Tag Archives: Maureen Binienda

In Worcester government, Discrimination = Disparate Impact

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Dr. Carter – Worcester’s Chief Diversity Officer

By Gordon Davis

Disparate Impact discrimination is the legal term that describes discrimination without animus.

It usually is found as a policy that results in an adversely negative impact on a protected class based on a so called neutral or nondiscriminatory policy.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that criminal records disclosures can be considered disparate impacts.

It and other organization have created new policies to ensure that people who have been formerly incarcerated or arrested will get at least a chance for an interview when applying for work.

Another example of disparate impact is the so called School to Jail Pipeline which many people consider racist because it affects a disproportional number of Black Latino and poor students. The institutional mechanism and policies of the School to Jail Pipeline negatively affects all students.

The School to Jail Pipeline’s policies are racist, not because it is based on any negative animus but because it has a disproportional negative impact on Black, Latino and other students.

The solution to the disproportionally negative impact is a rewrite of policies. For Massachusetts the change has seemingly come in M.G.L. Chapter 222.

The opponents of the efforts to reform the policies leading to disparately negative impacts sometimes use the pretext of colorblindness.

We have seen this use by a local columnist to defend a lack of effective programs, the Worcester Police Department and people working in the Worcester Public Schools. In her recent column she said that white teachers are the victims.

A good teacher is a good teacher regardless of protected class or race. We should instead look at the policies that have the negative impact on our children.

It has been pointed out to me that the recent promotions of City of Worcester and Worcester Public School officials could be an example of Disparate Impact:

The present Commissioner of the Worcester Department of Public Works, Mr. Moosey, was, before he was appointed, the next in line to replace then DPW and P Commissioner Mr. Moylan.

Ms. Ledoux, the present Worcester City Clerk, was next in line when she was promoted and replaced her boss, David Rushford who recently retired.

The new City of Worcester Chief of Police, Mr. Sargent, was next in line when he was promoted to replace the retired Chief Gary Gemme.

All the people mentioned above are white and they were all well qualified for their experience and promoted to the top positions with in their respective departments.

There was one exception to this apparent policy of promoting the employee next in line: The Assistant Superintendent of our Worcester Public Schools was passed over in favor of a less qualified candidate. In this particular case the Assistant Superintendent is Latino and the less qualified candidate – now School Superintendent – is white.

In terms of unlawfulness this might not be disparate impact. The hiring process of department heads was not the same or similarly done, as was the hiring of the Worcester School Superintendent. The Worcester School Committee made the decision regarding the Superintendent. The aforementioned city department heads were appointed by either Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus or elected by the Worcester City Council.

Our School Suprintendent is hired by the Worcester School Committee.

However, the hiring of Maureen Benienda as School Superintendent certainly was not in compliance with Affirmative Action policies of the City of Worcester or their intent.

The policies were written to ensure that when a person in a protected class has the same or better qualifications as a candidate not in the protected class, the person in the protected class would be hired.

This Affirmative Action policy has worked very well for the Worcester Police Department for the protected class of armed forces veterans. One hundred percent of police cadets are veterans.

Is there animus in Worcester’s hiring practices?

Maybe there is.

Is there an adversely negative impact in Worcester’s hiring policies?

Yes, there is, as seen in the statistics.

All of the promotions to department heads have been white. The better qualified Latino candidate for School Superintendent is Latino and he was passed over.

Dr. Carter, the recent hire for the newly created Worcester Chief Diversity Officer position, does not seem to have any power to do anything significant.

I believe she is a good person in a position requiring moral courage.

Unfortunately, this was predicted during last summer Department of Justice “dialogues on race.”bThis writer said those “dialogues“ are a joke and that the position of Chief Diversity Officer would be just a token or crumb for “minorities” to fight over.

Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Search in Disarray

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The pretend-search for the next superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools begins!

By Gordon Davis

A subcommittee of the Worcester School Committee held a “forum” this week on what qualities Worcester residents want to see in the new Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools.  

The so-called forum was confusing and to some extent showed how inexperienced or confused the three so-called panelists from the school committee were.

As a rule, the panelists are the speakers. In this forum the panelists said nothing and Worcester residents spoke from the floor.

School Committee woman Molly McCullough ran the “forum” like a school marm.

She seemed a little nervous and unsure as she told speaker after speaker “your time is up”, “please only talk about skills”, and “hold your applause.”

The irony here is that the first speaker from the audience asked what are the objective requirements for selecting a new school superintendent and whether direct experience as a superintendent was required.

The same speaker asked if speaking a second language other than English is a requirement. 

The three school committee women on stage, Donna Colorio, Dianne Briancharia and Molly McCullough, could not answer the questions. Ms. McCullough said she would refer the question to the school committee.

After the so called “forum,” Ms. McCullough and Ms. Briancharia took the time to share their personal criteria for a new superintendent; the successful candidate they said would be effective, communicative and a problem solver.

Ms. Colorio went out of her way not to give a statement on the qualities that she thinks a new superintendent should have. I suppose that she might have worried about a question regarding her vote to take money away from the Worcester Public schools and give it to charter schools.

