the principal, they were unable to determine an election protocol that Moore would consider valid.

Moore said with graduation taking place this Thursday, she hasn’t had time to determine proper rules for another election.

“This whole student council election is least important right now,” Moore said. “Right now it is extremely important to make sure students are ready for graduation.” She said she would “probably” settle the question of the election protocol before the end of the year, “but at this time I am not going to entertain that idea or expend much energy right now.” She said she is focusing on the positive changes to the graduation rate, not the “negativity from a small group of students.”

Moore referred further comment to Chris Hoffman, the spokesman for the public schools.

Hoffman said the nullification had nothing to do with any single student. Rather it was the result of two rules being broken—an election protocol was not submitted before the vote, and the advisor was not present. Hoffman said students will have to wait until September to sort out the matter.

“There’s going to have to be a new election in the fall. There’s just not time,” Hoffman said.

Meadows said the additional reasons cited in his email—in particular, the criteria that the academic standings of each candidate and voter be vetted—came from Ms. Moore. He said academic vetting would be a new rule for student elections, and that he understood Moore was suggesting it for future elections, not as a retroactive rule for the past election.

Lee said he campaigned on three issues: Getting student representation on the city school board, reforming the school discipline code, and school sanitation.

“Our bathrooms have had no soap in the last three months,” he said. “It’s disgusting.”

Despite his reputation as a radical, Lee said he aims to work together with the superintendent and principal on those issues. While he believes he won the election, he said he will abide by the principal’s determination.

“I’ll respect whatever she decides. I think I would be a great president, but if she feels that I would not be,” Lee said, he won’t put up a fight.

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posted by: Darnell on June 22, 2011  8:07am

Shameful! Absolutely Shameful!!! What are we teaching our children, Chinese style politics? If you don’t like the results, change the rules and void the election. Now that I think of it, it isn’t much different from the Board of Aldermen. Stifle debate, stretch the truth, ignore the rules.

Shameful!

posted by: cross student on June 22, 2011  8:09am

Another great PR move by Cross and Moore.  Unreal.  According our teachers at Cross - last week all the teachers had to have a “conversation” with Moore to defend their jobs - how can she defend her’s?  We have 8 administrators and 10 consultants at school and they still can’t help kids run an election correctly. Mr Meadows and the admin. knew there was going to be an election, students had announced it over PA for days, why did they not show?

posted by: Fairhavener on June 22, 2011  8:14am

Here’s a lesson guys: learn the rules before the election.

posted by: John Tulin on June 22, 2011  8:17am

Fortunately, Cross has the best STUDENTS around…great job Chaquetta

http://nhregister.com/articles/2011/06/22/news/new_haven/doc4e01476730c68984747473.txt

posted by: Can this be true? on June 22, 2011  8:19am

If this is an accurate account of what happened, the Cross community should be outraged.  If it isn’t, there is little hope for the future of the school because the community’s apparent indifference to this story of abuse means that people have lost hope. 

The climate at Cross is very bad, and this story, while disturbing, is consistent with what has been happening all year.  Are the students asleep?  Are the parents not paying attention to what is happening in a once-great school?

posted by: East Rock Independent on June 22, 2011  8:30am

The democratic values we choose to instill - or not to instill - in our youth from an early age are what they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

What are we teaching our kids??

posted by: VD on June 22, 2011  8:42am

Depressing story, unless you approve of autocratic leadership.

posted by: LOL on June 22, 2011  8:53am

Typical NHPS.  How “dare” Lee challenge authority.  Doesn’t he know that NHPS administrators and central office staff know EVERYTHING?

Think this is bad, well check out Celentano.  The building is a zoo and the principal there just received her second straight poor official review from staff and even the students voted the teachers more favorably than her.  All this with a small increase in test scores despite having more resources than her predecessors ever did (that and the fact this principal turns a blind eye to teachers who teach to the test).

Low and behold, there’s an article in the Register, noting how seventh graders at Celentano are speaking out against violence.  Well, check out the survey, which shows a good portion of them don’t feel safe in their own school. Those students should start by talking about that.  Of course, that wouldn’t make for good publicity for Mayo and his cronies.

Just another showpiece from the dog-n-pony show that is NHPS.

posted by: robn on June 22, 2011  8:59am

devils advocate…
If the principal didn’t know about the election, maybe the student body didn’t know about the election and maybe thats why only 29 out of how many hundreds (thousands?) voted. If democracy is about inclusion and participation, then this election failed miserably before the principal even got involved. Sorry kids!

[Editor’s Note: At the school administration’s request, the students were told to follow the rules in the “constitution” that allow only student council members to vote.]

posted by: Lawrence East Rock on June 22, 2011  9:07am

“There are some criteria that have to be met,” she replied. “It includes students’ grades, GPA,” and “discipline reports.” She said she could not discuss the matter further due to confidentiality reasons.

That’s the confidentiality side step…..she has obviously inferred that the student elected has disciplinary and academic issues but oh wait, she can’t discuss that due to confidentiality.

Please remind me how many administrators work at Cross High School and why it is the students’ responsibility to educate the principal on the protocol of the student elections?  Also, Mr. Meadows knew the election was taking place, could not attend, but did not cancel it in his absence.  He waits until after the election results are revealed.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 22, 2011  9:14am

This may be a cheesy thing for me to say but…what don’t kill us only makes us stronger. Takes this and make it your sword.

I remember when you spoke at the BOF meetings you where powerful and are our future. Know that and be that!

It appears from the story the new rules where not available and there four should they apply?? At least in the classes elections, even if they are held in the fall?

This one is for the adults out there
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQtRsSmU-6k

posted by: And how's this for irony? on June 22, 2011  9:18am

This and other dictatorial approaches in the school have not changed student behavior in the halls.  Disrespect, students breaking rules about hats and cellphones, and class tardiness are huge problems that she doesn’t address. 

How will the principal be evaluated?  If we look at her relationships with faculty, I would give her a poor rating.  If we look at her relationship with students, the rating would be worse.  If we look at her relationships with parents, the rating would also be unacceptable.  The only rating I know that would keep her in her position is that the superintendent likes her.

When is the public going to see the elephant in the middle of the courtyard at WCHS?

posted by: really? on June 22, 2011  9:19am

‘Shameful! Absolutely Shameful!!! What are we teaching our children, Chinese style politics?’

As someone who is Chinese, I’m terribly offended by that sentiment.

A true election would’ve been open to the entire student body, not just the student council.

Also, aren’t these students minors?  Is it OK to be using their names?

posted by: ASL on June 22, 2011  9:36am

Challenging the stupid sh*t that my school administrators (at a small private school in NY) did was a formative part of my teen years.  Granted, it’s sad that most of what comes out of Principal Moore’s mouth makes me nostalgic for Mayor D’s staff gag order, but I hope these students come away stronger for having had their own thoughts and opinions and having stood up for them.

posted by: alexey on June 22, 2011  9:37am

Wilbur Cross, where the students at like adults, and the adults act like children.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on June 22, 2011  9:48am

Is this a learning institution? Or a prison?

The parents of every student in the city should express outrage over this cruel form of dictatorship.

I implore these students to rally in larger numbers to respond to this form of disrespect.

However, I caution you not to stoop to an undignified level of response.

Remember, always display dignity in everything you do.

posted by: Hu Flung Dung on June 22, 2011  10:03am

Bang on, Darnell. And we all know what happens when the Great Helmsman rules ubber alles, don’t we?

posted by: robn on June 22, 2011  10:03am

Aha! Then if students we’re recently notified by administration that only the student council was allowed to vote, then they WERE aware that a vote was about to take place.

posted by: streever on June 22, 2011  10:06am

Fairhavener:
Yea, the rules which are not written down anywhere?

Robn:
Apparently only members of student council could vote.

