Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FM #38 - Parents Call to Action

This is #38 in the series of podcast on what matters in Franklin, MA. This segment focuses on the current impasse between the School Committee and the teachers union, and issues a call to action to Franklin's parents.

Time: 8 minutes, 7 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

Music intro

My intro - FM #38

This internet radio show or podcast for Franklin Matters is number 38 in the series.

On the disclosure front, I stand here today not as the husband of a Franklin teacher. Yes, my wife Dolores does teach kindergarten at the Oak Street School. I love her dearly. I don't need to represent her or the teacher's union. They are quite capable of representing themselves.

I do stand here today as a parent of two Franklin High School graduates (class of 2004 and 2006) knowing full well that if you are a parent of children in the school district today or a parent with children yet to enter the schools, your children are not getting the same level of educational opportunity that my daughters received. That is my concern.

A quick story to lead to the call to action for today.

Many years ago, in my first corporate position, I started as a call center operator. Burroughs Corp, now known as UNISYS, was just starting regional call centers to support their customers. I spent a few days training, reading the manuals, policies, procedures, familiarizing myself with the call dispatch program. I also spent many hours double jacked. Double jacked meant I was listening in to the phone conversation with another operator as my trainer and mentor.

Then the time came for me to take the lead on the phone and as luck would have it, my first phone call was a dozy. I answered with phone with the standard greeting and was welcomed with a series of expletives. Briefly, the caller was a Southern NJ police chief whose Burroughs terminal was not operating. He was quite irate, expletive this, expletive that, “get this expletive device out of here” and so forth. I think you get the gist of how it was going. I let him vent and then chimed in with my best voice to try and resolve this problem. He would have none of it.

“Son”, he said, “How long you been there?”I was honest and admitted that I had just started.

“Son”, he said, “Let me give you some advice. Quit!”

Well, I did not quit. I did take away from customer service that you are as good as your last phone call. You always have to be on. It was interesting to listen to the reaction in the callers voice as I greeted them. If the customer did not like what had happened previously in our conversation, I could hear the disappointment in their voice as they recognized, “Oh, Steve.”

I quickly learned to answer the phone every time with my best voice. Then the customer would say, “Oh, Steve!” and we would get down to business with a good conversation.

The call to action.

Franklin parents, you have no doubt heard about the impasse between the School Committee and the teachers union. If by chance, you haven't heard of the details, you can visit the links in the blog post that accompanies this podcast to watch the School Committee's YouTube videos and to read my analysis of the discussion. The teachers are preparing their response. Once that is available, I'll post the link to that so you'll have their side of the story.

Updated: The teachers response has been posted here

You now have a few opportunities to let the School Committee know where you stand.
  • The Finance Committee will hear the school departments initial budget presentation Tuesday, May 5th. I say initial budget as clearly the teachers issue has not yet been resolved nor has the School Committee formally voted to accept a budget for FY 2010.
  • The Town Council has a meeting Wednesday May 6th. There is a citizen's comment portion of the meeting so you can step up to take 3 minutes and state your point of view.
  • The School Committee will meet on Tuesday May 12th and again on Tuesday May 26th. The meeting on the 26th is currently scheduled to be the formal vote on the FY 2010 budget.
Parents, please take one or more of these opportunities to step up and state your point of view.
The School Committee needs to know where you stand. Your point of view will potentially break the current impasse between the 7 School Committee members and the over 500 members of the teachers union (FEA).

There is no time like the present to stand up and state your case. This will determine the future of your children's education. This will determine Franklin's future.

When you step up to state your point of view, be positive! Take the high road.

Links referenced:
School Committee YouTube videos

Back story and my analysis

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This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow citizens of Franklin, MA

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.blogspot.com/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

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