Oct 26, 2013

Less Than a Thankless Job

Scott Armstrong has become the teacher's target on the Allentown School Board. He's conservative, vocal, articulate, and not afraid to write letters to the editor, or bloggers, for that matter. The budget game every year between the State and the school district was particularly harsh this year. Although the district always ends up with more than initially budgeted, it necessitates teacher layoffs and bad feelings, before some portion of the teachers are reinstated. Added to the mix this year was a schism between board members with teacher backgrounds, and the conservative members. There's even a Facebook page to vilify Armstrong and David Zimmerman. Further adding to the disharmony, that Facebook page was taken over by a couple who were targeting Armstrong on their infamous long enemy list, before he even considered running for the school board.
I was accosted today in a public venue by an acquaintance who happens to be a teacher. I have known this person for years and said hello as he is neighbor who lives around the corner from my home. While trying to remember his name he said it with the words “why do you hate teachers." I asked him to repeat and he complied. Surprised, I said I have many friends who are teachers and dislike none of them, however I do have a problem with the teachers union as its primary mission is that of a labor union. The conversation went south from there and he wouldn't leave me alone as I tried to purchase meat from a stand at the market. I had to explain to them why he was angry at me. I was on the school board and he was a teacher, I had been vocal about the damage defined payment pensions are doing to public schools. They gave him no sympathy. His attempted explanation that was met with only frowns. Seeing this, he retreated. I told the merchants that this happens to me all too often because I dare to speak for the taxpayers at school board meetings. While I completed my transaction he stood off at a distance, as I walked by him on my way to the exit, he said, “Scott, no one in the neighborhood likes you." This is a public school teacher.                                                                                                                                                             ScottArmstrong

I find the teacher's attitude toward Armstrong disturbing.  This first person account by Armstrong is not an isolated incident.  I have read similar sentiments by teachers who should know better.  Putting aside the Facebook page by the cyber/stalkers/Bullies,  some  rank and file teachers have indulged in the personal attacks.  The school board represents the public and taxpayers, who have not demeaned the members who are teachers.  Why should the teachers not extend the same tolerance toward the  conservative members?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael for this post.

I can empathize all too well with Scott. I find it interesting those of a dissenting perspective are not only vilified but also demonized.

What has happened to Scott is upsetting but not uncommon. It has become a recurring event in my life, in many areas, ever since being elected to the ASD.

At least it keeps life interesting. Perhaps some folks need someone to blame or even hate when life seems too out of control. I guess those are the times when they cannot comprehend the changes that are inevitable in today's world.

David Fehr Zimmerman

Anonymous said...


I too have been bitten by teacher hate and I feel for Mr. Armstrong. I currently sit on a board and the discussion was brought to the topic of the new Parkland public library. I professed my disbelief that a current public financial statement states that the library has a half million dollar payroll, per year. The library is the size of a large house, 4000 square feet. How many librarians does it take and what are they being paid? Well needless to say the response was, "Why do you hate libraries".


Anonymous said...

Mike, What about city of Allentown Goernment, Scott has also complained on what is happening at City Hall. but if the Mayor is allowed to continue to put thousands of dollars into council campaign and only Scott and a few taxpayers complain nothing changes in Allentown at the schooldistrict or city hall and the middle class will continue to leave Allentown and Allentown wil continue its downward spiral. need tostart by Electing Donovan for Mayor of Allentown to stop whats happening in allentown and a Mayor that will work with scott and zimmerman to again have the Allentown schools be NO 1 IN the Lehigh Valley.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:30, your comment is off topic. although i have printed your enthusiasm for donovan, for future comments to appear, they must pertain to the school board, and the teacher's inappropriate behavior toward certain school board members.

Anonymous said...

MM, this ill behavior you talk of is not only directed at school board members, but is completed twards anyone that speaks up against this administration and carried out with actions or lack there of?

michael molovinsky said...

redd@9:57, your comment is also off topic. someone once told me that i'm not very good at enforcing my rules.

Anonymous said...

I was invited as an outsider to one of the ASD schools first day back for the teachers in September. The principal was addressing the teachers, introducing and welcoming new staff and played a video from Superintendent Dr. Russell Mayo. After the video, a gentleman was introduced (I'm not sure if he was a teacher) got up to speak on behalf of the Union and press the issue for each teacher to give more money for a needed special fund. I can't remember what it was for, but since it didn't concern me, I didn't care. I felt this individual was a Union Thug. He pressed the issue really hard that everybody should give. There was also a feeling that if they didn't, a list would be generated of those who didn't give. To me teachers are humans. Just trying to earn a dollar at a noble and sometimes thankless job. But somebody has to pay for this and in a district like ours who has to pay? Those of us who can barely pay our school taxes. So I applaud for a school board member who stands up for his fellow neighbor and I question the Union motive of a ASD teacher. Just as a final thought...Scott, I wouldn't care what your neighbors really think (trust me they don't hate you at all). As long as you do what's right for them, they'll have your back

Rich Fegley said...

anon@ 10:53 said: "Just as a final thought...Scott, I wouldn't care what your neighbors really think (trust me they don't hate you at all). As long as you do what's right for them, they'll have your back"

Do what's right for your neighbors and fellow citizens! That is one of the major problems with politics and the school system in Allentown.

Certain politicians will say that they know better than the citizens and they may have to make decisions contrary to what a significant (2,000+) number of people want.

Anonymous said...


I will use my time in office to do what I said I would when I ran; to advocate for common sense and look after the best interests of the district and the taxpayers. I will not be intimidated by anyone and only passed the story on to Mike as I believe it provides a useful insight into the thinking of a special interest. This little incident is nothing compared to what I was subjected to when I was an advocate at city hall.

Scott Armstrong