Jun 1, 2015

Allentown School Board, Witness To Slander

I have heard that lately Allentown School Board meetings have become quite ugly. Members of Power Northeast, wear masks and turn their backs to the school board, demonstrating against what they describe as toxicity and condoned racism in the district. The Resurrected Life Community Church, led by Rev. Gregory Edwards, has become aligned with this movement. They believe that the district has turned into a pipeline to prison. They believe that they have to push back to push forward. Many of their grievances are aimed directly at district superintendent Russ Mayo, actually describing him as guilty of sweeping problems under the rug. While the school board mostly listens silently to these accusations, Scott Armstrong responds.
At last night’s school board meeting a group of protestors made slanderous accusations against the district’s superintendent. I know those remarks had to hurt him deeply. He is a man who has dedicated his life to public education, and he is in the field and at the helm of the ASD for all the right reasons. No one is perfect, there is always room for improvement and solutions can be found. However, those who cast the accusations should understand the road to understanding is not paved by slurs. I chose to speak out against the slander, for the only thing worse than the insults is the silence of those who know the charges are false.    Scott Armstrong
I believe that Jude-Laure Denis, leader of Allentown's Power Northeast, and Rev. Edwards, would be better to continue working on the real issues, rather than scapegoat the district and particularly the superintendent. Although architecturally we look like just a large town, demographically, we have the issues of any large urban city. Allentown is mired in poverty, and those problems which often present themselves in the home life of the students. These problems are shared by all urban areas. The church has embraced and established their RLife programs of pre-school and learning summer camp. These are the types of actions that have meaningful results. The Allentown School District has concerned administrators and caring teachers, what it needs is partnering parents and community.

ADDENDUM: I have decided to link to a YouTube of part of the school board meeting. Addressing the  board is Pastor Paul Patrick.  Although he cites bible passages, I find his berating less than spiritual.


Anonymous said...

But you give only half of the story.

The "racism" issue started when an ASD teacher used the "N-Word" in class. But there is a problem with the protest leaders targeting the teacher and demanding action there.

You see, the teacher is the wife of a State Legislator. A Democrat State Legislator. A progressive Democrat State Legislator. A member of the group that keeps the government money flowing to community "leaders" like this. So that teacher can't be targeted without jeopardizing the cash flow and power that these "leaders" have.

Add to all that the fact that the State Legislator whose wife uttered the slur is one of the major contributors to the PAC that is funding the alternate slate of candidates pushed by the Mayor. Certainly that fact can't come to light. That would jeopardize the plan to pack the school board with fellow forward-thinking Progressives.

But people in the community know about the incident and SOMEONE has to pay. Enter Russ Mayo, the Superintendent and scapegoat of the day. And it's now an INSTITUTIONAL problem, instead of just a teacher.

This is how the modern left works. It isn't about improving anything or solving problems. It's all about expanding power and political gain.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:48, although "she" uttered the word, it WAS NOT used as a slur; she clearly used the word in a teaching moment on prejudice and people's feelings. furthermore, although that incident contributed to the current atmosphere, it by no means "STARTED" it. mayo has been targeted since the black principal at allen resigned, and even before then.

Anonymous said...

7:48 here.

I certainly agree with your statement about the context that the word was used in, and am not actually looking for any action against the teacher.

However, I do believe that while targeting Mayo is nothing new, the use of the "N-word" in the recent incident was the catalyst for the latest round of protests.

Many of those who do know the truth about the incident have been very silent about the facts, and seemingly happy that some have found a way to use it for their political advantage. That's who I have the problem with.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:47, although i have written against the mayor and state representatives injecting themselves into the school board race, there is a bi-partisan problem with harrisburg and the school system. it's wrong for state representatives and senators, of BOTH PARTIES, to be able to be perceived as white knights, for bringing " held back" school district funds home after budget formulations. this is a blatant political system of gift favors, designed for incumbent popularity. both parties are sickening in harrisburg.

LVCI said...

7:48 AM Anonymous said... "But you give only half of the story."

If your going to bring this up, it should be in the context which it was used. Your the one "giving only half the story".

