Appointees Hailed; Only PhDs Need Apply?

Paul Bass PhotosThe mayor’s choice to fill a Board of Education seat sailed through a confirmation hearing, while an advocacy group’s call for a debate on who should serve in the future went unheeded.

The approval and (unanswered) call for debate took place Monday night at a City Hall meeting of the Board of Alders Aldermanic Affairs Committee.

The committee unanimously voted to approve the mayoral appointment of former Alder Joseph Rodriguez to the Board of Education. That recommendation now goes to the full Board of Alders for final approval. Alders praised Rodriguez as a committed parent with the political experience needed to make a difference in the post.

A second mayoral Board of Ed appointee, Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, also appeared for questioning. Her appointment, however, is already official, because the committee didn’t hold a confirmation hearing within the required time to exercise approval authority. She, too, won accolades from the alders for her two decades of work as a pediatrician focused on children’s social and emotional needs.

Along with the qualifications of the two appointees, the hearing centered in part on what kind of people should serve on the Board of Education.

Several members of the public criticized the fact that only one member of the seven-member Board of Ed (Ed Joyner, one of the two elected members) has an academic background in the field of education. (Joyner’s background is extensive; click here to read his resume as it stood when it first ran for the Board of Ed.)

Parent advocate Sarah Miller called on the committee to append standards for board appointees to their vote on Rodriguez.

Miller, a city public school graduate and mom of two Columbus Academy students, has helped organize a new watchdog group called NHPS Advocates. She said the group has collected over 500 signatures on a petition calling for the alders to create criteria for Board of Ed appointments, including educational expertise and freedom from conflicts of interest.

She said she believes both Rodriguez and Jackson-McArthur potentially bring valuable experiences to the board. But they didn’t teach in a classroom or have an academic background in education. The board needs more than one member with a formal background in education, Miller argued.

“This is about the knowledge and independence required to effectively govern a complex urban school district,” Miller argued.

“We need individuals on our Board of Ed who know the history of education, who understand different educational and instructional philosophies, who are familiar with education best practices, and who can interpret educational trends and models. When educational strategies and approaches are being debated, there needs to be a reservoir of knowledge and experience to draw from in making decisions about what happens in our classrooms and hallways and cafeterias.”

Miller’s remarks were offered in the first portion of a lengthy hearing involving appointments to numerous boards and commissions. When the alders on the committee closed the hearing three hours later to discuss the appointments and to vote, they didn’t bring up Miller’s request, let alone debate it.

Harp: Ed Credentials Aren’t Everything

 

Earlier in the day, Mayor Toni Harp did address the criticism about her appointees’ lack of qualifications and defended the mix, during her most recent appearance on WNHH FM’s “Mayor Monday” program.

Harp had chosen Rodriguez over another person who sought the appointment, Lauren Anderson, an associate professor and education department chair at Connecticut College. Anderson has an undergraduate degree from Yale in political science, a master’s in early childhood and elementary school education from Bank Street Graduate College of Education, and a PhD in urban schooling from UCLA, as she wrote to the mayor in seeking the post.

On her résumé, Anderson lists her expertise in preparing educators to work in urban schools, navigate governing policies and centering equity in their classrooms. She also specializes in the leftist analysis of texts known as “critical literacy,” children’s literature and elementary education. Her latest listed academic journal article, currently under peer review, is entitled, “On petticoats pilots, pallbearing, and precarity: Parsing the contemporary policy context for teacher education.” Click here to read her resume, which lists her other publications as well.

Harp wrote in an email to a woman who endorsed Anderson, Mirna Martínez, the New London Board of Education’s president, that she’s “certain that Ms. Anderson would have been a great selection for the Board. I will consider her for future board positions.”

In explaining her decision to go with Rodriguez instead, Harp argued on “Mayor Monday” that academic degrees in education aren’t the only criteria on which members should be chosen.