Cross Kids:
It gets better. You’ll eventually be free of this autocratic, insipid, and irrelevant woman. If the NHI coverage has been at all factual (And I am sure it has been), then you are being done a great disservice by your school and our system. I’m sorry.

posted by: Rachel on June 22, 2011  10:07am

I just created a SeeClickFix.com issue on this, so we can push for a change & reinstate these election results/at least talk about it: http://www.seeclickfix.com/users/15393.

posted by: Darnell on June 22, 2011  10:11am

@ Really?

“As someone who is Chinese, I’m terribly offended by that sentiment.”

Really, you are Chinese and are offended by the statement that Chinese politics is closed and authoritarian? Is there something wrong with that statement, is it untrue?

The Congressional Research Service (http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R41007_20100414.pdf)—“The inner workings of China’s government have been shrouded in secrecy, and formal institutions can mask the underlying dynamics of political power. In addition, because of China’s Leninist history, it is easy to assume that politics in China is rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian. People’s Republic of China (PRC) officials routinely justify actions to inhibit such freedoms by citing other constitutional articles requiring citizens to keep ‘state secrets’ and not take acts detrimental to ‘the security, honour and interests of the motherland.’ What constitutes a state secret or an act detrimental to national interests is left wholly undefined. This opaqueness leaves citizens at the mercy of whatever definition suits a presiding Chinese official on any given occasion, allowing the state easily to prosecute individuals for a wide range of politically related activities.”

Does this not sound like how the Cross principal runs her school? Disbanding groups she doesn’t agree with politically; voiding elections that apparently all the students (and sounds like even the advisor) have said were run fairly. Re-interpreting and/or changing the rules after the fact.

So what exactly in my comment offends you?

posted by: Darnell on June 22, 2011  10:40am

Streever - “Cross Kids: It gets better. You’ll eventually be free of this autocratic, insipid, and irrelevant woman. If the NHI coverage has been at all factual (And I am sure it has been), then you are being done a great disservice by your school and our system. I’m sorry.”

Yeah, then they enter the real world, where if they disagree with the powers to be, they are marginalized, their communities are ignored, and they and their families are personally threatened with job losses and expulsion from their political party.

Take my advice, stay in school, it is much worse out here in the real world, where for all your trouble you also have to pay bills and taxes.

posted by: roasty on June 22, 2011  10:50am

OOOhhhhhh, Melissa….you’re going to be in troouuuble!  Ms Moore scolded her staff and said ‘what happens at Cross, stays at Cross’.  To the principal’s office young lady. 

Another thing, see above comments - Moore, Meadows knew about election.  100%  That is not in question.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 22, 2011  11:17am

Streever have to admit Darnell has a point :)

posted by: Noteworthy on June 22, 2011  11:18am

Peggy Moore is a disgrace. This is just the latest outrage from this overwhelmed, under-performing administrator and union apologist who embraces bribes in the amount of 1% of payroll to execute educational reforms. She complains about working long hours and not getting overtime in addition to her nearly $130K in salary plus benefits.

What has yet to be covered by the press is Ms. Moore’s proposed cancellation of the the graduation speeches of the valedictorian and salutatorian for the WC Class of 2011. Moore announced that neither of these top peforming students, exhibiting exceptional academic honors and achievement across 4 years at WC - would be allowed to speak at graduation ceremonies. This is unheard of anywhere in the country as far as I know, and what my experience is.

I was told by an extremely reliable source that Moore felt the two students did not represent the student body as a whole, or the graduating class in particular. The top performers, I’m told are white. Would it have been any different if the top performers were black? Is that what she means by representing the class? In this day and age? It gets worse.

She finally relented and is allowing the students to speak for a total time of 2 minutes each. How is one to inspire a class to go forth and achieve great things and overcome adversity in 2 minutes? That’s worse than testifying before BOA President Carl Goldfield. He gives you 3 mintues after waiting for 3 hours.

Indeed, Ms. Moore gave her own version of a rousing speech to the dignified and stately induction ceremony of the National Honor Society two weeks ago. It celebrated the graduation of this years seniors and inducted 56 WC juniors in the Society. To do so, students had to be invited based on academic excellence. But they also had to fill out an application and in great detail list out their leadership and personal involvement with extra curricular activities in the school and in the community.

The program said Superintendent Reggie Mayo would attend and say a few words. He did not show.

Ms. Moore gave the opening address. It was ill-prepared, poorly executed and the content was completely void of anything resembling inspiration for these young people and was barely congratulatory. Her closing remarks were even worse if that is possible.

Further - Ms. Moore has made it clear, according to my sources, that honors classes, AP Classes and the students in them are not her priorities. She is consumed with the poorly performing, the delinquents and others who don’t take education seriously. It appears Ms. Moore is not a multi-tasker but a micro-manager who is incapable of caring for a broad range of students and celebrating each of their successes.

This and all these incidents this year call into question not only her leadership at WC - a place of 60% or more drop-outs - but also her ability to make rational decisions and properly support the programs and students in them including the teachers. 

Equally at fault in this debacle, is Reggie Mayo and Will Clark.  These two are the ones who promoted Moore into a job for which she had damn little training and zero experience. I don’t want to hear about educational reform when this is the calibre of person running the schools. It starts at the top. What we find there is reflected in the hallways and educational outcomes. Why am I not surprised we are doing so poorly by almost any measure?

posted by: Goatville mom on June 22, 2011  11:21am

This is a perfect example of why I am infuriated when stories and comments talk about how all the problems of NHPS are due to “lack of parental involvement”. The system is a joke. And how about this:
- No member of the faculty present (specially me)
“specially” ???

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 22, 2011  11:21am

totally thinking of this song now :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4SKL7f9n58&feature=related

posted by: Great post, Noteworthy on June 22, 2011  11:45am

Noteworthy’s comments included, “the ones who promoted Moore into a job for which she had damn little training and zero experience. I don’t want to hear about educational reform when this is the calibre of person running the schools. It starts at the top. What we find there is reflected in the hallways and educational outcomes. Why am I not surprised we are doing so poorly by almost any measure?”

Noteworthy effectively summarized a very bad year for the students, parents and faculty of Wilbur Cross High School.  However, in addition to the characterization of the principal as having “little training and zero experience,” I add: 
1) no desire to be principal of the school
2) no interest in improving her own performance, which she considers to be perfectly acceptable
3) no interest in establishing effective working relationships with her school community, most of which she seems to regard as the enemy
4) no evidence of vision or of instructional leadership, both of which she assigns to others to do
5) absolutely no ability to lead

This is acceptable?  If so, to whom?

posted by: Kevin Ewing on June 22, 2011  11:45am

I’ve been connecting with my high school classmates on Facebook because of the recent passing of our high school principal. She was there from the founding of the school in 1973 to her retirement in 1997 so there are a ton of us connecting and remembering. She always encouraged us to stand up for our rights and let us make our own decisions. Even the bad ones (that wouldn’t cause harm.)

One story shared was of the time a school board member complained about the boys wearing shorts in our small, no air-conditioned school. He wanted her to send the students home.  Word got to the boys so the next day several came wearing long skirts. The board member was livid and demanded the boys be expelled.  She said she would if he could show her where in the dress code it said boys couldn’t wear skirts. The board member said he would have her job. She told him he couldn’t DO her job and walked away.  Later she called in the boys and gave them fashion tips.

That’s the kind of civic education I got in my St. Louis Public High School. It made me who I am today. This is probably the most important period in these young people’s lives. It would be a SHAME to mess it up over some foolishness.  Let’s start giving our kids a COMPLETE education. (Maybe Mr. Carolina needs to give a workshop.)

posted by: streever on June 22, 2011  11:47am

@Darnell
You do have a point :)

posted by: Kumbaya on June 22, 2011  11:47am

This is shameful, and a gratuitous abuse of power. 

So far as I can see, the elected president is doing everything right—he is advocating forcefully and peacefully for change, and has won the support of his peers. 

