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Letter: Mayo deserved the job

January 23, 2019

Presumably, the unpaid representatives elected to sit on the Board of Education do so out of a sense of responsibility and desire to help the district succeed. Nevertheless, after years of pointless initiatives and abrupt turnover, the BOE had a chance to choose stability and instead opted for another mercenary from out of town. They should all resign. Aside from the usual jargon about personalization and the almighty vision of the graduate, there is nothing in the announcement of this new Dr. Whatstheirface that leaves the reader with a shred of confidence in the correctness of this choice. Ralph Mayo deserved this job. He did his time — he knows the town and clearly loves it. The seven board members who sided against him should be ashamed.

I suspect that the reasons for Ralph’s dismissal are two-fold: First, Ralph is a friend of the faculty and the board did not want a friend of the teachers on their side of the table during the next contract negotiation. Two: Ralph is an older man who probably doesn’t have much in the way of insight regarding the growing trend of personalized learning and the digital learning environment. Well, NEWS FLASH: I can personally attest to the one-to-one program being nothing short of a tire fire. Chromebooks are a distraction in the classroom and serve as little more than YouTube machines for the children they’ve been handed to (in some cases many times over because when the immature owners inevitably break them they are given little more than a stern talking-to and then handed a new computer ... rinse ... repeat). Here’s a new idea for an initiative: dig the deepest, darkest hole you can find and throw every Chromebook in it ASAP.

You know what Ralph Mayo knows?

Good teaching.

He’s been in schools long enough to know that good teaching doesn’t require anything more than a committed instructor and a good faith effort from their students. Think about the future this board is committed to ushering in: a device for every kid from K-12. Now think about our world and how much of our current state of affairs we owe to the proliferation of internet access, social media, and the general dissipation of interpersonal relationships. Is society better now that we all have the internet in our pockets all the time? I’ll leave that to you.

The choice of this stranger over the wonderful person we know and trust is a symptom of the decision-making that is flooding our schools with Google-branded gadgets and trumpeting about personalization as they worsen the student-teacher ratio. Education can’t get more personal if a teacher’s attention has to be split among more kids than before. I’d bet Ralph knows that too.

In two years, when we are doing this all over again and little has changed — because how can it when leaders come and go with the tides — I hope that Ralph stands in front of the Board of Education and offers them a firm, “I told you so,” and a one-finger salute

J. O’Brien

Cos Cob

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