She argued that the board needs to have a variety of backgrounds represented, such as Jackson-McArthur’s expertise in “social-emotional” issues as a pediatrician and Rodriguez’s experiences as a school parent as well as an alder, senatorial aide and community activist familiar with how government makes decisions.

Some people argue that a more important criterion for serving on the board is having children in the public schools, Harp observed.

“Joe Rodriguez is a parent. He does understand government, and by the way he probably understands contracting,” she said.

“I’ve appointed a doctor [Jackson-McArthur]; we provide medical services in New Haven Public Schools. So I think that makes sense. She also has two children in the New Haven Public Schools. I appointed someone who’s the head of an agency [Jamell Cotto of Farnam Community] and can understand what that role is, and also has a child in New Haven Public Schools. I appointed someone who worked in youth services for many years [Frank Redente] and retired and has that perspective. Then we have someone elected who has a doctorate in education and has taught education all around the Untied States [Joyner]. Then we have another person who is the chairman of the board [Darnell Goldson] who really understands governance and understands Robert’s Rules of Order and” Freedom of Information law.

“So I think we have a very well-rounded board.”

Harp noted that the candidates seeking the two elected positions on the school board so far have run unopposed.

Rodriguez, Jackson-McArthur Questioned

In his testimony before the alder committee Monday night, Rodriguez bristled at suggestions in news articles that he might lack the credentials to serve on the Board of Ed.

He spoke of his past advocacy for better security at his daughter’s preschool and for Spanish translation for parents at events at Benjamin Jepsen School. He said he has been active in a parent group at Jepsen, where his daughter is currently a second-grader.

“We live in a time when community participation and parent participation “ — particularly by fathers — “ is needed more than ever,” Rodriguez told the committee.

He said if confirmed to the board, he would have three priorities: equity in resources among schools (“Some schools have more; some schools have less”); working to straighten out the school system’s “financial mess”; and boosting bilingual education and dual language programs.

Jackson-McArthur, whom the alders gently questioned for 40 minutes, vowed to make improving the school district’s “social-emotional” services a priority during her term.

Wooster Square Alder Aaron Greenberg asked both nominees if they supported closing one or more schools to help close the Board of Ed budget gap. The school board is looking to curb a $7 million overrun in the current fiscal year budget and find $9 million in savings in next year’s and cut up to $10 million more if the alders don’t approve their increase.

Both Jackson-McArthur and Rodriguez said they’ll need to learn more about the fiscal situation before committing to a position.

“On the surface the answer is absolutely no. Because I’m a father,” Rodriguez responded. “But it would also be naive of me to sit here and say I would vote no on any school closure…. I would need to fully understand the financial mess the Board of Ed is in.”

 

Click on the above audio file or Facebook Live video below for the full “Mayor Monday” program on WNHH FM.

This episode of “Mayor Monday” was made possible with the support of Gateway Community College and Berchem Moses P.C.

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 27, 2018  6:32pm

Again the people have been sold out by Judas Goats.People wake up.Stop voting them in!!!! This is the problem.You keep voting them in.And then you wonder what happen.

posted by: hionamt on February 27, 2018  10:17pm

One has a list of impressive credentials in that field out the door . The others a parent.. But also a political hack
So he gets the choice .Great logic

posted by: 1644 on February 27, 2018  10:59pm

3/5’s. As you know, the problem is that voters rarely have a choice: New haven is a one party town.  New Haven desperately needs a second party, whether that be Republican, Green, or Pajama.

posted by: DrJay on February 27, 2018  11:09pm

The board also needs some members with management and business experience. They are overseeing a very large budget. Remember the farce last week when they board rejected needed repair contracts which had gone through a bidding process and approved others that weren’t bid at all?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 28, 2018  5:30am

posted by: 1644 on February 27, 2018 9:59pm

3/5’s. As you know, the problem is that voters rarely have a choice: New haven is a one party town.  New Haven desperately needs a second party, whether that be Republican, Green, or Pajama.