Further, I have supervised activities in which at least one of the students named in this article has participated—and I was struck by his intelligence, focus and maturity. These are great kids, and they deserve better from their school.

posted by: VD on June 22, 2011  11:52am

NHPS is a school system that should be encouraging bright and outspoken students to remain in NH public schools and thrive while there.  This particular principal is not an appropriate fit for a school reform movement.  Keep the election in perspective.  It’s one year and one student.  A confident leader who can contain their insecurity would work with that student.  Mutual learning may even happen.  If Ms. Moore feels that student Lee is unprofessional, show him by example a different path.  He’s what, 17?  Be the adult.  Nullifying elections because you do not like the result is a terrible example.

posted by: Tony Pellegrino on June 22, 2011  11:53am

Disgraceful…

When people ask me why I left teaching, I answer them by giving examples of people like Ms. Moore.  How this woman is allowed to make 130k/year is amazing to me.  I guess when you have Reggie Mayo…  running the show it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. What a great lesson in democracy.  Create rules governing an election after the election takes place.  Sounds straight out of an autocrat’s rule book.

posted by: Darnell on June 22, 2011  12:03pm

@Streever and Cedar - It ain’t easy out here…lol

Cedar - how do you find all of these videos/songs to mach the moment?

posted by: eve on June 22, 2011  12:13pm

1. Why does the Independent only run stories about the high achieving kids at Cross? There is a whole world of Cross students who are not in the Honors/ AP Track..speaking of which:
2. The “student council” at Cross—how were these kids picked? As far I know, most Homerooms did not know they could, or should pick student council reps. Who were the 29 students who voted? Check with Mr. Meadows about the “typical” student council rep—I know that some of the non -Honors, non-AP students do not feel comfortable in a group where they are a lone voice with their perspective.
3. There could have been a better, more diplomatic way for Ms. Moore to call for new elections…
4. Looking forward to the Independent looking at education with a bit more depth!

posted by: VD on June 22, 2011  12:22pm

What has yet to be covered by the press is Ms. Moore’s proposed cancellation of the the graduation speeches of the valedictorian and salutatorian for the WC Class of 2011. Moore announced that neither of these top peforming students, exhibiting exceptional academic honors and achievement across 4 years at WC - would be allowed to speak at graduation ceremonies.

^^jaw drop

posted by: Sheila Mc7 on June 22, 2011  12:54pm

Well, now I’m having trouble squaring what went on this episode with the school’s own stated
‘Civic Expectations’ for its students, as listed on their website (http://www.nhps.net/wilburcross and scroll to the very bottom of the page)...

Wilbur Cross students will:
1. Be capable of responsible decision-making and independent action;
2. Understand the democratic process, be aware of the rights and responsibilities of a citizen in a democratic society, and recognize the importance of participation in a democracy;
3. Voice support and dissent in appropriate forums, including advocacy for the rights and welfare of others;
4. Contribute in a positive way to the school and community via community service and/or involvement

posted by: joe on June 22, 2011  1:01pm

If I were a student at Cross, I would start a student petition to have Ms. Moore replaced. She is clearly not suitable for the job of principal.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 22, 2011  2:14pm

sadly even if Ms. Moore was demoted to teachers…she will still make 129,000 ...$1000.00 less than to a shaddy BOE deal. Maybe she is trying to get demoted ...less work same pay.!

posted by: Lynda Faye Wilson on June 22, 2011  2:16pm

What I’m about to say may sound cold and callous, however it is REAL.  I am appalled at what our children have to contend with in school today.  This country is suppose to have been built upon the foundation of democracy.  But, it appears more and more daily, the foundation is being chipped away.  ADULTS (Parents and/or Paid Instructors)are suppose to lead by example need to step-up in defense for true democracy. What is being displayed by Mrs. Moore and a number of others employed by New Haven Public School System are certainly not demostrating democracy or rendering the spirit of encouragement for success.  It’s a heart wrenching shame such actions are allowed.  It is clearly the blatant act of oppression. Parents, I’m crying-out for our children “HELP.”
IF WE EVER NEEDED YOUR INVOLVEMENT, WE NEED IT NOW. THEY ARE WORTH IT, IT’S THEIR LIVES AT STAKE. MINE, YOURS (agree or not)EVERYBODYS’ IS WORTH IT.

posted by: cross freshman on June 22, 2011  2:19pm

This year was my first year at Cross. I would consider myself to be a friend of Isaiah and aside from our friendship believe that he would be the most qualified student in our school to be president. Sure, maybe he’s a bit radical, but he really cares about the well-being of students in our school and is adamant that we all get a voice in school decisions. I think the real reason-as i bet quite a few other cross students do- that Peggy Moore nullified the results is that Isaiah has already brought her terrible job as a principal into the light. She knows as well do the others who know Isaiah wants to and will be heard and she does not want this to also be true for when he is president and does all he can to showcase her horrific job. But I have no doubt in my mind that Isaiah will be president and Peggy will just be another of Cross’ previous principals!
-maija

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on June 22, 2011  2:21pm

What has become of Wilbur Cross High School in the last several years is just a damn crying shame.

posted by: youth unleashed member on June 22, 2011  2:25pm

Hello, I am a student from New Haven public schools, and also a member of a student-led organization called Youth Unleashed. I do not agree with the fact that my fellow peer is being stripped of his rights as a student of new haven public schools and as a citizen of the United States of America. We are given the right to freedom of speech and I believe that this principle is trying to take that away from my fellow peer, he is an advocate for students of New haven, a very wise one, and she has no proper cause to strip him of his victory that he rightfully earned. In Youth Unleashed we fight for students to be heard, so we encourage all students of New Haven to contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we would love to partner with any other student led organizations so that we can work together to be heard, Power grows in numbers.

posted by: solsbury on June 22, 2011  2:41pm

Eve wrote: 1. Why does the Independent only run stories about the high achieving kids at Cross? There is a whole world of Cross students who are not in the Honors/ AP ....

AGREE! let the WHOLE student body vote on ALL student council reps AND officers…. to let 15% of the parents and kids run the school is wrong.
The principal is wrong, wrong, wrong when it comes to the process described here.  But it is true that the entire NHI and community view WC as some private school for their precious students…
If only the privileged and high achieving students from certain neighborhoods and their parents are involved, how will we ever close the achievement gap with the rest of the students?

posted by: RE: LOL on June 22, 2011  3:07pm

LOL/Brutus/whatever fake name you want to use ... All you’re doing is trying to bring down the school, but no one’s listening. A leader does something about it. ...

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 22, 2011  3:33pm

I can not answer for the NHI but my observation is that this city has over 54 schools and this paper has 4 reporters. They have a whole section dedicated to the schools
http://newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/category/school_reform/

but they cover new from all over the city. News that not many other news sources cover. I know that I have had events in my area.
http://newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/category/cedar_hill/

And wrote the story myself because I realized they have a small staff that can not be everywhere at once. Have an interesting story? Paul is always willing to look at it. And post it sometimes

posted by: Beat hillhouse on June 22, 2011  3:43pm

29 votes is not an election… This was a small group of kids trying to fix the election!!! For the record Moore’s still cleaning up Coggins mess!

posted by: goatville mom on June 22, 2011  4:12pm

@Beat hillhouse,... The election policy, from the school’s constitution, states that only student council members can vote. There are 29 student council members. This is clearly stated in the article.

posted by: "Beat hillhouse" Must Mean Some Other Wilbur Cross on June 22, 2011  4:35pm

To say that Mrs. Moore is cleaning up messes left by Rose Coggins is ridiculous because there are more messes now than there were before, and momentum is moving in the wrong direction.  Rose had shortcomings, some of them which caused me concern, but she at least had a clue about running a high school.

Talk to any random group of the better teachers at Cross, and if they feel they can confide in you without fear of retribution, they will tell you how dysfunctional the school administration is.  Further, some of them will tell you about their efforts to find employment elsewhere because they don’t see things improving at Cross.

Talk to random students, some of whom might not recognize Mrs. Moore if they saw her in the school hallways, and ask how many of them feel any sense of connection with their principal.  Ask about the threatening approaches she uses when addressing students, and then observe also how students flagrantly ignore her edicts.

Ask parents if they feel respected and heard by the principal of their school.

