Letter: The BCCC crowd has presented misleading ‘facts’

Posted 7/6/22

To the editor:Last week, the BCCC and friends continued their attacks on education, educators, and students (especially people of color) by misusing data and presenting cherry-picked and misleading …

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Letter: The BCCC crowd has presented misleading ‘facts’

Posted

To the editor:

Last week, the BCCC and friends continued their attacks on education, educators, and students (especially people of color) by misusing data and presenting cherry-picked and misleading “facts.”

Georgina McDonald’s letter to the editor (and Peter Hewett’s remarks at last week’s School Committee meeting) taking shots at Dr. Deb DiBiase make poor use of presented data. Low proficiency scores are never something to be welcomed, but research by actual educators over the past twenty years shows that they are not useful for determining quality of instruction, effectiveness of school leadership, or how much students can learn.

Even the creators of the assessments admit that they’re invalid for determining those things. Furthermore, there are other schools in the Bristol Warren school district where standardized testing has shown low proficiency. It’s interesting how neither Macdonald nor Hewett lash out after those principals. One can only wonder what their problem with Dr. DiBiase really is, if they have to openly misuse data and imply malfeasance on the part of a highly qualified superintendent in order to attack a highly capable principal whom they seem to believe is the source of all woes for our high school-aged children.

Shifting gears, Mike Byrnes had some interesting things to say at last week’s school committee meeting (as well as others on social media) concerning a mural in the courtyard of Mt. Hope High School that states “Black Lives Matter.” Their position can best be summed up by “Students in school should not do things that make me uncomfortable.”

They’ll state that political speech has no place in schools, when in fact political speech that does not disrupt the education process is protected by law. They’ll say they agree with the statement “Black Lives Matter” but will not be able to say it without immediately noting that “All lives matter.” Why?

They will then discuss the “scourge of Black on Black crime,” while ignoring hard data that “White on White” violent crime and homicide occur at basically the same rate (within 8 points). What do Mr. Byrnes, the BCCC, and their advocates propose we do to save White people from themselves, especially if “All lives matter”?

Some people feel threatened when a Black person (or their white allies) tries to remind us of injustices that have lingered for 160+ years after the abolition of slavery in America. They’ll advocate for Black heroes like Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King, Black people who can no longer speak for themselves, but took white Americans and institutions to task for the same lingering injustices when they still could speak (of course, they were roundly hated for it).

Byrnes, the BCCC, etc. have even admitted that Washington’s, Douglass’ and King’s work is still not done, and there is still progress to be made. But whatever people do, please don’t advocate continuing the work of “abolition” in any visible way.

It would be good to know the real reasons BCCC and friends feel like they do.

Bill Bullard
Hope Street

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.