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The Guilford Rotarian - Current May 14, 2022
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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

 

       

The Rotary Club of Guilford, CT  

 

                          The Guilford Rotarian                    

   

President 

Thomas Terribile

                 

Directors at Large

President-Elect

Dawn Jackson

        William Fatula (22-23)

Secretary

Stephanie Jacobs

        Wayne Staschke 21-22

Attendance Secretary

 

        Patricia Todd 21-22

Exec. Secretary

Gary Drake

        Larry Appleton  (22-23)

Treasurer

Elmar Kessler

        Paul Heeren (19-22

Assistant Treasurer

Patrick Pascale

        Heidi Saamuelson (19-212)

IP President

 

  Co-Sergeants at Arms

Foundation Chair

Michael Ganci

         Allen B. Jacobs

Grants Steward

 

 

 


Rotary Bulletin: May 11, 2022

 

This Issue’s Editor: Jack Phelan

 

Door Greeter: Tony Fappiano 

 

Call to Meeting:  Tony led in the Pledge of Allegiance

 

Visiting Rotarians: None

 

Guests: Dave Holman, and guest speakers Lt Bernier, Guilford Police Department and Dr. Armand Fusco, Educator.

 

President’s Announcements:  

  • We have the shredding event on May 21st at Wayne’s place, Guilford Financial GP, 2415 BP Rd, in the parking lot in the back, 8:40 to 12 noon. Volunteers needed.  It’s an easy project and we raise $3,000-$4,000.  Wayne picks up the tab for having the shredding company supply the truck and staff to manage the process.  Thank you, Wayne. 
  • Sam is collecting money for the Installation dinner at Quattro’s on June 29th.  Please notify Sam if you want to go.  Tickets are $55.  The maximum capacity for the dinner at Quattro’s is 60 so this event will likely be sold out.  Please contact Sam at our meeting next week or email her at lappleton795@comcast.net and reserve your seat(s).

 Schedule for Future Programs:   

 

May 18 -- Past President Gary Drake will present a number of Paul Harris Fellowship Awards to Guilford Rotarians for financial contributions to The Rotary Foundation, accumulated during the past year.

 

May 25 -- SARAH Foundation (arranged by Dawn Jackson)

 

June 1  -- Breakfast @ GCC  --- no speaker.

 

June 8 -- Leo Marino is a local Branford, CT author who recently wrote the book "Wooster Place: Gangsters, Gambling and a Glamorous Girl in Love with the Mob". He also wrote "The House on Greene Street" in 2018 about      growing up in the "worst block in the Wooster Street area". Leo is a veteran of World War II. (arranged by Stacy Clifford)

 

June 15 -- Lobsterfest prep by Carrie Healy and Meghan Forgione.

 

June 22 -- TBA (arranged by  Kyle Clark).

 

June 29 -- Club President-Elect Dawn Jackson's Installation Dinner.

 

July 6 --    Open

 

PLEASE NOTE:  Effective July 1 Mike Ganci will be taking over as program Chair.  For those wishing to schedule a speaker after July 1st, please contact Mike directly at michael.ganci@edwardjones.com or at 203-314-0831.         

 

Until July 1st, please contact Bill Stableford at wstableford43@comcast.net  or 203-848-5951 to schedule a speaker.

This event is now a shared responsibility among all members.  Members may also schedule a program of their own to describe a particular hobby, interest, or profession.

 

Foundation Minute: No report hist week.

 

Birthdays: No one got older this week!                           

 

Anniversaries: None this week.

 

King of Clubs:  $347 in the pot and 16 cards in the deck. Sorry, no winner. About $200 take-home pot will be available next week. 

 

Happy $’s:

  • Gene: Apologies to the speaker, Dave Hadley is back from FL.
  • Lou: Chris and Jess coming up from DC this coming weekend to celebrate a new grandchild arriving soon.
  • Tommy: Happy to see Krista here today and thanks to the speakers.
  • Al: Nice to see Pat and Krista back today.
  • Tony Fappiano: Spoke to Don Baechler recently and he would like to hear from us.  Please give him a call at (203) 901-9566. His email address is baechlerd@gmail.com.
  • Krista: Very happy to be back and getting over a nasty bout of COVID.
  • Pat: Welcome to Armand, Dave Holman, Krista and thanks Chief for pushing my band. (Pat is adding more professional musicians and cabaret singers to the band.  Every Monday evening at the VFW, 7 pm. Free admission – donations accepted to pay for the hall.)
  • Dave Holman: It is good to be here, and it seems like a great organization, everyone is happy and welcoming.
  • Wayne: Great day outside.
  • Billy: Happy that tax day is over. (and the Sox finally won a game last night in Atlanta).
  • Mike Ganci: promises a Foundation minute next week. And he also promises to propel from the top of the Mohegan Sun hotel to raise funds for the Special Olympics.    
  • Kyle: Happy it’s finally convertible weather.