When the district finally releases the school climate survey (which staff have already seen), ask how a principal that the superintendent enthusiastically endorsed last August could be leading a school that received such negative responses from teachers, students and parents.

Wilbur Cross is a school on life support, but without a change in leadership, the board of education might just as well pull the plug.

posted by: Wilbur Cross Student on June 22, 2011  4:45pm

The elections at Cross this year were actually a pretty big deal, and the vast majority, if not all, of the students knew what was going on. On top of that, a huge amount of time was spent going over, and figuring out, the protocol of the elections, so obviously there was something going on if Moore sprung this on not only Isaiah, Lea, and James, but Mr. Meadows too.

Only Student Council members could vote in the election, but it was by no means fixed. The fact that it was so close is no surprise either. However, if Erin Cofrancesco had won I don’t think Moore would have nullified the results.

Frankly, Peggy Moore is the worst thing that could have happened to cross this year. ... The fact of the matter is, Moore hates Isaiah, and has tried to harm him many times before. This is just one more example of this happening.

As a Wilbur Cross student who knows every single person involved in this mess (well, everyone aside from Moore, but considering she’s never around, it’s quite something that I even know what she looks like) I am disgusted by our absolutely terrible principal’s actions, and am appalled by what she is doing to the school.

People always say that if students want something to happen then the students need to get involved. This past year at Wilbur Cross, this statement this statement has evolved into a paradox of sorts; Students such as Isaiah try to get involved and change things, only they get in trouble for it and new restrictions and rules are made in response, this causes more problems and students want to do something again, so this vicious cycle just repeats.

posted by: Mister Jones on June 22, 2011  5:27pm

What a mess.  The students are getting a lesson that school is not a democracy and “student rights” is often a euphemism for the lack thereof.  But just because, the principal has the power does not mean that it is wise to use it.  [And these problems sure do look like they could have been avoided if the advisor or the principal acted in advance instead of after the fact.]  The purpose of high school is to educate, not just in the classroom but through participation in things like student government, and the principal is setting a bad example about the exercise of power.  Sure, it will now become a teaching moment, but not the way intended.

posted by: Cross Student on June 22, 2011  6:00pm

Knowing Isaiah personally, I will say that he certainly wants to work with administration. All of the fighting that he has done, he see’s has gotten him know where. You all comment on this article, but none of you have come to his side and supported him in this struggle. People talk about how great it is what Isaiah is doing,but knowone is there to lend him a hand. Isaiah has informed me today, that he may choose to just step down from his president-elect position. He is sick of the fighting, and sacrifices his time, energy, as well as academic success for the community, without support for the community. He is on the verge of giving up, what are all of you going to do to support him.

posted by: trainspotter on June 22, 2011  6:28pm

There seems to be no end to the incompetence that is running rampant within the NHPS. Miss Moore is not the only hand-picked darling of Mr. Mayo to totally alienate both the parents and students at a New Haven School this year. Rise up and let your voice be heard. These schools don’t belong to Moore or Clark or Mayo. It is time to remind them of this. Good luck Mr. Lee. I, will be rooting for you to carry the day.

posted by: The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee on June 22, 2011  7:40pm

This is an absolutely SHAMEFUL display of political, dictatorial bullying of students by an adult educator who SHOULD know better.

I am completely flabbergasted that this is allowed to take place in a public school in a free society.

Do you really not understand that you’re using the same type of tactics used against this student’s foreparents (and your’s) as a way to disenfranchise them politically?

This Is Shameful!

posted by: cross teacher on June 22, 2011  8:57pm

Cross teachers are too scared to speak up to 54 Meadow Street, and those who have spoken up have been ignored too long.  Students, parents, and citizens, if you have a problem with what’s going on at Cross, please go to the next meeting of the Board of Ed on June 27 at 5:30 pm.  Very few people attend Board of Ed meetings, held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month, so your attendance would likely make a big impact.

Thank you NHI for continuing your coverage of this story.

posted by: Betty St. Romain on June 22, 2011  9:16pm

What a mockery of the democratic process at Cross High School! That’s what happens when you put people in positions they do not belong in! Moore was a Middle School Principal and did a great job as one for many years! She is the President of the Principals Union a paid position and was out spoken towards Johnny Boy, the Mayor of the number four crime city currently in the US. He did a mob tactic on her and put her at Cross for punishment which only punished our students and the staff! Why would you have someone as a High School Principal who never taught anything but 3-5 and was a para and is clueless about high school pedagogy??? Only in New Haven Public Schools. Now, everyone knows in the city of New Haven Cross has a private school within a school! The third floor AP in which very few students of color are allowed and does not qualify to be in those classes! The ten Yale sscholarships that go out through out New Haven County ate usually given to none students of color because they do not make the grades or classes and basically it is iinstitutional racism and lack of parental involvement that has miseducated these students as ill prepared to compete and therefore, the other students are prepared academically and socially to earn the scholarly to put them in a position to do better and earn the grades. In order for schools to reform in New Haven they will need Instructional Leaders who understand Authentic pedagogy and how it is taught in urban school settings. Peggy Moore should be back in a middle school where she did good as a principal! She had to be punished for being outspoken for the principals union by the Johnny Boy of New Haven! Remember NHPS is run on nepotism, racism, and politicas It’s not about the kids! To the young man hold your head up high and get a scholarship to Yale, Harvard, or Hampton next year! That’s what I want to see you fighting for! Parents get off your butts like me and attend meetings and have a voice for our kids. We have excellent Teachers in New Haven and we have those who pick up a pay check and do little work! I have observed so many who have obtained their jobs because they worked for the Mayor and now they want to be a Teacher and some have made it with little or no experience! CLEAN CROSS UP!

posted by: Lincoln Robertson on June 22, 2011  11:46pm

This is a great lesson to these kids on what a Tammany Hall system of government is. You don’t support me you don’t get squat. I only hope they can rise above it and not perpetuate it. Acceptance of other points of view and an attempt to accomodate them in a compromise that works for all is the keystone of democracy. Thank you, Mayor John DeStefano Jr for ensuring yet another generation of New Haven’s youth is held back to allow you to maintain your grip on power.

posted by: Truly Disturbed on June 23, 2011  1:11am

Peggy Moore had a fairly decent reputation as an administrator at Betsy Ross.  There were always those who accused her of being autocratic; however, their voices were drowned out by others who said her style worked for the poor and disenfranchised population her school served.  Now that she is at a school with a more diverse socioeconomic and intellectual population her autocracy is not as welcomed.  Based on the statements in this article and the comments posted, including the statement by the student advisor, Mr. Meadows, it seems Mrs. Moore has come to believe she is invincible, and that she can do as she pleases.

I sincerely hope that the NHI and the Register are both going to monitor the time allowed Cross’ valedictorian and salutatorian at the graduation. After reportedly saying they would not be allowed to speak, she has now limited them to two minutes each!!!  Where exactly does Peggy Moore thinks she is? What is she doing to the students and teachers at Wilbur Cross?  If those students are not allowed the 10-12 minutes normally allotted for such presentations, every parent and student should MARCH to 54 Meadow Street in protest of Moore remaining at Cross.

Peggy Moore is a BAD example of ethical leadership to students.  What a horrible lesson for them to have?  Isiah Lee and others should be commended for their involvement in the governance of their school.

Everyone who is familiar with the NHPS system knows that it is an autocracy.  Teachers are muzzled; if they speak out they are punished. How can we claim to be teaching students to be involved in civic leadership if—when they do- they are punished and retaliated against in this dictatorial and oppressive manner?

What an outrage?  Just when many parents and students are becoming more meaningfully involved in the NHPS system, we see this woefully egregious behavior on the part of a principal who has the 100 support of Dr. Mayo.

The election results should stand.  ALL of the six rules should have been made clear to the students before the election, not after it.  She gave them the 1979 rules; therefore, she knew there was an election being held.  She apparently thought that if she limited it to the 29 students council members, her choice for president would have won.  That did not happen.  How DARE her nullify the results? What a terrible example of respectful leadership?  She has been exposed; she is not capable of leadership at this level. 