School Committee members John Monfredo and Brian O’Connell, although not on the stage, gave more coherent answers as what are the preferred requirements for a superintendent. Mr. O’Connell said previous experience as a superintendent was preferred and the ability to speak a second language was a plus. Mr. Monfredo said that a Certificate of Superintendency was a must but a doctorate was a preference.

The president of the teachers union spoke and asked that a member of his union be on the search committee.

A representative from the Worcester Educational Cooperative said a superintendent should be able to fight for full funding from the state. The Worcester Public Schools are underfunded per the State of Massachusetts’ educational formula. This is especially true for special needs students.

A parent said a school superintendent should also be able to get funding for gifted students.
Worcester resident, Ken Person, said the Worcester schools were actually good schools when compared to other schools in the country. He wanted a superintendent that could continue and hopefully improve what is good about the Worcester Public Schools.

A couple of teachers felt that there is a need for a superintendent to be able to communicate well with all principal parties: students, parents, teachers and staff.

School safety was brought up by one speaker who thought that the decision to limit the search for a superintendent to within the Worcester School District was a mistake. He felt that a superintendent from a larger urban area with experience in school safety was needed.

Although the speaker on school safety was one of only a few who described an objective requirement, the school committee had previously decided against it.

Some speakers mentioned diversity and the fact that more than 90 languages are spoken by students in the Worcester Public schools. They suggested that the new superintendent should be able to relate to this diversity, not only educationally, but in terms of personal experience.

It was pretty clear that some of the school committee members could not or did not want to state objective criteria for a superintendent.

To some extent, this so called forum was a charade, masking a subjective choice that seems already made.

The Worcester School Committee will likely choose Maureen Bienienda, principal of South High School, as the the WPS Superintendent because she grew up in Worcester and worked her whole career in the Worcester Schools.

The Worcester School Committee will ignore the facts that WPS Interim School Superintendent Marco Rodriques has run an urban school district – ours – and has the same experiences of many in the Worcester Public Schools who have recently come to Worcester, as the Worcester school have become more diverse – a majority-minority school district.

The Worcester Way: The apples before the cart before the horse

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Lots of Worcester Public Elementary Schools have all-white teaching staffs while the schools’ students are predominantly minority kids. We hope new WPS Superintendent Maureen Binienda rights this wrong! Ha!

By Rosalie Tirella

Why attend any one of the Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Search “community,” “open,” “forums” that the City of Worcester is hosting next week and urging us Worcesterites to attend when we all know Maureen Binienda, principal of South High School and a lady at the tail end of her education career, will be crowned prom queen? The brandy new superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools!!!

For the City of Worcester to hold these two community “listening sessions” insults our collective intelligence. We Worcesterites should call ’em out and shout: LUDICROUS!!!

The move is almost as big a joke as the not so long ago hiring of Worcester boy and political insider Ed Augustus as new Woo City Manager AFTER Augustus swore up and down on his granny’s grave that he wasn’t interested in the CM job and would not take it even if it were offered to him as the big prize in a really cool gum ball machine from Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage Gift Store at Webster Square, the neighborhood where Augustus grew up …

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… AFTER the City of Worcester hired The Three Stooges Professional Search Firm to conduct a national city manager search to bring in some great job applicants outside the Worcester (cess)pool to be interviewed by supposedly unbiased city leaders …

… who decided AFTER those poor chumps (I mean job candidates) jumped through a billion quirky Worcester hoops to only learn that this screwy city was gonna hire the insider Augustus, but THANK YOU FOR LETTING US WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME … You must have loved spending time HERE IN WORCESTER, spending a few weeks glad handing and schmoozing and answering a million questions posed by sometimes dense city leaders and honest regular folks, some of the questions very personal (remember the WPS Superintendent candidate who had declared bankruptcy or the most EXCELLENT, HARVARD-educated WPS Superintendent candidate who came in all the way from New Mexico?). … THANKS FOR BEING IN THE WORCESTER DOG AND PONY SHOW, folks! We’re certain you’ll speak highly of our city to friends, family and colleagues wherever you go!

If any serious candidate for any serious, seriously important City of Worcester job Googles Worcester, job search and hiring practices the search will yield: MORONS! BE VERY AFRAID! STAY AWAY!! Maybe the prospective job applicants will take the time they had planned to use to write their letters of interest, polish up their resumes, meet with headhunters and instead book a trip to Disneyland – the experience will be just as Goofy and surreal and mind-numbing! But at least you get cotton candy and pink lemonade and rides in the sky!

Most Worcesterites know our city government is dysfunctional and, like the little kid who’s seen mom and dad fuck each other over left and right, feels 1. This is normal behavior and 2. Is deeply depressed. Why just look at our city!

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Garbage strewn everywhere – some of it hanging from the tree branches. Stabbings galore, used syringes all over our backyards, people brandishing guns, entering homes with babies and mothers in them, mothers corralled into bedrooms, ever watchful babies scarred for life.

