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Friday, January 30, 2015

School Retaliates Against Student For Parent’s Pro-Israel Stance

Received via email earlier today:
1-29-15
A state education department found that a school district and School Committee Chair retaliated against a student because of her parent’s complaint about inaccurate and biased materials.

The decision by the Massachusetts agency found that the Newton Public Schools (NPS)  and School Committee Chair Matthew Hills sent confidential information about the student and her family to local media, which published it. The media entities - a newspaper and a blog - also published false claims that the parent was associated with anti-Muslim groups.

The student’s family said that both the newspaper and blog knew that the family had previously been stalked and that publishing the false allegations put them in danger. They also stated they suffered emotional distress and other harm due to the district’s actions.

Parents and education groups have accused the school of distributing inaccurate and anti-Israel material, resulting in the removal of several widely used resources. One resource, the Arab World Studies Notebook, has been been subject to intense criticism by education groups and removed from other school districts. The district also removed a website and whited out a textbook’s claim that the Catholic church was “reconsidering polygamy as a Christian option”.

Parents’ complaint are supported by organizations including the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, StandWithUs, and Zionist Organization of America. 

Last September, the education research organization Verity Educate issued a report on materials used in NPS history classes. The report found numerous inaccurate and deceptive material, including altered primary source documents. It also found substantial anti-Israel bias, including material described as ‘neutral’ which had been prepared by anti-Israel activists.

The district denies that any bias or inaccuracies exist. Officials also told parents that they would ‘never’ read the report issued by Verity Educate or any other organization and that parents upset about deceptive or racist class material “should find another school for their children”.

“The retaliation by school officials against a child because of a parent’s legitimate complaints about biased and deceptive class materials is outrageous”, said Evan Jacobi, president of the group Parents for Excellence in Newton Schools (PENS). “Their goal is to further intimidate  parents who object to their children being told that biased and grossly inaccurate material is true.”

Hills was also found to have violated state Open Meeting law several times in 2014 in an attempt to cover up a plagarized speech given by Newton Superintendent David Fleishman, and advised Fleishman and others to violate state and federal law by withholding documents from responses to public records requests. No sanctions have been imposed on Hills for these violations.

Contact PENS President Evan Jacobi at NewtonExcellence@gmail.com for more information.
Yours truly grew up in Newton, Massachusetts (although, thankfully, I never attended its public schools).

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4 Comments:

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

This has GOT to be a cause for a Federal discrimination lawsuit.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Fleishman also received a small fine for plagiarism which was discovered by 2 recent graduates
http://www.washingtonpost.COM/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/26/students-catch-school-superintendent-plagiarizing-part-of-commencement-speech/

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger TamMountain said...

Israel Matzav comment

Hi Carl,

I'm a parent of the student who was retaliated against; I've tried to reach you a number of times but apparently haven't made it through. I'd greatly appreciate it if you would take off the advertisement that illustrates this article (headlined "What are Newton Students Really Learning).

The ad - which neither I nor PENS had anything to do with - was the trigger for the retaliation against my child. More to the point, it is inaccurate and misleading - for example, the Arab World Studies Notebook, cited in the ad, was removed (except for one teacher who kept it for another year) from Newton schools in 2012. There are many other egregious errors I don't have time or space to write.

APT has not been tactful in its dealings with the schools - actually, they've had almost no contact with any administrators or teachers - and their lack of ordinary tact has greatly annoyed the administrators responsible for the curriculum. Their activities have set back the fight for get rid of inaccurate and biased materials for years.

Both I and PENS vehemently disagree with APT's tactics and rhetoric, including what the ad says. It harms our cause to be connected to it. Please, please remove it.

You can contact Even at newtonexcellence@gmail.com if you'd like more information.

 
At 5:31 PM, Blogger TamMountain said...

Israel Matzav comment

Hi Carl,

I'm a parent of the student who was retaliated against; I've tried to reach you a number of times but apparently haven't made it through. I'd greatly appreciate it if you would take off the advertisement that illustrates this article (headlined "What are Newton Students Really Learning).

The ad - which neither I nor PENS had anything to do with - was the trigger for the retaliation against my child. More to the point, it is inaccurate and misleading - for example, the Arab World Studies Notebook, cited in the ad, was removed (except for one teacher who kept it for another year) from Newton schools in 2012. There are many other egregious errors I don't have time or space to write.

APT has not been tactful in its dealings with the schools - actually, they've had almost no contact with any administrators or teachers - and their lack of ordinary tact has greatly annoyed the administrators responsible for the curriculum. Their activities have set back the fight for get rid of inaccurate and biased materials for years.

Both I and PENS vehemently disagree with APT's tactics and rhetoric, including what the ad says. It harms our cause to be connected to it. Please, please remove it.

You can contact Even at newtonexcellence@gmail.com if you'd like more information.

 

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