My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Local school advocates ready to fight any regionalization efforts

Hampshire Gazette
By Ben Storrow
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is a very interesting article about how some Western MA districts are fighting the push coming from the state for reigonalization (and includes specific reference to how Union 28, which includes Leverett and Shutesbury). You can find the full article at:


FR Parent said...

Local districts are resisting the effort because regionalization takes control of local kids and local education and forces a town to give up some of it's decision-making ability to other towns whose priorities (or finances)might not be the same. Look at the controversy in Amherst over potentially dissolving Union 26. If Amherst had never agreed to that Union, it wouldn't be in that problem. And if Amherst had never agreed to enter into a regional agreement with Leverett, Shutesbury, and Pelham, our educational system would be a lot more straight-forward and more in local control. Amherst already has way more than 1,000 students; I am not sure why it entered into these agreements in the first place. Catherine, do you know?

Amy Wasserman said...

If you are so concerned about "a greater emphasis on academic excellence for all children in the Amherst schools" why not proofread your posts to avoid obvious typos???

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My responses:

FR Parent - I agree completely. Towns originally entered into unions to save resources (e.g., instead of each town hiring its own superintendent/central office/lawyer, they shared). This might have made sense at one point in time, when Amherst was smaller. It clearly doesn't make sense NOW for Amherst (which is the largest town in the state of MA in a union), but it continues to make sense for Pelham, Leverett, and Shutesbury. That's the problem!

Amy - thank you for using your name! I very much apologize for missing some typos in my post ... I suppose it is because I have a full-time job as a professor, three kids in elementary school who take up a lot of time, and am working 10+ hours a week on a volunteer job as a SC member. I've prioritized getting information out there and responding to comments on my blog (including comments like yours criticizing my typos) over careful proof-reading of everything. I'm really sorry this has offended you, and thus you felt the need to post your comment on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I think that multiple punctuation marks really make a point!!!!


Ease back grammar Nazi.

Anonymous said...

But that's the mighty Amy Wasserman. She's entitled.

Anonymous said...

"It clearly doesn't make sense NOW for Amherst (which is the largest town in the state of MA in a union), but it continues to make sense for Pelham, Leverett, and Shutesbury. That's the problem!"

I thought that you had no preconceived notions about would or should come of the Union 26 inquiry. Was I mistaken?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

Anonymous 8:38 - I've said repeatedly on this blog and elsewhere that I believe in proportional representation, and that I believe the current Union 26 arrangement is disadvantageous to Amherst voters. I've been very, very clear about that.

Now, I have no idea what will become of this arrangement because I don't know what the legal options are regarding this arrangement. That's precisely why I voted (unanimously with the other SC members) to ask for legal advice on the options regarding this arrangement.

Have I made up my mind that it is unfair to Amherst voters? Yes -- and it is pretty clear that it is (numerically). Have I made up my mind what would become of the inquiry? No -- how could I (or anyone) when I don't know what the options are!

Sam I Am said...


If you are moderating comments to only allow appropriate ones I think you should have not let Anon 5:39 get through. It was personal and insulting. I may not agree with Amy's comment/question for you, but she did not deserve to get, or to see, that response.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

Sam I Am - I am moderating comments ... however, I let in virtually all posts, and even then, I get accused of censoring, so I am really trying to only post those that I find really inappropriate (e.g., naming a staff member in the district). I let in Anonymous 5:39's comment because I frankly felt that Amy Wasserman's comment was really not about any educational issue -- and if she wants to spend time on this blog posting a critique of my typos, I think it is appropriate for her, and others, to experience the reaction some may have. Personally, I'd like to focus on education issues -- not grammar/ punctuation.

Anonymous said...

I don't know AW nor do I know who she is or "what" she stands for (to some, apparently).

But I will say it's just way too easy to hit the orange "PUBLISH THIS COMMENT" button.

How about using that blue button -- PREVIEW -- instead, when the spirit to be petty and/or digressive strikes? Read your unhelpful comment -- and then don't send it.

Obviously Catherine knows how to type and spell (it's doubtful a person could be a professor at Amherst College nowadays without those skills, as the era of the academic department secretarial pool is long past).

To point out typos is just petty...and, well, digressive.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 11:08

You should notice that that blew over rather quickly. No reason to bring it up...people are smart enough to ignore.

Anonymous said...

It blew over quickly because CS is moderating this blog...and she is not publishing all comments made on the subject. This probably won't get published either but I thought I'd try.

Since I know you are the only one who will read this post, Catherine, I just want to let you know that I DID vote for yo support you at first but I no longer support your efforts. Your selective moderation of this blog is one of the many reasons why. You may think you are above it all but your choice of what to post and what not to post has really turned me off completely. I'm done with you and I am done with this blog.

I will work hard to see that you are not re-elected next spring.

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

Anonymous 9:18 - thank you for your very thoughtful post, which I did publish, as I publish all comments that don't have a direct personal attack on someone (this one was indeed close, since it isn't actually about issues). So, I just want to be clear -- you voted for me and supported me last time, and you like that I have a blog in which you and others can send comments that I respond to, but because I've moderated the comments to avoid allowing mean, personal attacks (which was indeed happening), you will work hard against my re-election so that my blog won't exist and no one will be able to post/respond. That is the great thing about this blog--you've now learned more about me, so that you can make an informed choice next spring about voting for a superior, non-moderating, non-blogging SC candidate! You should also consider running yourself (though you'd have to use your name, unlike posting a personal attack on me anonymously) -- I look forward to an active and energetic campaign season in which the Amherst voters can select their preferred candidate.

Anonymous said...

Catherine, I, too, voted for you and have regretted the role you have played on the school committee. You led the drive to close Mark's Meadow, a destructive action that cannot be undone. This damage to Amherst and UMass families is permanent. Now you want to destroy a school union that has served us well for decades because you didn't get your way on the Maria Geryk vote. We can only hope you don't get a second term.

Anonymous said...

I bet the last two anon comments were written by bitter administrators wanting to shoot you down, Catherine. You are stronger than they know, so I hope you don't feel defeated by it. Why don't they use their names? Keep doing what you are doing. We appreciate it and our town is better for it.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad that a parent would teach their child that they are permanently damaged or victimized by having to change schools.

When I think back about what people said about closing MM - that it was like murdering someone or like tearing families apart - it disgusts me because there are people who are actually suffering in the world - who are in danger of being murdered for their beliefs or being separated from their families by corrupt political regimes. And for people in Amherst to claim that they are the victims of heinous acts because they have to now send their children to a school that is 1.5 miles further away than their current school -- to get their free above-average public education -- it is unbelievably insensitive to people who are ACTUALLY suffering. in other parts of the world.