Guest Speakers:

 

1.     Lt. Timothy Bernier, (Introduced by President Tom Terribile), Guilford Police Department addressed the club about an upcoming Special Olympics’ event that will take place in Guilford.  Officers with the Guilford Police Department will host a Tip-A-Cop event to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut at Guilford Mooring located at, 505 Old Whitfield Street, on Tuesday, May 24th between 12 PM and 9 PM.

 

During the event, law enforcement will volunteer their time to work with restaurant employees and welcome customers, take orders and serve meals to diners. All tips the officers receive will be dedicated to helping Special Olympics Connecticut provide life-changing sports, health and fitness programs to athletes of all abilities. Tip-A-Cop is a Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut event. For more information, visit soct.org, email specialolympicsct@soct.org or call (203) 230-1201.

 

2.     Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D. (Introduced by Pat Todd), began his career in education as a teacher in 1958. He quickly moved into administrative roles, and in 1971, became superintendent of schools in Hadley, MA.  In 1980, he resigned his position to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship with the Boston Labor Management Center, specializing in quality of work life programs.  Following his fellowship, he served as superintendent of schools in Branford from 1985 until his retirement in 1992.

 

Dr. Fusco later became a professor of education and director of teacher intern programs at the University of Bridgeport.  He has authored many professional works and his articles appeared regularly in his column, Inside Education and several shoreline newspapers published beginning in 1996. Dr. Fusco’s earned degrees including a BS in Education, Central CT State Teachers College, professional diploma from UCONN, MA from Columbia University and an Ed.D from UMASS.  Dr. Fusco also founded the Parkside School and Academy for special education students and co-founded the Springfield Preparatory School. Dr. Fusco resides in Guilford, with Constance, his wife of 69 years.  They have four children and fourteen grandchildren.

 

Dr. Fusco has published two books on education that can be purchased on Books on Amazon: School Corruption: Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust, (2005).  This book exposes corruption in public schools and related agencies.  The second book: School Pushouts: A Plague of Hopelessness Perpetrated Zombie Schools (2012).  This book, Dr. Fusco states “documents the dysfunctional educational conditions typically found in urban schools – deplorable low achievement, huge attainment gaps, and extremely high dropout rates.”  

 

Dr. Fusco began his talk by stating he had 10 envelops in his hand with $100 in each and that he would donate them to the club if we could identify what any of the following items were about.   

 

1. White Cargo   2. CT PA 10-220(e)      3.  9 Subcommittees     4. 6000 series   5. 1968 Epperson vs Alabama   6. 2011 District Plan 7.  No job description  8.  400/800 compared to 220 really 409.      9. Hartford Courant Headline, March 16, 20220. 

10. $25,0001.     11.  Chappaqua, NY   12. CRT

 

Eventually one member, Stephanie Jacobs, responded “Critical Race Theory” and she was awarded the 10 envelopes by Dr. Fusco. A total of $1,000 to be used by the club as we saw fit.    

 

Dr. Fusco proceeded to explain what was meant by each term.  For example, he stated that White Cargo he was referring to what he claims are facts – that during our Colonial Period, America slaves were white and not African-Americans.  Dr. Fusco said there is a book named “White Cargo” where the author claims white slavery “occurred sooner, lasted longer and was more vicious and that it was cheaper to buy white slaves than a black slave.  You probably never heard about this.”

 

State Law, PA 10-220(e),  Dr. Fusco listed this item because  “In the BOE and administrative frenzy to implement a choice program, not required by any law or known demand from the public (the recent election did not vote on the school issue but rather their political leanings, as well, as inadequate information thanks to the media that does not know how to report education news, they neglect what they are required to do by law. State law delineates the duties and responsibilities of a BOE.  Section (e) requires the BOE to establish a

District Curriculum Committee (DCC) to deal with all matters related to curriculum.  It is like a standing committee that is always in place to make studies and recommendations relating to any current or potential curriculum matters. 