Sadly, over the years NHPS have lost some of its best potential leaders because good leaders do not want to be muzzled.  In NHPS system good leaders are often muzzled, unless they walk lock-step in line with the wishes of Central Office.  How can real reform take place in such an oppressive environment?

posted by: pdh on June 23, 2011  7:08am

This is democracy New Haven style! What else can you expect in a city that has suffered one-party rule for more than half a century? Which is dominated by a single employer? And whose schools, as one contender for the mayoralty recently remarked, are “a patronage dumping ground”?

posted by: What I see happening is on June 23, 2011  7:55am

What I see happening is that a principal is trying to have total control over a school, even to the extent of determining the student leadership.  To some, that may seem to be a good thing, but total control of a high school by an individual or even by a group is very bad.  No one person, especially this principal, has the answers to what is best for a school because determining that requires both the collective and individual thinking of many people, including students, parents and teachers.  This is not welcome at Cross, nor is any thinking that contradicts that of the principal, someone who is completing her first year working in a high school, and someone who needs a thorough education not only about how to run a high school, but also about how to lead and motivate people. 

Furthermore, implementing the plans developed from these ideas requires the collaborative work of many people, as well as some degree of creative freedom for individuals to do the very difficult work of transforming a school.  It also requires communication, something that is in extremely short supply at WCHS.  Very often, the teachers have no idea what plans have been made.  Students and parents know even less than the teachers do because no one informs them at all.

How Ms Moore thinks she knows what is best for Cross is a mystery I cannot unravel, but she has alienated so many people that the damage cannot be undone without a drastic change in her philosophy, in her attitude and in her approaches.  Anyone who thinks Cross is better off now than it was last year is either misinformed or completely out of touch with reality.  She may say that she was “cleaning things up” during her first year, but I don’t even see that Cross is moving in that direction.  If any “messes” have been cleaned up, they have been replaced by bigger messes.

What I also see happening is that she is gradually putting all of her own people into place.  When she arrived, she replaced almost all of the main office clerical staff by importing people from her former school.  Shortly after that, an administrative position was created in central office, and an assistant principal whom many of the teachers had endorsed for the Cross principalship was put into that position.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Two people from outside Cross were promoted to assistant principal positions in the early fall, after school had begun. 

Someone in another posting made reference to her individual meetings with teachers at the end of the year, which many believe were intended to “turn up the fear” and probably encourage some people to leave so she can bring in more of her own people.  Any teachers who are underperforming should be remediated or removed by using the teacher evaluation plan, not by intimidation tactics.

Cross has a very unhealthy climate right now, and I see no hope for improvement.

posted by: doingthebestican on June 23, 2011  8:08am

To the parent(s) who is differentiating between “good” and “bad” teachers at Cross—please don’t assume that the AP teachers are better than teachers who teach heterogeneous classes. Especially in 9th and 10th grade, teachers have a very rigid curriculum they have to teach, and they have to teach to all the students in the class. The District has decided that low performing schools HAVE to teach the mandated curriculum but “high” performing schools (i.e. selective schools) have freedom with curriculum. Of course this makes no sense, but it is NHPS. Please stop making labeling teachers as good and bad simply because some classes are more elite and some classes are more mixed levels. Please don’t criticize teachers for teaching district-mandated, uninteresting curriculum.

posted by: to cross teacher on June 23, 2011  8:16am

The only way anything ever gets done in NHPS is if the state and feds put pressure on, or if parents speak up.  That said, Mayo and his staff at Meadow Street are spindoctors who can easily fool most parents who don’t know how to ask the right questions.  My advice to the parents would be to bring an advocate to the meeting.

posted by: streever on June 23, 2011  9:22am

@Cross Student:
What can we do to support him?
Personally, I’ll be voting for a new Mayor, because I believe that people Peggy Moore are part of the patronage and entitlement that is ruining our city and shutting residents—and students—out of civic processes and engagement.

If we can do more for Isaiah, please let us know how!

posted by: Cedarhillresident on June 23, 2011  9:53am

Ditto on streever’s comment

posted by: Noteworthy on June 23, 2011  10:24am

Where is the mayor in all this? Hello Mr. Kedem and John DeStephano. Remember school reform? uh…Now is the time for some leadership. The silence is deafening.

posted by: brutus2011 on June 23, 2011  10:54am

I only post as brutus2011, not as LOL. I believe that our public schools can be effectively reformed. Just because I strongly disagree with NHPS management, that does not equate to destroying our schools. And, I have participated as a teacher.  Anyone with any powers of observation can see that the most important motives of the NHPS management team are power and control.

posted by: lisa on June 23, 2011  10:59am

The role of the student advisor is to serve as liaison between the students and administration and to keep the council on task.  Sounds like the advisor dropped the ball on all counts. Shame on him. If there were tasks to perform and rules to follow, he should have been conveying this to the students. If he could not attend the election and counting, he should have been responsible and provided coverage. Completely unacceptable. Sounds like Lee is handling himself with professionalism and grace despite the circumstances, KUDOS! unfortunately, this won’t be his first encounter with political injustice and incompetence.

posted by: Jane Q. Publius. Cross Teacher on June 23, 2011  11:28am

I take exception to the notion that our AP classes “allow few kids of color”. That assertion is woefully misinformed. And AP classes are in no way “segregated” to the third floor. The third floor has our science rooms, and we do offer several science APs. However, the other AP classes are all over the building.

Our AP program is one of the best in the state, and our coordinator Linda Powell has done a spectacular job of promoting early identification of kids with AP potential, and has been at the forefront of all AP initiatives, including Project Opening Doors.

Our AP teachers are deeply committed to making AP classes available to all who can handle them, and they do a damn fine job of reaching out to the Cross community.

The fact remains, however, that the vast majority of our 9th and 10th graders will not be academically prepared for AP by the 11th grade. AP students must be excellent readers and commit themselves to hundreds of hours of work outside the classroom.

We are doing our best to solve the problem of universal access by identifying those kids who have tremendous potential, as early as possible.

Please also note that we have a fair number of students who choose to take actual college courses for college credit instead of AP here in the building. Those students absolutely represent the diversity of Cross, and the course offering are far more numerous than the AP courses we have here.

Additionally, please remember that the students taking college courses receive actual college credits. These are not “special courses for high-schoolers”. This can be an important qualifier for an admissions counselor. Proof positive the student can handle college level work, especially when combined with a letter of recommendation from their college professor.

Success begets success….the more successful our program gets, the more students it attracts, and that creates a sense of vibrancy and culture of academic excellence and achievement.

Not every kid wants to take an AP class. Our goal as a building should be to move every kid as close to READY as possible.

“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.”

J.F.K.

posted by: LyndaFayeWilson on June 23, 2011  11:44am

My heart is fixed and my mind is made up.  WHAT ABOUT YOU?  IT IS CRUITUAL THAT THIS CITY ADMINISTRATION BE CHANGED AND REFORMED SIMULTANEOUSLY.  THERE IS A LOT OF NONE-SENSE GOING ON IN THIS CITY, AND RESIDENTS (the average)EXPERIENCE NO BENEFITS.  ONLY INCREASING HARDSHIP.  MY IMAGINATION CAN NOT STRETCH FAR ENOUGH TO REACH “THINGS COULD BE WORSE.”  THERE IS A LOT OF FIXING TO BE DONE, AND VOTES IS WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE.  LET’S NOT ALLOW N FURTHER SINKING BY RUBBER-STAMPING AND STATUS QUO.  WE ARE DYING FASTER THAN NEED BE.  THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.  THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT OR HAVE NOT EVER REGISTER TO VOTE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO SO. THAT IS INCLUSIVE. INCLUDING THOSE FORMER FELONS THAT HAVE PAID YOUR DEBT TO SOCIETY AND OWE THE STATE NO MORE TIME.  GET DOWN-TOWN QUICK AND FIX THAT MISCONCEPTION, GET YOUR NAME ON THE ROLL AND VOTE.  GOD BLESS NEW HAVEN, THE ONLY HOME I’VE KNOWN SINCE THE AGE OF THREE MONTHS AND NOW HAS PAST SIXTY-FIVE YEARS. W E A R E O N E.  AND IF YOU ARE HOLDING ON TO THE RACE CARD, THROUGH IT IN. BECAUSE IT’S NO LONGER A TRUMP CARD.  GOOD-BYE

posted by: LOL on June 23, 2011  12:47pm

@RE: LOL

The bottom line is some NHPS principals and Meadow Street staff members are threatened by highly intelligent teachers and students who refuse to conform to curriculum and policies that clearly are not in the best interests of the student body and school.