According to WFMZ-- "In an emailed statement to 69 News, Schlossberg, who teaches middle school students with behavioral challenges at the Jackson Building, explained what happened. She said on Jan. 5 she walked into her classroom to a student singing a song with the lyrics 'I'm a Nazi!" Schlossberg, whose husband is Jewish, said the students began to laugh and minimized the Holocaust after she tried to explain what they were truly saying. So, in order to make her point, Schlossberg said she asked, "How would you feel if I sang a song with 'n-word' in it?", but she didn't say "n-word," she said the actual word.

It seems every time anyone says anything.. someone else wants to make it a "GOTCHA" moment. Yeah sure like these little innocents never heard or used the word themselves. Does anyone really believe that?

It also seems people (including the students) think they have to right to scream and holler at teachers & administrators and they are suppose to take it. Honestly I don't know why anyone would want to teach, be appointed or get elected knowing they will have to endure this constant mud slinging and humiliation. I don't see how getting in someone's face every time they open their mouth solves anything. Same goes with this comment that accuses her & her husband of being some part of a cover up. WHAT COVER UP?

Everyone can read the news reports. They aren't hiding anything. No not everything this school district does is part of some sort of political conspiracy or being racist despite you'd having us believe it were.

Anonymous said...

Private school anyone?

Bernie O'Hare said...

There is little doubt in my mind that Denis is herself a bigot. She certainly is a stranger to the truth, which she demonstrated aptly when she went after Bar Johnston in a Lehigh County Dem power struggle. She defended Chris Casey bc he was turned off by Richard Sherman's trash talking, which I personally like. As for Mayo, I find nothing in his behavior worthy of a school superintendent. He is immersed in bureaucratese and is all too willing to sweep bad news under the rug, as evidenced by a submission of a school director on this very blog. I questioned him at a news conference about charter schools, and found he was evasive and was using public resources to advance a political agenda.

As for the problem of racism, it existed long before a teacher used a word to make a point with students. I reject the notion that it is simply poverty. Funny how how all the poorer people in the Lehigh Valley just happen to be black or Latino. The smear at the teacher is coming from the Blog Mentor, who still rails about it on his Facebook page. He does not give a shit about the issue, but is using to pursue a personal agenda against someone who refused to go along with his goofy crusade against Donovan.

But racism is a two-way street. As I mentioned, there is no =doubt in my mind that Denis is a racist. I watched a Business Matters taping recently in which she blathered on about white supremacy and colonized minds. One of the guests, a Latino, told Ron Angle that he should shut his mouth and listen and perhaps he would learn something. This enlightened latino went on to say, in a show about racism, that the Cubans are regarded by other Latinos as Jews, blissfully ignorant of his own bias.

I think it is safe to say we all have some work to do, myself included. For that reason, Idon't really give a shit whether this group hurt Mayo's feelings.

DreamingOfJustice said...

God, these people are pathetic.
The performance rating for William Allen High School is 50.8 out of a possible 100 points, according to the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile for 2013-14.

Because seriously..there are much much larger, more important problems to be conquered than this one. Let me pass that plate of red herring to you.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone can read the news reports. They aren't hiding anything."

My apologies. I guess I missed it in the Morning Call.

Anonymous said...

There are no poor white people in Allentown?


Okay, let's be serious and stop tugging at heart strings.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A point of correction in my earlier comment. Denis did not defend Chris Casey, but defriended him when he complained about Richard Sherman's trash talk. She assumed he was necessarily a racist.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie@10:01, I have been concerning myself with the school board for years. It's difficult for people to realize that allentown is the third largest city in pennsylvania, and now has a student population of about 90% that are both in poverty and minority status. with these facts in mind, allentown test scores and ratings are in line with other municipalities with the same demographics. i believe that blaming any shortcoming, by student, teacher or administrator on racism has no basis, or productive end. remember that previous to mayo, we hired the former director of education in pennsylvania, and he was a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Most of the kids are calling each other nwords as a compliment. Maybe Power NE should protest in front of parents homes who allow this behavior and start pointing the blame on the parents. I was always taught to hold doors, put trash in garbage cans and treat people with respect. Not all, but alot of these kids don't have a chance in life. They're just a product of their environment

LVCI said...

(Sorry Reposting 1st link was broken)

Michael in regards to your "ADDENDUM' video. When I watched this the other day. The first thing that came to mind is how the school district & police are suppose to solve community problems. To my way of thinking the school's first priority (if not it's only priority) is to educate. The police to enforce laws. This is a matter of which comes first. The police nor school are creating these conditions. They both are left to deal with the fallout from problems unresolved where they first begin... in the communities and it's members themselves. I don't think it takes a genius to understand if pupils themselves are broken there's little schools or police can do to fix this.