 

The BOE has not established the DCC.  Had it been done, it would have required the ESJA initiative of Dr. Freeman to be debated and decided in the DCC and not just by him alone.  Noteworthy is that there has not been a single committee composed of teachers or teacher participation to deal with the ESJA curriculum, yet they have the responsibility to implement it; but there were clues to their concerns in the recent Equity Report by Dr. Siler.”

 

9 Subcommittees:

CT is a blue state and the blue states governed by democrats support the racial agenda known as Critical Race Theory (but it is also known under 102 other terms and phrases such as Equity and Social Justice Agenda just like Guilford..  The legislature came on board very early on by passing legislation requiring the DOE to develop an answer to the racial situation that for all practical purposes was instigated by the death of George Floyd.

 

The legislation included 17 characteristics, as well as a reference to the national safe school standards.

To start the dialogue, the DOE established 9 committees that required 200 participants, their names are not important; but the fact that 9 were created certainly signals that it would make a very clear attempt to discuss every nook and corner of the racial issue to come up with a solution.

 

In comparison to Guilford, it established not a single committee.  In addition, it took the state months of discussion to finally reach a consensus of what should be done by all districts to address the racial issue.  Obviously, they did not see it as a crisis or so urgent that they charged past the starting line as Guilford did.  Nor did the vast majority of state districts do anything and waited for a state decision so that their towns are in peace.

 

Anyone would have expected that a blue state would come up with an intricate and comprehensive plan, but instead all that was recommended is for every district to offer a single course at the high school only in black and Latino studies.  Additionally, they even developed the course so that the districts only need to include it in the years 2023-2024 again indicating no urgency to rush a decision like Guilford felt the need to do and still does.

 

However, there was an interesting wrinkle to the requirement, although the district must offer the course, it is an elective meaning students do not have to take it.  In other words, parents and students were given a choice thus making it a win-win situation.  Nevertheless, once the advocates realize it’s an elective course, there will be demands to make some school boards, particularly Guilford, to make it a requirement for graduation.

 

The question now is who is “right” the 200 who participated for months with 9 committees or Guilford that has gone to the far extreme to address the racial issue?  Is Dr. Freeman wiser and has more knowledge than the state by staying with the extreme course he is on? If so, it certainly would indicate that he knows better than almost everyone else.  His rush to judgement forced him into a corner along with the BOE and it is not likely that he will call a retreat.  This is why I have called it a Trophy Case in my book along with being an orphan school in a ship at sea basically alone while the rest remain in port and will simply follow the state requirement; the answer will be known next September. (2023).

 

Had the state not made it a “choice,” it would have caused more divisiveness because the developers of the course are on board with Critical Race Theory and it would have caused further parent discontent.

Important to note is that the state did not feel that this issue was age appropriate below the high school whereas Guilford is rushing, not walking, down to the beginning grade level.  This will only cause further parent reaction because he has no justification to include the elementary grades when the state has concluded it is not age appropriate.”[1]

 

6000 Series:  By this item Dr. Fusco is referring to the following comments he makes in his paper called Regarding the Equity and Social Justice Agenda:

 

“There seems to be a difference of opinion whether the ESJA initiative is curriculum as far as the BOE and Dr. Freeman are concerned, even though the BOE policy manual is very clear that it is under section #6000, Curriculum, first sentence. 

 

There are different terms used to describe curriculum depending on the source, but what they all have in common is that anything that takes place between teacher and students is considered curriculum, a rather broad definition.  However, the BOE Policy Manual (the “Bible”  of the rules and regulations to be followed by the administration and staff) defines it to include “concepts” and “processes.”  In other words, it’s just not a title of a course with a textbook because that is only one piece of the curriculum pie. 

 

Also, included with all curricula are materials that are used to support the instruction, and they are defined as lectures, activities, discussions, field trips, etc. meaning they also constitute “the curriculum.”  Yet, the BOE and Dr. Freeman keep insisting that no changes have been made in the curriculum; but the fact is that the ESJA document explaining what it is constitutes is part of the “curriculum.”  Therefore, the concepts of ESJA and the actual process taking place to implement it should have been done through and with the DCC that they never established. 

 

Furthermore, the Policy Manual also delineates the process to be followed in developing any curriculum.  Had the DCC been in place along with the requirements of the Policy Manual, there would have been 9 violations of policies.