Proportional Representation would give us that.

posted by: 1644 on February 28, 2018  6:37am

Rodriguez “knows how government works.”  In other words, he understand the need to extort money from developers and city employees, and the need to taxpayer funded jobs, like the one he has, to political supporters and hangers-on, regardless of qualifications.

As Dr Jay mentions, the BoE (and city), desperately needs people with business management experience.  Much of New Haven’s administration sets permeated with utter incompetence, such as the failure to submit timely applications for $7 million of LoCIP reimbursement grants.  In most towns, a Board of Finance made up of business people, ensure towns maintain sound finances.  New Haven has no such check. 

As for Dr Jackson,  I do think it’s highly appropriate to have a pediatrician on the BoE. I, also, think, wearing a sweatshirt to a job interview is unprofessional and shows a lack of respect for the job.  Would she wear a sweatshirt to meet with a faculty search committee at Yale?

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on February 28, 2018  10:06am

@1644
She has been wearing HBCU paraphernalia all month. It’s Black History Month. That’s a Howard University sweatshirt from what I see. She holds 2 degrees from Howard University.

posted by: ms.mary on February 28, 2018  10:29am

Joey Rodriquez has been in the community and in all the schools helping out long before he became a parent or an alderman.As a parent in the school system he will find out the needs of schools and voice those needs to the board.

posted by: 1644 on February 28, 2018  10:44am

3/5:  Proportional representation only works if there is something to proportion.  New Haven could move a long way towards minority representation by having at-large elections or three or more representatives from each ward.  State statutes on minority representation would then kick-in.  Absnset a charter, Connecticut towns are governed by a meeting of the town and three men selected to run the town between town meetings, called “Selectmen”.  Only two of the three can be of the same party.  Some charter towns, like Clinton, have larger Boards of Selectmen which exercise some Town Meeting powers, like legislating, but minority representation rules still apply.  Some towns, like Groton, Fairfield, and Branford, have Boards of Selectmen with large (30 member) Representative Town Meetings (RTMs) , with multiple RTM members elected from each district, leading to minority representation not only on the Board of Selectmen but in the RTM.  Boards of Education are seven meters, elected at-large, guaranteeing minority representation.  Guaranteed minority representation means there is always a platform for dissent, and a bit of a shadow government.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on February 28, 2018  11:01am

“She also specializes in the leftist analysis of texts known as ‘critical literacy,’ children’s literature and elementary education. Her latest listed academic journal article, currently under peer review, is entitled, “‘On petticoats pilots, pallbearing, and precarity: Parsing the contemporary policy context for teacher education.’”

Ha ha, very funny.  But really, Paul, “leftist”? 

Try “postmodern,” or “theoretical,” maybe, or even “political.” 

Or, you know, just “she also specializes in the method of text analysis known as ‘critical literacy,’ and in children’s literature and elementary education.”  (I fixed your phrasing and punctuation there, too.)  Going on to quote the title of her latest academic paper is explanation enough.

posted by: 1644 on February 28, 2018  11:15am

Living: She could celebrate and honor black history and her school in more respectful ways.  For example,  rather than a sweatshirt, wear a school scarf, the female equivalent of a school tie.  Jewelry with the school seal or mascot also works.  A school tartan works, as would wearing school colors.  Ghanian fabrics are beautiful, and an outfit incorporating African textiles would celebrate black history, while still looking professional.  (Perhaps, I should patent and market the idea, but, just as Scottish and other institutions have distinctive tartans,  it would be great if HCBU’s had distinct fabrics in school colors in the style of African weaving pattern and motifs.  Perhaps they already exist.)  Mayor Harp always looks well dressed.

posted by: darnell on February 28, 2018  12:15pm

1644,

I Ann going to try to say this in a respectful and non confrontational way.

From your comments on NHI, I have surmised that you are not an African American. Please consider the following an attempt educate, not an attack.

It has been historical a concern of the African American community that those of the majority do not understand our culture, and therefore are prone to make comments and decisions which run counter to the best interests of African Americans.

