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Letter: Cos Cob Hiring Discrimination Reveals Deeper Cause for Concern

To the Editor,

With the start of the new school year upon us, parents across the nation are experiencing the annual flood of emotions that accompanies our children’s relentless march toward adulthood. These feelings run the gambit of the human experience; we beam with pride as another journey begins while wistfully recognizing the joys of youth slipping a bit further into our memories.For parents in Greenwich this emotional roller coaster led us to new territory this year: outrage. The release of Cos Cob Elementary’s Vice Principal Jeremy Boland’s vile and disgusting candid commentary concerning his hiring practices serves as a slap in the face to parents not just in Cos Cob, but across the country.At its core this is fundamentally a leadership problem. Does anyone believe the Vice Principal regrets anything other than getting caught? Vice Principal Boland would never have been so bold as to verbalize his ignorance if he did not believe his views were consistent with those of his superiors. It did not go unnoticed that our own superintendent was all too willing to hide behind an “ongoing investigation” while passing the buck to the town’s Board of Education. Instead of a statement definitively marking the comments as patently unacceptable and promising to root out any discrimination in the hiring process that may have gone unrecognized through an independent investigation, Superintendent Jones elected to go with “..we want to remind our entire community that our curriculum policies and procedures are strictly enforced by our Board.” Translation: Don’t blame me.This is particularly interesting in the context of Mr. Boland’s career progression. In the 2018-19 academic year GPS reinstated a position that had been eliminated five years prior and selected him to oversee the Physical Education, Wellness and Family and Consumer Science programs for all grade levels district-wide. At the time GPS noted “Given his experience with Greenwich Public Schools…Jeremy Boland will provide strong leadership and opportunities for growth and innovation for this program”.So let me get this right, in the midst of a myriad of difficult choices that saw some special education programs on the chopping block, GPS went out of their way to re-create a new district wide position for this gentleman? Absolutely brilliant. One shudders to think of the profound impact he must have had when only two years later Superintendent Jones saw fit to promote him to Vice Principal of one of the town’s elementary schools. No wonder Dr. Jones seems content to hide and hope the news cycle changes.

The level of naivete required to accept that this is an “isolated” incident is staggering. The ascendant administrative class in education has gone unchecked while promoting radical changes to pedagogy that instruct aspiring teachers to “change the world”. With no self-awareness and even less humility, university education programs have gone all-in on the teacher as an activist platform for the past several years. It’s little wonder Boland was so eager to only hire those under 30. He has no use for experienced educators that meet their students where they are and work to develop their capacity for deep introspective thought rather than a hierarchy of grievance. Imagine the level of justified outrage had the incident in question replaced Catholic with Muslim. No doubt “intersectionality” would have compelled a stronger response in that case. While preaching inclusivity and diversity, the modern educational establishment seeks collective thought and action without realizing the inherent contradiction in terms. In a recent webinar for one of their master’s degree programs, Teachers College at Columbia University touted their work on “generating the political will” to achieve their desired outcomes. A collectivist worldview is one thing for a despotic authoritarian backwater. It is another thing altogether in a republic. When the desired end-state of bureaucrats controlling the hiring and curriculum in government sponsored education becomes the creation of a platform for the next generation of activists, any claim to be serving the public interest has been lost.

So, what can we do? First and foremost, citizens need to reclaim their institutions. We have been lulled into complacency for far too long. We have chosen to substitute our dollars for our judgement in the fleeting hope that if we just spend enough, the “experts” we hire will fulfill our responsibilities to our children for us. To solve this problem requires our engagement and our ability to hold our community leaders, both elected and appointed, to account for correcting flaws where they exist and producing results. Does anyone truly believe our children’s best interests are being adequately served? While positions on the town’s Board of Education are not directly on the ballot this year, we do have the opportunity to change the oversight regime in Hartford and D.C.Democrats have controlled the General Assembly for the last twenty-six years, including the last 12 when they held the governorship as well. This is not to say that we should just reflexively support anyone with an R next to their name as that would merely be an abdication of our civic responsibility as well. With that said, leaders accept responsibility when things go wrong and actively work to improve them. Is that really what we think is happening with the current crop in Connecticut?Any effective change in this arena will involve increased empowerment to parents. It is the parent who understands their children’s needs better than any bureaucrat ever could. I would encourage every parent to thoroughly vet all the candidates this November and support those that commit to stamping out indoctrination in our schools and place students’ interests above the preservation of their own power.It is the responsibility of each informed citizen to demand that our elected officials, as well as those they appoint, deliver results that restore the public trust and preserve the foundation of our institutions. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Sincerely,Sage Withrow

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