True leadership for NHPS will not be realized until DeStefano is voted out of office and Mayo is out of a job.  For years, both individuals negotiated with the NHFT and swept aside one failed initiative after another.  Teachers and principals have come and gone.  Yet, Mayo and DeStefano have remained the constants.

Now, both want us to believe they are “saving” NHPS with this latest reform initiative.  What a crock. The initiative is merely the product of pressure from the government at the state and federal levels, who have tied money to test results.

posted by: Cross Student on June 23, 2011  1:51pm

The way that all of you can help Isaiah, is to stop commenting on the independent. And start making emails and phone calls to Ms.Moore’s, Dr.Mayo’s, and the Mayor’s office. This is how you can help him. He is really on the verge of just giving up

posted by: B. ST. on June 23, 2011  4:11pm

Thank you for stating the truth that highly intelligent teachers are a threat to Meadow Street and many of the Math Coordinators,and Literacy Coordinators…you never see any Supervisors! Because some of the ... Literacy Coordinators especially the ones who have never taught 7-12 is a bully and chased our daughter out of NHPS because of continued harassment of walkthroughs! ... Our daughter is now working in Madison and do not have to worry about people telling her how to teach when they can’t! We wrote a letter to the paper last year about her first year in NHPS! It was not the kids! It was the incompetent people who were in that Literacy Dept. The autocracy and spin-doctors will continue until central administration start really finding out about how so many teachers are treated in NHPS. Competent people need to be put in positions.  Not given to them because they voted for the Mayor and did the unions a favor. NHPS need to hire all new Reading Coordinators who can come up to 21st Century standards!

posted by: scut farkas's wife on June 23, 2011  8:05pm

So glad my child chose a different high school. Dealing with Ms. Moore as a principal, once in a life time is enough.

The middle school where she was a “good principal” as quoted by some, I’d argue that.

My child was bullied so severely that counselling was needed. When we reported the ongoing problems to Ms. Moore, sought advice and help, we were just about called racist!

Needless to say, our child was pulled. Good leader? I think not.

posted by: Cross Student on June 23, 2011  10:09pm

As someone very involved in elections this year, I can say it was a mess. We weren’t allowed to open up elections to the school—Moore had us consult our forgotten 1970s constitution, which only allowed members to vote. Any rules Ms. Moore had for elections certainly didn’t come out until after the results were out, which may well have something to do with her less-than-cordial history with Isaiah. All student council members respect the results of this election, and I fully trust the three seniors presiding over it. A fall reelection would be unnecessary and, of course, none of the current Cross seniors would be able to vote. This is pushing absurdity; even the students who didn’t vote for Isaiah are more than willing to work with him, and yet Moore refuses to.

posted by: Alan Felder on June 23, 2011  10:43pm

We are living in a “Police State” (The Educational Industrial Complex) is a relative of (The Prison Industrial Slave Complex) the warden of the school makes the rules. Isaiah Lee, James Doss-Gollin and the student body have Human Rights and Constitutional Rights, and both have clearly been violated, so keep up the fight. This isn’t a lesson in democracy; it’s a lesson in hypocrisy. The City of New Haven and The Board of Education live and survive by “Machiavellian Principles”. It’s a time for change from the top down, and the base has to realize that we are the one’s supporting the superstructure. Where is the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut?

posted by: To Cross Student on June 24, 2011  9:55am

As you urged us to do, I sent an email to the mayor, fully expecting no response, and of course that is exactly what happened.  Please tell Isaiah that his giving up the fight will further empower this woman, who clearly has no ability to run a high school.  I doubt that she could have been a good middle school principal either, but age was at that school long enough to silence and/or eliminate all who dared question her.

Understand that a person who lacks the intelligence to accept or at least consider new ideas has no alternative but to resort to tough guy buying tactics, as does Ms Moore. I am still waiting for her to express an original idea.  I would even settle for an idea she got from someone else. 

The superintendent and the mayor need to continue reading on this site the postings by students, teachers, parents and interested purple from the community because we have no more effective means of communication.

Isaiah may be discouraged, but if he is a person with convictions, he will endure the discouragement, as have done so many others who have been confronted by oppression.

The alternative is for Mrs. Moore to solidify her control and continue her path of destruction.

posted by: bjfair on June 24, 2011  10:18am

Isiah, You are to be commended in your efforts to demand quality education. Know that it’s an uncomfortable position to be in when you go against the status quo. Don’t let it stop you. Also know that not all of us want off the plantation and many of us would have told Rosa Parks to JUST STAND UP AND GO TO THE BACK OF THE BUS.

posted by: One correction on June 24, 2011  11:23am

I need to offer a correction of faulty data:  The enrollment at WCHS is nowhere near 1,466, as anyone with access to SchoolNet should be able to attest.  It is not much higher than 1,100.  Why do I mention this?  It makes having 8 administrators even more absurd.

With a team of administrators that large, anyone should be able to assume that the school is under control, but it isn’t.  With a veteran principal, the school should have gotten off to a running start, but it is still stumbling badly.

posted by: Darnell on June 24, 2011  11:32am

@LSE:

Come on now, this PC way of thinking needs to change, particularly when the comment made is current.

China ranked 136 out of 167 countries on the 2010 The Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Index measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states, and is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture. (http://graphics.eiu.com/PDF/Democracy_Index_2010_web.pdf)

China was listed as one of the 17 “Worst of the Worst 2009: The World’s Most Repressive Societies” in the world by the Freedom House survey (http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/WoW09/WOW 2009.pdf)

Perhaps I would have been more PC if I had mentioned one of the 31 countries a little lower on the list like Libya, Chad, or even North Korea (which is last), but none of them are superpowers, are they? So I think I will stick with my original comparison, and that is that China has a very repressive and undemocratic style of politics, and Ms. Moore seems to have the same style running Cross.

If you have any evidence disputing China’s political repressiveness, please provide that info.

posted by: Correction to earlier posting on June 24, 2011  11:48am

In reading my published posting, I saw that I need to turn off my automatic spell check, because it put in a few words that make no sense in the context of my writing.  I should have spell-checked the spell-check.  Here is the correct version, with corrections in CAPS:

As you urged us to do, I sent an email to the mayor, fully expecting no response, and of course that is exactly what happened.  Please tell Isaiah that his giving up the fight will further empower this woman, who clearly has no ability to run a high school.  I doubt that she could have been a good middle school principal either, but SHE was at that school long enough to silence and/or eliminate all who dared question her.

Understand that a person who lacks the intelligence to accept or at least consider new ideas has no alternative but to resort to tough guy BULLYING tactics, as does Ms Moore. I am still waiting for her to express an original idea.  I would even settle for an idea she got from someone else.

The superintendent and the mayor need to continue reading on this site the postings by students, teachers, parents and interested PEOPLE from the community because we have no more effective means of communication.

Isaiah may be discouraged, but if he is a person with convictions, he will endure the discouragement, as have done so many others who have been confronted by oppression.

The alternative is for Mrs. Moore to solidify her control and continue her path of destruction.

posted by: It's not about being PC on June 24, 2011  11:54am

It’s about being realistic.

I think criticisms of China’s system of government are often justified, but what I’m hearing from this student especially is that it is unfair to call China out when governments world wide are stifling dissent, carrying out secretive meetings and deals, and making decisions that are wildly out of sync with what citizens really want.

