Monday, December 9, 2013
To read Bob Unger’s Op-Ed column of Sunday, December 08, 2013 (Our View: Stay the course on school reform in New Bedford), one might come away believing that I’m a Board Member of a cross between the Hoffa family and the crew of The Bounty.
Neither am I an obstructionist nor a naysayer. In fact, Bob, I’m a pretty level-headed guy that just happened to have followed a calling. I came to this city well over thirty years ago to find a people who were still poorer than their more northerly counterparts. A citizenry engaged in struggles with poverty and socio-economic constructs that made it difficult to guarantee a better life than the one they had been brought up in. There were language barriers. There was crime. There was a well-developed political system that relied on a “who you know” litmus test for employment.
There was also a guy named Ragsdale, Bob. If he was connected, you sure as hell couldn’t tell from his front page. There were countless staff writers who covered their beats with a keen eye to a story and its players. They presented facts and they had done enough homework to assure a reader that integrity had been the prime directive in their reporting. During those years, the circulation department was a busy place. I know. You see, Bob, back in the eighties, for one summer, I worked for the Standard-Times. I tooled back and forth between the home office and the Fairhaven plant. I rode the white trucks and visited with folks in Carver, the area I was asked to expand readership in. You know, I liked working for the Standard…
But your Standard, Bob, is not my Standard. And it sure as hell isn’t Jim Ragsdale’s. You’ve lost the thread, Bob. You, Jack and Steve. And as you do so, you fail the very calling you feign. You fail your own employees, who rely on your dwindling readership to feed their families. Finally, you fail the very city whose name was once synonymous with the Standard.
Stop painting my colleagues in our Family of Teachers as a powerful teacher’s union. With that careless brush you’ve created a vision of a Hoffaesque reality. A locked-arm cadre of thugs who’ll stop at nothing to overthrow management and civil leaders.
I’m not a thug, Bob. Neither are my colleagues.
Your comparisons and generalizations are thinly-veiled attempts at creating dissention between us and the very families we serve on a daily basis. Comparing New Bedford’s school system to Lawrence is always your trump card, Bob, save for one glaring and continuously overlooked fact. You remember facts, Bob. You probably wore out a few pair of shoes early in your career uncovering them. Lawrence invited its takeover. They opened the door, Bob. They rolled out the red carpet. They had lunch, photo ops, dinner and dancing. And where did that get them…
No persistence in Lawrence. No courage, no vision. Lawrence rolled over.
But frankly, Bob, it is your careless use of the words “mutiny” and “insurrection” that catch in my throat. Those are words chosen for a particular purpose. They’re right up there with “insubordination” and “moral turpitude”, words designed to create fear even as they are nebulous in their use and further difficult to prove. You’re trying your damnedest to scare me, Bob, and I’m not a fan…
I don’t scare easy.
So…you should expect to find me with my colleagues on December 13th. You won’t have any problem finding me. I’ll be carrying a copy of your newspaper.
See, I’ve decided you and your daily will be the subject of my speaking time that day. That’s because I believe you are as much a problem to our success as anything else. And you? You I can do something about…
Posted by NBEA