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Comment to Dr. Dallemand

I left the following comment on the most recent blog post of Dr. Romain Dallemand. It is currently awaiting moderation.

Dr. Dallemand,

I am part of the Macon community that has attempted to make it “very plain” that your “Macon Miracle” plan has many substantive problems that are profoundly troubling to me as an educated and involved parent. It is desperately in need of “revisions, additions, and deletions,” as you say; and, your assurances to the contrary, I am not convinced that you intended the plan as it now exists to be the beginning of a conversation but rather its end.

If the plan being unveiled today were merely “a good start for us,” then why the fanfare? I fail to see the logic of balloons, confetti, and acrobats (!) to announce that you and the Board have put an opening bid on the table. And if this is how you roll out a proposal for extended discussion, then I can only imagine how much of the taxpayers’ money you intend to waste when the final product is unveiled.

If the plan were merely “a good start,” then why avoid meeting with Tanner Pruitt and Brett Felty when they arrived at your office—along with some two hundred of their classmates—to express their concerns about what was in the plan? Surely you knew they were coming and had ample time to clear your morning schedule. At the least, a brief meeting with concerned students would have signaled a willingness to listen to all the stakeholders. It may well have earned you some much-needed goodwill from people like me.

If you intended this plan to begin a conversation about what needs to change in the Bibb County School District, and I do not dispute for a moment that substantive changes must be made, then how did you and the Board manage to miscommunicate your intentions so utterly that large numbers of Bibb County residents were under the impression that there was going to be a vote on accepting the plan today? Could it possibly be because the original plan was to vote on the Macon Miracle at today’s “unveiling” event—as WMAZ and other news outlets have reported?  If the vote was merely to put the plan on the table—not to ratify it as official policy— it would seem an able leader and communicator should have been able to explain this quickly and clearly and thus avoid the potential embarrassment of having to back-pedal on voting at all.

Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Dallemand. I am not necessarily opposed to every detail of your plan. But in my estimation the negatives far outweigh the positives, and even where I agree in principle (foreign language learning, year-round school), I have grave misgivings about the proposed implementation. Far more worrying than your proposals, however, I am deeply concerned about the heavy-handed manner in which they are being advanced. If I may be blunt, you have not assured me that your talk about openness to “revisions, additions, and deletions” is anything more than a last-minute damage control maneuver.

I will watch with interest how you and the Board proceed in the weeks to come. An attitude of transparency and humility would be a refreshing change, and a good start to a more fruitful and healthy relationship with the people who pay your salary.

Regards,

Darrell J. Pursiful, Ph.D.

 

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