As long as we're talking about videos have a look at the one I posted on March 4th, 2013 "Life About Allen" filmed in 2000.

Now check out this other video too. Note how many times the N*&$$#s, hoes and sluts words are used by the kids themselves. How can anyone honestly say they'd want to go to work everyday and deal with this kind of work environment. How can anyone honestly expect the Allentown school district to reform these kids into becoming ladies and gentlemen?

Look in the mirror. The problem isn't with the school district.. it's with the community members' kids the district is stuck with trying to educate. AND THAT' IS WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS!

Anonymous said...

This city is almost irrepairable conditions in many areas and not only in the uninhabitable rentable blight under this administrations chacters¿ There are more horrific conditions and stigmas to be addressed than a word spewing from a person¿

Case in point the eminent domain take over of palace o sport, the cancer must be removed yet at there relocation dictated this is the only prospering area¿

patent pending

Steven Ramos said...

The great opportunity missed by these people is to actually address what is afflicting urban communities. Many of our wounds are self inflicted. I see White, Black, Latino, and even Arab neighbors and passers-by making foolish choices - choices that lead to prison, to broken homes, to poverty. I have witnessed parents and children cursing at each other, talking of school and after school programs as day care, the selling of drugs, littering, public drunkenness, fights and arguments, heard the shooting of guns, and read of the shootings and stabbings in and around our city.

I'm confident that the readers of molovinskyonallentown want to see our schools improve and funded adequately, but let's not forget that we do spend over 250 million dollars per year and every classroom has a teacher.

What we lack are civic and religious leaders challenging the parents and students to devote themselves to learning, to care for the neighborhood, to turn away from drug usage and drug selling, to ending the violence, to pursuing work and being committed to working.

We lack citizens that embrace fully their citizenship and all it's rights and duties. We need our residents to embrace the traditions and habits of our ancestors - keeping the neighborhoods clean, being neighborly, showing respect for each other and encouraging respect from our youth, and setting expectations for our youth to go to school and pay attention and not be a disruption.

This is the message and the mission that our civic and religious leaders should be promoting.

Anonymous said...

On the ASD Bernie speaks from a point of view of ignorance once again. With the U S Department of Justice watching the ASD's every move nothing gets swept under the rug. That however does not stop a disgruntled director from making accusations. Bernie should judge the source before he publicly sites an example.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

@11:56, you wrote, Not all, but alot of these kids don't have a chance in life. They're just a product of their environment, i believe that they all have a chance in life, although there is a great disparency in the headstart they're given. i also believe that the allentown school system is much more fixed than broken. we must also remember that both the neighborhoods and schools are much better than from where these families came, and that's what attracted many to allentown

Anonymous said...

Mr Armstrong seems to want to be the ultimate authority on all that is ASD. May be there is a reason others are mute.

doug_b said...

LVCI's video - the exact reason we home schooled. Why would anyone want to put their children in that environment? It's a negative influence.

These 'people of poverty' are causing their own problem. They have poverty of character. They look to the government fix their problems. Just like free phones, SNAP, section 8, free school lunches, public assistance, medicaid... could go on and on.

And they protest about a word - while the behavior of their children is destroying their opportunity to get a FREE education.

As a middle class white person, when I was younger, I ignored issues like this. Being older I'm no longer apologetic, 'they' know what it is and 'they' should fix it!

michael molovinsky said...

@2:02, the topic on this post are the accusations of institutional racism. i do not believe that the other board members, and certainly not all of them, felt that the comments directed at mayo were appropriate. although armstrong doesn't take bullying well, and speaks his mind, other board members are quoted just as often or more. armstrong is however more often the victim of antagonists, which most likely is your motivation here.

it's my preference as a blogger to comment as little as possible. comments such as 2:02, which are light on substance, but heavy on innuendo, generally will not be printed.

Anonymous said...

Efforts like this from Power Northeast disturb me. They are much too simplistic in their understanding of urban education challenges. I could create a long list of detriments to 'normal' student achievement found in districts like ASD. Racism would not be high on that list.

Once again, I acknowledge the excellent input from Steve Ramos. We're dealing with dysfunctional family units in greater amount than ever before. A serious lack of guidance, across ALL races.