Your suggestion as a non African American to Dr. Jackson-McArthur about what you believe is “appropriate” for her to wear is way out of bounds, and your suggestions as to what she could wear to honor Black History Month, including adding the Scottish wear suggestion, could be considered by many as racist.

Please take this as an attempt to educate.

posted by: Razzie on February 28, 2018  12:34pm

Dr. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur and former Alder Joey Rodriguez are two excellent choices who bring great experiential and professional balance to the Board of Education. Their commitment is strengthened by both having children in the NHPS. This is one of those ideal situations where the appointees personal interests are 100% in sync with their political responsibility to make sound decisions for the greater good.

Personally, with respect to Mr. Rodriguez, I see his role as an extension of that of the late Daisy Gonzalez, who without any professional education-specific training, made her mark upon the NHPS school system that will last forever.

posted by: Statestreeter on February 28, 2018  12:50pm

The facts is Rodriguez can bristle all he wants, he is completely unqualified.  I would note that he has much company in that observation. Nice guy but I don’t want him overseeing the NHPS especially after watching his performance as an Alder. He there for one reason and that’s to vote yes for the Toni Harp way of doing things.

The same way of doing things as a state senator that has left the State of Ct a debt ridden mess. The same way of doing things as BOE President that has left our school system a debt ridden mess. The same way of doing things that will leave our city and us with tax increases and a debt ridden mess. The infinite chances some politicians get.

Best of luck Joe. Please prove me wrong.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on February 28, 2018  4:47pm

The Mayor, as mayors before her, have the right to appoint anyone she chooses to sit on the board.  Period.

Should the charter change in the future regarding background educational criteria, then the candidates will change as well.  But until then, the Mayor has her prerogative to make appointments that’s she’s comfortable with in achieving the academic goals set forth.  And I too if mayor would do the same thing.

I debunk this idea that only educators should be afforded the opportunity to sit on the board.  A lot of our school systems nationwide are failing because they’re filled with nothing but educators. 

Let’s be truthful in this discussion.  There are some who harbor a type of deep animus towards some members of the board, Mayor Harp and to a lesser extent the BoA.  This hidden indignation cannot be ignored.

For me, I’ll gauge all of this when I view the test scores this fall. 

@1644,

How dare you question the attire of Dr. T. Jackson-McArthur?  Her educational background only addresses a portion of what she has contributed to the youth of NH over the years.  Sometimes it’s just wise to say nothing.  Especially when you have apparent zero knowledge of the pride of anyone having attended a HBCU.  Moreover, her shirt advertisement conveys a larger message to young inner-city youth, that they too can attain successes analogous to hers.  And that my friend, is a powerful message.  Of which you no NOTHING about.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 28, 2018  4:51pm

posted by: 1644 on February 28, 2018 9:44am
3/5:  Proportional representation only works if there is something to proportion.

Me and you Have talk about this before.There are many types of Proportional representation systems.

List System - The most widely used form of PR. The voter selects one party and its slate of candidates. Party slates can be either closed or open, allowing voters to indicate a preference for certain candidates. If a party receives 30% of the vote, they receive 30% of the seats. Thus, in a 10 seat district, they win 3 of the legislative seats. 10% of the vote, means 10 % of the seats or one seat, and so on. A minimum share of the vote - often 5%- may be required to earn representation as a way of discouraging too many parties. This type of PR is ideal for legislatures on state and national levels.

Mixed Member Proportional

Choice Voting

Cumulative Voting

The difference in a winner take all system, a party that does not win the plurality of the votes does not get any representation. In a proportional representation system, a party can get representation even if it does not win the election. Also with the advantages of proportional representation system is With more choices, there is greater voter turn-out (typically 70-95%).
Third, fourth and fifth parties and independent candidates with diverse perspectives and policies run successfully and win.AlsoThe Democratic Party already nominates their presidential candidate by proportional representation.  Each state allocating their delegates according to the proportion of the vote won by each candidate.

Guaranteed minority representation means there is always a platform for dissent, and a bit of a shadow government.

You have a shadow government now under the two party duopoly.