 

This includes the book he purchased for every staff member, How to be AntiRacist , a rather unprecedented action on the part of a superintendent, is part of the curriculum because its contents are to be used in carrying out instruction; that certainly had to be the intent of the book purchase.  What cannot be disputed is that it certainly was meant to be used and expected to be used as a reference for teachers to follow its tenets and beliefs all of which are concepts and not historical fact.  It is a theory or concept of someone’s belief system.  In fact the very title of Critical Race Theory testifies that it is a theory."

 

The U.S. Supreme Court, Epperson vs Alabama, 1968

 

"Whenever a new attempt is made to change curriculum, due diligence must be exercised to research any information related to what is being changed.  Since ESJA is of one theme, doctrine or dogma—theory there should have been a search of federal and state court law and legislative law to determine if teaching only one dogma was permitted.  Although the Supreme Court decision isn’t specifically due to the racial focus, it adjudicated that schools are prohibited from teaching only once concept, theme or doctrine; further, teachers cannot be compelled to do so. 

 

What cannot be disputed (but it will be because they have now cornered themselves and have no way out) is that there have not been any counter theories, dogmas, beliefs provided to balance the scales.  In fact, a claim is made that the ESJA program provides students an opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.  However, such skills cannot be developed when only one theory is introduced; at least two are needed to do so.  Claiming, as they have, that students have access to a variety of materials is not the same as providing a counter book as was done with the anti-racist book.  For example, what would have happened if he had purchased a Bible for every staff member?  The reaction would have been heard even among the planets.  He certainly knew that the author and the book were controversial and would be divisive because an internet search would have revealed it and still does.

 

Now that they will know, will it change anything?  Not likely and that means a court case and the evidence indicates they will lose."        

 

2011 District Plan:

 

"Related to the racial initiative, a state law was passed in 2011-12 for every district to develop a Safe School Climate Plan to prevent school violence.  All evidence pertaining to how it was to be done was consistent that a committee of stakeholders should form a committee to develop the plan.  Again, such was not done.  Instead, the committee that developed the plan was only composed of school administrators.  Teachers and students who are the likely victims of school shootings were not included, neither were parents, students and law enforcement.  As a result, the Safe School Plan is totally inadequate compared to other plans from other districts and model plans from other sources, and that is saying it nicely.  For example, it will do nothing significant to prevent any violence except to show a plan that is not even being monitored effectively as evidenced by the fact that no a single change has been made in 10 years despite a plethora of new information.

 

The plan itself requires the Safe School Specialists appointed by the Superintendent to meet twice a year to review the plan to determine whether changes and additions should be made.  The specialists appointed are the school principals of each building; the foxes guarding the hen house is an appropriate term to use since the foxes have not initiated any changes and as will be seen many changes should be made.

 

In addition, every two years the plan requires that a safe school climate survey be conducted by each school (very important).  However, the reports on the BOE website that is placed there by the superintendent reports the climate surveys, not by school, but by grades—1-4 and 5-8.  Therefore, there is no way for any parent, taxpayer, staff members etc. to know which schools have the best plans or inadequate plans.  To put it bluntly, a poor plan as this is in my estimation, despite the fact that the state approved it, but they do not know any more about what constitutes an effective plan otherwise that information would have been provided to the district."

 

No Job Description (Equity Officer)

 

"This position is rarely found in small districts like Guilford; such a new position for which there is no certification requirements, is found in larger districts where the racial problems are far more pronounced.

 

Strange is an appropriate word since it does have twists and turns.  First, when it was approved by the BOE, there was no job description.  How did they approve a new position without knowing what responsibilities the position would entail?  It took two requests for a job description to finally have one developed.

 

How does an announcement for the position take place without a job description?  This was a completely new position that should have required far more due diligence. He then hired a former superintendent of schools from CT who had just signed a $225,000 contract to continue his position, but then he resigned and is offered a $25,000 part time equity officer position.

Didn’t anyone question why he was taking the job and why he resigned a signed substantial contract position?  Was this the best choice among the candidates or were there even other candidates; no indication that there were.

 

Why wasn’t there an interviewing committee for such a critical and totally new job?  This has the potential to be a dangerous position because the way the job description reads, he can only report his findings to the Dr. Freeman and he cannot discuss it with anyone else.  With this lack of transparency and accountability, evidence or claims of description etc. can be fabricated.  I know how it can happen because it happened in my first superintendency with a speech therapist.  Except when I asked questions, to which she responded, “what the hell do you know about speech therapy?”  That was all that I needed.  I hired two consultants to test every speech client and they concluded that 2/3 had no speech problem that they could detect.  That’s what can happen.  This is a position that needs transparency and accountability and not just with the superintendent.  Some article have compared it to the thought police in the book of 1984 and some even match it with the political commissars used by the communist party that are implanted into the smallest of governmental and military units to insure that everyone is following the party line.