I’m assuming you’re a U.S. citizen as I am, and I’d have to say you’re acting a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.  Citizens United basically legalized the highjacking of our government by big business and banking interests.  Just when we thought that situation couldn’t get any worse. 

I don’t think many people in this country would argue that our press is truly free when most media outlets are owned by one of 6 major corporations http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart/main.

I think it goes beyond being unfair to China and is actually unfair to us as citizens of what was supposed to be a great democracy. 

I’m glad to know there are young people like these students from Cross, because these fights are the training ground for the larger battle to win true democracy for our country.

posted by: Darnell on June 24, 2011  12:42pm

@It’s not about being PC

Are you kidding me? Calling out China’s government as being repressive is unfair to China? Are you suggesting that when I made my “Chinese style of government comment, I should have instead said “Chinese, North Korean, Chad, Yemen, yada, yada, yada…and sometimes Cross High style of goverment”?

Jeez, it’s no wonder the USA is losing is leadership place in the world, when we can no longer speak the truth about the state democracy, then who are we?

I’ll be the first to say that we as a nation are not completely free, that backroom deals and lack of transparency exists at all levels of government, including our own local government, and that our personal freedoms are daily being eroded (Patriot Act). Hell, I was even falsely arrested by the “powers to be” in an attempt to shut me up. Despite all of that I still thank God we are not China (or North Korea, or Chad, or Yemen, or Cross High).

What you and the other poster has suggested I do, not to mention China as a repressive government becuase we are not perfect and yes, I might hurt someone’s feelings, is certainly PC.

posted by: Betty St. Romain on June 24, 2011  1:09pm

In regards to the AP classes it is a known community fact that Cross for years had a private school within a school! Now, students must work hard to get in those classes by having parent participation, grades, etc. and parents savvy enough to know that their children can participate in AP courses. It is not ignorant or absurd to think students of color are not in a lot of AP classes. To the student, my response to You is: you will soon learn the real dynamics of political power in an urban school setting. May I suggest a book to you and who ever assisted you in your thoughts if at all. ” The Miseducation of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson-a great Summer Read!  Bottom line is-we all want a quality education for all the kids in New Haven! I’m sure the AP Teachers have done a great job over the years in having a solid AP program at Cross High School. Hopefully, they (Meadow Street) will put a person like Dr. Carberry over there who was my son’s high school English Teacher and I think she would do an excellent job at Cross High School! But, once again she is to intelligent and the Meadow Street people do not like intelligence!

posted by: Clifton E. Graves,Jr on June 24, 2011  1:29pm

Once again,the adults appear to be misleading ..misdirecting…our children….Don’t know all the facts,but from what I gather,the students at Cross-notably,Isaiah Lee-were done a great disservice.Ms. Moore is a reputable educator,but seems to have misstepped in her handling of this matter….To Mr. Lee..we have met and spoken before about your courage and commitment…stay strong….be not discouraged….remember these timeless words from the great Frederick Douglass:Power concedes nothing without a demand..it never has,,and it never will…If there is no struggle,there will be no progress…Dare to struggle,young man….dare to win…

posted by: Anti-Masonic Revival on June 24, 2011  5:51pm

Thanks Mr. Graves, that’s very helpful.
Now please keep the Masonic Grip
off of this young leader, and stay the course in your own life! Perhaps Frederick Douglas’s words can help politicians (such as yourself) turn away from their allegiances to fraternal organizations and their cronies. It’s time for young leaders to expose the fact that fraternal organizations always get the first cut, while the people get stuck in a rut! Please let Mr. Lee grow up without the corrupting influence of such organizations.

posted by: Isaiah Lee on June 24, 2011  7:39pm

I appreciate all of your support, but I am sorry to inform you all that I have stepped down from my presidential elect position. I realize now that I have some very important priorities that need to be taken care of next year, and I can not allow any distractions. I care very much about my the wilbur cross as well as the greater newhaven community, and I will do all that I can to make this city a better place in which to live. I also have great confidence in our city’s youth, and I hope that they will continue the fight for the right to be heard.

posted by: Strategy idea on June 24, 2011  10:00pm

Isaiah:  Please, please don’t quit.  This situation must feel terrible for you, and I’m so sorry.  You don’t deserve this.  No-one could deserve this.  But that’s not why I’m asking you not to quit.  I’m asking because you are clearly a brave and persistent kid, and I think we need you right now.

Here’s my proposal.  Whatever the new rules are, whenever the new election is held, EVERY SINGLE STUDENT VOTES FOR ISAIAH.  If Isaiah’s not allowed to be on the ballot somehow, everyone writes him in.  If write-ins are not permitted, everyone abstains.  Even if Isaiah decides he needs to quit.  Whether it’s 29 students or everyone in the school, EVERYONE VOTES FOR ISAIAH, because A VOTE FOR ISAIAH IS A VOTE FOR A FAIR WILBUR CROSS.

Make up t-shirts.  Hold a press conference.  Make a Facebook group.  Get the word out as publicly as you possibly can.  Go ahead and follow whatever rules Ms. Moore invents, to the letter—but get the message out to the whole school:  This is about fairness for all of us.  This is about respect for all of us.  Stand together, and don’t let her win.

posted by: Kevin on June 24, 2011  10:46pm

It would appear that Cross is outside the trend that is sweeping the world today - democracy.  On the plus side - students are gaining first hand knowledge about how dictators like Assad, Qadaffi, Mugabe etc rig elections or ruin them to preserve their power and prevent others from challenging them.  Perhaps the next thing they will get to see are UN monitors stepping in to insure that a fair election is held. 

But seriously, this is quite troubling when you think about it.  First she dismantled a group that was asking that more money be spent on books - yes books - for the school.  Instead of weeping for joy this educator took an ax to the group.  What does this say about education in New Haven and what does this say about the use of power in our schools.  And now the students have had the temerity to elect someone who was part of the disbanded group as student council president.  Again, she decides that she must take action to prevent this.  Instead of working with students to improve Cross - and buying books may be a method of improvement - she seeks to silence students.  This is not leadership and it is surely not laying the groundwork for educational improvement.

posted by: What you expect? on June 24, 2011  10:58pm

The “great” Peggy Moore does it again.  Great job teaching our youth.  What do you expect from her?  ...  It is time for her to be transferred to a department where she doesn’t have deal with people.  ...

posted by: A Couple of Comments on June 25, 2011  7:14am

To Strategy Idea:

That is a brilliant plan, and I urge students to execute it!  Even a student who wanted the presidency of the student council should recognize that the greater issue is self determination by the students. 

To Mrs. Moore:  It is shameful for a person who is entrusted with the education of students to have a personal vendetta against an individual student.  Do you really know him?  Is your anger over his suggestion that school administrators should take pay cuts?  I know of no school rules that Isaiah broke, but you need to remember that your job is to reach out to students, even when their actions don’t meet your expectations.  In that case, your job is to educate them, not to trample over them.

posted by: Parents, too on June 25, 2011  8:56am

I just saw the last newsletter from the WCHS PTO, and I learned two things:

1) At the last meeting, there was supposed to be a presentation by the school’s parent advocate, who was unable to meet the commitment.  Of note is that several parents in the group had been unaware that the school has a parent advocate.  Why hasn’t the school informed them?