The two-party system is destroying America

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/267222-the-two-party-system-is-destroying-america

posted by: Sarah.Miller on February 28, 2018  5:38pm

The Board of Alders has a newly-established authority in the revised City Charter to approve or reject Mayoral appointments to the Board of Education. New Haven should follow the lead of other cities and towns in establishing parameters to guide this process. No revision to the City Charter is required.

In making this request, we do not propose that all appointees must meet all criteria or that expertise in the field of education is the only criteria to be considered. Rather, we consider it essential that this expertise be given high importance when assessing the potential fit of each new appointee, given the Board’s overall composition. Of equal concern is the need to ensure no personal or financial conflicts of interest with the district and other Board members.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on February 28, 2018  5:44pm

@Threefifths,

You’ve been opining for quite some time now about this “Proportional Representation” concept.  I’m curious, are you a registered voter?  If so, which party if you don’t mind revealing?

Why do I ask?  You give the false impression that if we were to hypothetical follow your suggestion and use your formula, that all of these behaviors that you disagree with in Democratic and Republican elected officials will go vanish.  Untrue.

Let’s face it, NH is a Democratic city.  And across this nation you will discover predominantly Republican cities also.  The only people who have problems with either or, are those who are in opposition to the majority.  So let me leave you with this, get over it bro.

posted by: NH1961forlife on February 28, 2018  7:37pm

Sorry Sarah Miller

But the person with the most educational experience is the one with the biggest personal conflict. Isn’t both his children working for the NHPS? Never heard your group mention that fact!

posted by: newhavenlives on February 28, 2018  8:03pm

Hey Colonizer….I mean 1644. You can find no legitimate basis on which to attack Dr. McCarthur, so you set out to define what is appropriate attire for appearance before the BOA. You also manage to conclude that she is unprofessional and lacks respect for her job…one she has barely started. How condescending, patriarchal, offensive and simply silly.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 28, 2018  8:18pm

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on February 28, 2018 4:44pm

@Threefifths,

You’ve been opining for quite some time now about this “Proportional Representation” concept.  I’m curious, are you a registered voter?  If so, which party if you don’t mind revealing?

I am a unaffiliated voter I do not align myself with a political party.Have you read how the system of Proportional Representation works.Did you know that Proportional Representation was used in this country in the early 20th century.The first half of the 20th century, two dozen American cities used for a time the single transferable vote -a form of proportional representation that is often called choice voting today.In fact Polls show that a majority of Americans say that both the Republicans and Democrats are doing such a poor job representing the people that a new, party is needed.

Why do I ask?  You give the false impression that if we were to hypothetical follow your suggestion and use your formula, that all of these behaviors that you disagree with in Democratic and Republican elected officials will go vanish.  Untrue.

I never said it would.If you would read what I wrote I said under Proportional Representation the people have more of a voice and representation at the table.The question I ask you.Do you have a problem with that?

Part One.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 28, 2018  8:44pm

Let’s face it, NH is a Democratic city.  And across this nation you will discover predominantly
Part two

Republican cities also.The only people who have problems with either or, are those who are in opposition to the majority.  So let me leave you with this, get over it bro.

And how come those same people who are in the majority are afraid of the proportional representation system? Again what is wroug with a system that everyone has a voice at the table.In fact the Founding Fathers warned us about the threat from a two party system.Even Dr. king was not for the two party system.Both political parties have betrayed the cause of justice.The Democrats have betrayed it by capitulating to the prejudice, and undemocratic practices of the Southern Dixiecrats . The Republicans have betrayed it by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of the right wing reactionary Northerners——-DR. KING

So let me leave you with this, get over it bro.

Let Me leave you with this.I work with fair vote which is pushing across this country for proportional representation .I talk to a lot of the young people who are at fair vote.These young people are not getting over it.In fact they are fed up.You will see down the road the end of Two-Party System.In fact the fight is on.The prospect of a multiparty system in this country is real.Care to Help bro.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Frederick Douglass