On Wednesday, May 25, I reported that the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers had sent a letter to the school board club and the administration protesting the application for Gold Ribbon School status because the application “was based on untruths and inaccuracies.”

Today I learned that a meeting at Mariners has been planned to address these concerns.

What’s that, Mariners parents and others – you didn’t know about the meeting? Hmmm… that’s odd. It could be that you haven’t heard about the meeting because, according to my source, the invitation was sent only to a few select parents.

Here’s the invitation:

“Dear Mariners Parents,

“As a result of concerns raised at a recent Board of Education meeting, members of NMUSD’s District-level administration will be on campus next week to gather input from teachers, classified staff, students, and parents.

“You have valuable insight and are invited to attend the parent meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, 3:15-4:15 in the PFT.

“Please reply and let me know whether or not you can attend, so that we can prepare the room.”

Please note that the meeting starts at 3:15, which is just after the end of the school day, which all but excludes concerned parents who work and cannot attend.

There is no announcement of this meeting on the district’s website.

My source asked the following questions:

– How were these representatives selected? And who selected them?
– What district people will be there?
– What is the format of this meeting?
– Why aren’t ALL Mariners parents invited?

Some good questions, and I will answer the last one. The entire Mariners parent population was not notified because the district does not want all of them at the meeting, or even a lot of them – only those who may be inclined to let the latest scandal go with a slap on the wrist.

This meeting could have been scheduled at night, as many others have, but it wasn’t. This choice of time of day was made to keep attendance down.

This meeting will be just like all the other community input meetings. If you’ve been to one, you know the drill: Someone from Bear St. gets up and explains why they’re on campus and acts genuinely concerned about the situation and genuinely concerned about getting feedback. (At some of these meetings, there are flip charts on easels with written recommendations and parents take little round colored stickers and place them next to the items that they believe have the highest priority. Just like in kindergarten! After the meeting, those flip charts sit in someone’s office until the public has forgotten about the meeting, then they are thrown away.)

But not so fast, this time. This time the cat is out of the bag and parents will be there to support their outstanding teachers, who are protesting the basis of the Gold Ribbon application. It will be interesting to see what happens when parents who were not invited show up to be heard.

The school and the district don’t need another phony community or parent input meeting to settle this. It’s simple: Superintendent Frederick Navarro needs to step in and do his job by determining whether the teachers have a case. If they do, the person or people responsible should suffer the appropriate consequences. If they don’t, the Superintendent explains the differences between the two sides and we all go back to a neutral corner.

Don’t look for that solution anytime soon.

So, Mariners parents and any other taxpayer who wants to attend, here’s the meeting info again: Tuesday, June 14, 3:15-4:15 in the PFT.

Please attend and support our teachers.

Thank you.

Steve Smith

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