2) Of greater concern is that the parents had no candidates running for office for next year, and so the election had to be postponed.  What does this say about the relationship of the school to the parents?  Historically, the PTO has been very active, but not after this year.

posted by: Isaiah Lee on June 25, 2011  9:10am

I appreciate all of your support, but I am sorry to inform all of you, that I have stepped down from my presidential elect position. I realize now that I have some very important priorities that need to be taken care of next year, and I can not allow anything to distract me from those priorities.

posted by: April Doss on June 25, 2011  10:19am

This is all so unfortunate.
It was a strange election. Some of the problems: outgoing seniors changed election rules a week before the election, it’s apparently OK for a student who attended only one student council meeting all year to run for office, and yes, there was no advisor in the room. Where were you again, Mr. Meadows? Wasn’t it your business to find a way to be in the room—and be very closely involved with something like the student council election?
Also, there are lots of comments here and nobody has to post their name, so people with a variety of agendas can jump in.
It’s turning into a little bit of chaos, and it’s going to be difficult for both the principal and the new student council president—whoever that turns out the be—to face the new year.

posted by: Concerned Citizen on June 25, 2011  6:32pm

Peggy Moore up to her old tricks again! Fight for your rights Kids, make it public!

posted by: Cross Student on June 25, 2011  10:41pm

Let’s not forget Xan Torresquintero, Lily Engbith, and Max Martin, who were elected vice president, secretary, and treasurer. These students have also had to suffer getting stripped of their titles. Our elected officers and our full council is uncertain of how to proceed right now and will be set back in everything we want to accomplish this year.

posted by: Concerned Educator & Parent on June 26, 2011  2:57pm

Referring to the comment posted by April Doss on June 25, 2011 which says “This is all so unfortunate. It was a strange election. Some of the problems: outgoing seniors changed election rules a week before the election, it’s apparently OK for a student who attended only one student council meeting all year to run for office, and yes, there was no advisor in the room.”
I think the article stated that the principal directed the students to use the rules from 1979.  The students did not change the rules a week before the election; the principal did.

Both Mr. Meadows and the principal should have known about the meeting because it was announced over the PA system several times and Mr. Meadows was informed. Isaiah Lee incurred the wrath of the principal earlier in the year when he participated in a student protest and went to City Hall and requested a meeting with the mayor and others.

Whether we agree or disagree with the manner in which the students conducted their protest, bullying and abuse of power (on the part of the adults) are not the messages we should be sending to our young people.  Yes, the real world is a cruel place, but do we want to teach our young people that vindictiveness rules the day? That if you have power you can abuse it?  That only the strong survive? What kind of future world do we want to contribute to building? By making the election results null and void (simply because she has the POWER to do so) isn’t Mrs. Moore doing much more HARM in the message she is delivering to the entire student body and her staff? 

Ms. Doss went on to say “Also, there are lots of comments here and nobody has to post their name, so people with a variety of agendas can jump in.”

Ms. Doss, many people have used their names in these posting; however, given the retributive nature of the NHPS’ Central Ofice and City Hall it is perfectly understandable why many teachers and other city employees will not use their names in the postings. It speaks to the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that permeates the NH working environment. Unlike most other meadia organizations, the NHI is very responsible and it does monitor postings while also facilitating free and responsible speech.

I agree with Ms. Doss that this is all most unfortunate. It is most unfortunate that as the adminstrative education leader at WCHS Mrs. Moore has allowed her ego to get in the way of providing effective democratic leadership. Education is supposed to teach our children much more than academic subjects. Ethics, civility, good moral conduct, honesty, integrity, and the ability to think & reason critically and make decisions intelligently are ALL part of the education process in a system where the school is doing its job.

It saddens me as a parent, an educator and as a responsible citizen that according to the facts presented here, and according to my knowledge of this and other situations in the NHPS system, these objectives are not being met. While I applaud Mr. Lee’s decision to be the one to show real leadership in this situation, I decry the fact that he and others have had such a debilitating experience.

While Mrs. Moore and the NHPS Central Office appear to have “won” in this case (Mr. Lee has withdrawn from the election), the question they need to ask and answer is - at what price? I am truly pleased that the NHI exists and that it does such a good job of providing this medium.  Thanks to Paul Bass and Melissa Bailey for their leadership and commitment to the democratic process.

posted by: brutus2011 on June 26, 2011  4:00pm

If one is concerned about public schools in our community, one immediately assumes that it is an education problem. Makes sense, schools are for learning, yes? Therefore, the solution as to what ails our schools is to be found in the realm of education—or teachers and pedagogy, students and parents, etc. Makes sense, classrooms are where the rubber meets the road, yes? And this is where the conversation on school reform has gone; teachers need more accountability, teachers need better modes of evaluation, teachers need to stop receiving tenure, teachers need to have the last-in, first-out union protection abolished, it is all about better, more effective teachers.
I believe that the issue that we all need to be examining is how the political process impacts the schools in our community. I believe that today’s teachers are well-trained and are very capable of handling a myriad of situations and cohorts to help produce the kinds of student achievement outcomes everyone SAYS is needed. I believe that the real problem lies in how policy is made and how such policy is implemented. It is true, there needs to be accountability for what happens in our schools. But why blame those on the bottom, while those in power who make policy, and the most money,never have to answer for anything? And are free to keep trying new solutions that never work? Where does the buck stop? With teachers, or with the layers of management ending with those who comprise NHPS senior management? Does the fable of the emperor’s new clothes ring a bell with anyone anymore?
What has happened at Cross is a reflection, I believe, of the kind of management culture to be found at NHPS. I submit that the lack of transparency and general lack of results points to a government entity that does not adequately serve its constituents. This is a form of tyranny. We citizens of New Haven, New Haven County, and the state of Connecticut need to dust off our history books, read the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and take the action necessary to correct this functionally abominable situation.

posted by: Time for Dr. Mayo to step in on June 26, 2011  7:03pm

Aside from some of the blunders that have been reported in this and other articles about Mrs. Moore, there is another concern I have after having worked at that school for the year she has been principal.  My concern is that I have not yet seen anything that resembles instructional leadership, vision or the interpersonal skills necessary for helping Cross succeed.  All I have seen is a woman who seems solely interested in control, and she isn’t doing a very good job of that either from what we see in the halls.  But the role of a principal isn’t control; it is leadership.

Has anyone re-read the story about the meeting she had with the PTO early in the year, when she explained some of the work that had not been accomplished?  Has there been a follow-up?  How are parents feeling these days, especially in light of the absence of any candidates whatsoever for next year’s PTO?  Has that ever happened before?

From my own observations, as well as from conversations with some very intelligent and committed members of the faculty, Cross may have reached a new low this year.  I don’t see any likelihood of improvement, and I am confident that many others on staff would agree.  Relationships with teachers, parents and students are either bad or virtually non-existent. 

Almost all of the conversations in the district and at Cross focus on the teacher evaluation plan, with little mention of the evaluation plan for administrators.  If teachers are being held to a higher standard, the administrators ought to be held to an even higher standard.  Anyone who knows the school and the district knows that that isn’t going to happen.  Ineffective administrators will continue to be ineffective.  Administrators who are abusive will continue to be abusive.  Maybe someone can explain to me how this is a formula for success because I cannot understand how it could be.

Dr. Mayo, you need to forget your personal allegiance to Mrs. Moore and you need to honor the commitment expected of a superintendent in doing what is right for the students.

posted by: RichTherrn on June 28, 2011  10:00pm

While I understand the debate has moved on: I have no opinion to offer on the issue of the actual election. The comments seem to have expanded to include issues of race, elitism, curriculum, general politics, and some very personal issues with individuals, students, teachers, and administrators… It is disturbing, especially for professionals, to expand and generalize a very specific situation that has a small impact for a limited amount of time. Comment on the issue as people must, but I would defend the motivations of ALL educators who dedicate their lives and careers to students.
-Richard Therrien
-NHPS Science Supervisor

posted by: Goatville mom on June 28, 2011  11:55pm

“It is disturbing, especially for professionals, to expand and generalize a very specific situation that has a small impact for a limited amount of time.”
With all due respect to educators who are truly dedicated to children (which is, most unfortunately, in my experience, not “ALL”), the problem is this is *not* a very specific situation, but, rather, just one example of what happens in schools (NHPS and others) on a daily basis. That is the point of many of these posts (as well as posts on other stories about NHPS).
And while the impact may seem “small” and “for a limited amount of time” to you, it is not for many students in the system, and their parents, who are repeatedly beaten down by such interactions. Do you really think the impact to the students involved in this episode is “small”? I doubt that. They have been taught an ugly lesson.

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