by David Safier
I am concerned TUSD Supe John Pedicone caused his school district embarassment with his op ed in the Star. Some may actually say his piece is shocking and abhorrent. [See NOT-QUITE-SATIRE note below.]
Some would have you believe Pedicone wrote this op ed on his own. I believe this may not be accurate. To me, it is clear Pedicone's PR team helped plan and influence his writing. Is he being exploited and used as a pawn by others? I consider it a possibility.
I come to my conclusions based on Pedicone's description of the agenda of the Board meeting broken up by students.
The simple truth is that one board member suggested having a discussion about changing Mexican American courses from being used to satisfy the state requirement for American Government and American History into electives that will continue to be offered.
That is slick, PR-infused language and not, as the paragraph states, "the simple truth." A board member did not "suggest" a "discussion." The truth is, Board President Mark Stegeman wrote a resolution which was to be considered and voted on by the board. The future of the program was scheduled to be decided that night.
If Pedicone is interested in a meaningful dialogue, he should not use deceptive language to misrepresent the intent of the meeting. If, as he writes, "consideration should be given to having a . . . community forum, open to all opinions about issues of concern," Pedicone should cancel the board meeting where a vote on the resolution is scheduled in a room with a capacity of 185 people and replace it with a community forum in a high school auditorium with plenty of time for public comment and discussion.
NOTE ON THE NOT-QUITE-SATIRE ABOVE: The somewhat inflammatory -- some might say unfair -- language I used to describe Pedicone comes from Pedicone's own op ed. Here are the passages where Pedicone described the student behavior which I paraphrased to describe what he wrote:
It is fair to say the situation that occurred at last Tuesday evening's TUSD Governing Board meeting has caused this school district embarrassment.
The manner in which it occurred was, to many people inside and outside of the organization, shocking and abhorrent.
It is clear adults both helped to plan and influence the outcome of that night.
Students have been exploited and are being used as pawns to serve a political agenda that threatens this district and our community. [boldface added]
If the op ed isn't entirely the work of Pedicone unaided by aides and the district's PR people, not revealing the identities of those who helped him frame his arguments is hypocritical, seeing as how he condemns students for planning their protests with adults.
R-Cubed noted that Pedicone did not put his own TUSD email at the bottom of the op ed. If you want to conact the superintendent, follow Tedski's advice:
It has become a habit for the writers of these op-ed pieces to supply an e-mail address at the bottom of their piece. Instead of this, Pedicone gave the e-mail address of an underling. In case you want to e-mail Pedicone, you can reach him at John.Pedicone@tusd1.org.