The insanity of Worcester city government (and America’s messed up economy) is reflected in the governed. And most Worcester peeps are saying: FUCK YOU! We know we’re zero in your eyes, Worcester city leaders; we know we’ve got to slog through our days while your relatives and cronies get $90,000 a year city jobs and other perks just because they know you. So here’s your shit sandwich, City Councilor Lukes!!! (BTW, Konnie Lukes is one hell of a slumlord!) Screw your combs and yellow city trash bags, City Councilor Gary Rosen!!!

Is it any wonder that after the City of Worcester has decided to CLOSE the WPS Superintendent Search and just interview LOCAL (read WORCESTER pal) candidates and AFTER city bigwigs have made Maureen Binienda Mayor of our politically important Worcester St. Patrick’s Day and after the muckety-mucks have all gone on record in one way or another to tell the world: MAUREEN BINIENDA WALKS ON WATER. SHE IS A WORCESTER IRISH CATHOLIC GAL. SHE KNOWS WHAT LIES IN THE HEART OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR STUDENTS IN OUR MAJORITY MINORITY SCHOOL SYSTEM, A SCHOOL SYSTEM FILLED WITH POOR AND DISENFRANCHISED STUDENTS. … Those students are about to learn Woo lesson #1: In Worcester it’s WHOM you know, not WHAT you know.

I mean, the fix is in.

Mo is in.

As usual, when it comes to hiring people for the City’s most prestigious (read politically powerful and connected), highest paying, bestest, coolest, most freakin’ PLUM jobs, the City of Worcester has shit all over itself.

Again.

It’s put the apples before the cart before the horse and made Worcester, the second largest city in New England, seem provincial, totally closed off, myopic, fearful of the future …

There will never be any NEW VISION in Worcester because city leaders are waiting at our half-empty airport with hot pokers in their fists ready to pounce on the next Melinda Boone – to stab his or her eyes out.

How the Old Worcester Network will hire Maureen Binienda as the next WPS Superintendent

By Gordon Davis

The Old Worcester Network will hire Dr. Maureen Binienda for Superintendent of the Worcester Public Schools, instead of interim WPS Superintendent Dr. Marco Rodrigues.  All of the signs and elements are in place.

Some of the people backing Dr. Marco Rodriques have been voted out of office – which is the sign that the fix is in.

This does not come as a surprise: the Old Worcester Network never really accepted the outsider, former WPS Superintendent  Dr. Melinda Boone. She was undermined most of her superintendency here in Worcester. She and Dr. Rodriques never got the credit they deserved for the improvements in the Worcester Public Schools. Some of the criticism of her and the students of the Worcester schools was race-based, as the Worcester School District has become a so called Majority-Minority school district.

Dr. Rodriques will fail to get a contract for the Superintendency of the Worcester School District partially because of race but more for the reason that the Old Worcester Network feels comfortable with a person whom they understand and who understands the exclusionary qualities  of Worcester politics.

When the politicians deal with Maureen Binienda they will know what she will do before hand. When the politicians deal with Dr. Rodriques there will be an anxiety, as Dr. Rodriques has experience outside of Worcester that some in Worcester have yet to grasp.

Given the racial transformation of the Worcester Schools, the Old Worcester Network has nostalgia for the nearly all-White Worcester school system of the 1950s and 1960s – a time when many in the Old Worcester Network went to school. Maureen Binienda will be a return to those times of yesteryear, pleasant for some White people and not so pleasant for some Black people.

I have worked in Discrimination Law for a decade.

I have seen how old boys’ networks discriminate in hiring while skirting the law. It is likely that something similar will happen in the awarding of the contract to the new Worcester Public Schools Superintendent.

The first thing that I have seen in discrimination in hiring of the next WPS Superintendent is to reduce the pool of qualified applicants. In a truly open search there would  be several applicants as or more qualified than the Old Worcester Network candidate. The Worcester School Committee has already reduced the candidate pool by declaring an “internal” search.

Another example of discriminatory hiring practices in Worcester: I remember recently a City of Worcester job was posted as “part-time.” When the person the former City Manager wanted was chosen for the job, the position quietly became “full-time.”

Another thing that will be done to mask the hiring of the Old Worcester Network’s chosen WPS Superintendent candidate is to tailor the requirements of the job to fit the resume of the group’s anointed candidate. Already there is talk of how well Dr. Binienda “motivates” students, which is not a real requirement of School Superintendency. The Old Worcester network is not talking about how Mr. Rodriques has worked in Worcester as an Assistant Superintendent and now as the Interim Superintendent. How he has experience DOING THE JOB. A more objective requirement is hands-on experience.

What will also be a part of the decision are the connections to the Worcester community. Dr. Binienda, being a Worcester native, being Catholic and Irish-American, (not so coincidently?) just being named the Grand Master of Worcester’s hugely politically important St. Patrick Day Parade will all be felt as positives. This has nothing to do with the Worcester School Superintendency.

Many of the students in the Worcester Public Schools are native to Worcester and they or their parents speak Spanish. This seems to be a more objective consideration for the superintendency and strengths of Dr. Rodriques.

Please do not get the wrong idea. Dr. Binienda is a very good candidate and well qualified. However, Dr. Rodriques is better qualified when using objective standards.

Hopefully, the people making this important decision can overcome their biases and make their choice objectively.