 

Why is the job description such that he cannot share any information except with the superintendent.?  Easy, because the superintendent developed the job description"[2]

 

Hartford Currant March 16, 2022

 

A headline in the Hartford Courant on March 16, 2022 heralded the achievement gains of black students who were able to be accepted in choice schools such as public choice schools, magnet schools and charter schools.  Comparing their original state test scores when they were in their neighborhood schools (more appropriately called Zombie schools is my second book) with their choice schools two years later, they made gains despite no changes in their socio-economic conditions.  In other words, they did not move to the city or town in which the choice schools were located so at night they returned to their original socio economic conditions.

 

Why didn’t those same socio-economic conditions prevent them from learning in the choice schools?  They did not mean they are conditions and not causes and poverty is one of the socio economic conditions.  As one example, those who scored 19 in proficiency in their neighborhood school scored 50% two years later in a charter school; a remarkable gain that is statistically significant and not by chance.”[3]

 

Choice Schools

 

“In the CT section of the Hartford Courant on May 3, 2022 the top of the page headlined that “Open Choice seats again exceed supply,”  Despite high demand for the program, which aims to address racial segregation by bussing Hartford students to better-performing schools in the suburbs, only 499 new Open Choice seats will be available to Hartford students next school year. The projected total Hartford resident Open Choice enrollment is 2,497, up from 2,251 this year. The Sheff v. O’Neill settlement agreement, which was finalized in March, requires that the state meet 100% of the demand for Choice seats among Hartford students over the next 10 years.

The numbers confirm that districts are not yet poised to dramatically expand their level of participation in the program.

 

Some districts who spoke with the Courant noted that they were already deep into planning their budget by the time the settlement was announced, while some administrators continue to voice concerns over cost and capacity.

 

Bull****, in plain unadulterated English. 

 

The budget has nothing to do with it since first of all they get more money of $2,000 per open choice student. In addition, capacity has nothing to do with it since enrollments are generally down demographically and more parents are doing homeschooling because of what they learned from COVID closures.

 

Let’s be brutally honest, choice programs by public schools are to showcase black students to show that they are anti-racist.  The average teacher pupil ration in CT is 13:1 and that is one of the factors involved.  Adding more numbers would likely increase that to perhaps 14:1 and that would make absolutely no difference academically.  Nationally, the average class size has been cut in half from 18 to 15, yet at the same time the test scores have been flat.  Therefore, the size of classes does not seem to make any difference.

 

As one example, 336 choice students opted for Wethersfield, but it only took 18 students.  They likely could take all 336 if they were distributed evenly in each grade level and that would number about 30 per grade and that would likely be spread across 7 schools and of those 5 are elementary 1-6, and if each added 30 students per school, that would mean an average of 5 students per grade.  In the middle school it would add 15 per grade and in the high school 7.5 per grade.  Absolutely nothing significant by grade level and they could accept by grade level. 

 

Interestingly, Dr. Freeman who seems to have a real concern for minority students, yet Guilford is not part of the open choice schools in the New Haven area.  Rather strange, is it not?

 

What is stranger is that the students want out of the city schools because they are failing schools.  Would it not be easier to reconstitute the city schools into charter and magnet schools or are they really saying that black students can only learn in a white environment; yet they claim whites are their oppressors.  That is even stranger and rather confusing.”[4]  [Editor’s Note: It should be noted that since Dr. Fusco wrote this paper, the State Legislature approved a change in the Open Choice program to allow the Guilford District to accept students from New Haven if vacancies exist, starting, I believe, in the 2023/24 school year.  This legislative change was made at the request of Dr. Freedman and was introduced by Rep Candelora, Rep Scanlon and Sen. Cohen.  Dr. Fusco stated he was not aware of this policy change but fully supports it.]

 

At this point in Dr. Fusco’s presentation, time ran out and he was unable to finish what he planned to present. 

 

Meeting adjourned at 1:30.



[1]Strange Events of the Guilford BOE and Superintendent

“Regarding the Equity and Social Justice Agenda.” By Dr. Armand A. Fusco (undated)

 

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

?

 


Check the club website and click on "Upcoming Programs" on the right column to see planned speakers.