Until we find a way to get more responsible adults directly involved in the child's school experience, on a level that better approximates the traditional nuclear family unit, significant improvement in behavior and academic achievement will elude us.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

From 2:02

Not meant to be antagonistic, just an observation of late. Mr. Armstrong doesn't respond too kindly to the school board member Mr. O'Hare referred to in his post.

Isn't that person entitled to their opinion the same as Mr. Armstrong without a disingenuous insinuation. I do not see other board members doing that with Mr. Armstorng.

Don't particularly agree with Mayo's detractors and their tactics myself. Not sure exactly what their motivation is. But these kinds of comments are expected when an individual is in such a public position.

It will pass though

doug_b said...

@Fred: "Until we find a way to get more responsible adults directly involved in the child's school experience, on a level that better approximates the traditional nuclear family unit, "

Well the Great Society effectively eliminated need for a male in the household.

"Efforts like this from Power Northeast disturb me." The other component is that groups like this know only one thing - to demand. More programs, more services, more money. They never look at themselves in the mirror.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"On the ASD Bernie speaks from a point of view of ignorance once again. With the U S Department of Justice watching the ASD's every move nothing gets swept under the rug. That however does not stop a disgruntled director from making accusations. Bernie should judge the source before he publicly sites an example."

A fellow Director disagreed with you on that pint in an essay posted on this very blog. If the US DOJ is watching ASD's every move, I suspect there;s a reason. I have not heard of any investigation since 2012, when the ASD entered into a consent decree over its attempts to hush up a sexual assault. Is there a new investigation? Please be transparent and tell us. Instead of calling those who disagree with you ignorant, enlighten us. You claim Mayo does not have a racist bone in his body. Please tell me how you know that. Please tell me that students are not being sent to the reform school without due process. I'm all ears.

For the most part, I do not think people make a point by turning their back on others. But I forgot about you. Despite your hard work, you can be extremely divisive and often add fuel to the fire.

If it were up to me, the school district would be drawn and quartered, foisted onto other school districts without their consent.Fortunately, it's not up to me.

Anonymous said...

Children model the behavior, adapt the values, of those around them who are older. It's always been that way and shall ever be. The quality of older family unit members, neighborhood pals, media images, unrelated adults they observe, and the classroom teachers surrounding the child have a great deal to do with what we see from each child.

To lay everything negative at the feet of the classroom teacher, particularly a charge of ethnic bias, is unfair and foolish. What we are getting from Allentown kids is the product of a GROUP effort. A group that even INCLUDES the child.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...


The Justice department is watching the ASD's every move because of the so called Central Rape Case that occurred before I was on the board and before Dr Mayo was superintendent.Your accusation that the ASD tried to hush up the sexual assault is reckless in the extreme. Protocols/the law prescribes directors say nothing about any pending or current litigation. All that is handled by the district's attorneys. We/directors can only discuss these items in the broadest terms.
I don't call those who disagree with me ignorant. You know better than that. It is a cheap shot an serves only to discredit your argument. As to your divisive comment, that has been addressed in previous posts. It is interesting to remind readers that only conservatives are divisive.

Scott Armstrong

monkey momma said...

Why isn't the outrage directed at the kids who wouldn't stop using the term "Nazi" in their very offensive rendition of a...song...called "TRY ME." Lyrics can be found at: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dejloaf/tryme.html. You can see that the offensive N word is also in this song. Along with many other offensive ideas and words, including violence in the extreme.

So it's OK for these kids in class to hurl insults at this poor teacher, but when she asks how they would feel if she used the N word, it's blasphemy? She didn't call them the N word. She asked, "how would it feel IF I called you" that.

Who could possibly be expected to keep their cool in conditions like that??? Not to mention, she's a young woman. She has limited real world experience and is only beginning to get her footing. Nobody is perfect. Where is the willingness to educate and forgive, instead of looking to fry someone at the first offense?

THIS is the core issue facing ASD? THIS is what these "protestors" take issue with - a teacher trying her best to survive a classroom with this kind of mentality?

Why aren't these protestors up in arms about the students' behavior and words? Why aren't they concerned about academic performance? Mayo ISN'T these kids' daddy. He's the super of a very challenging group of kids. When these protestors point the finger at Russ, I hope they realize that they have 3 fingers pointed back at themselves. The problem with the ASD is the kids themselves.