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August 6, 2012

Too Much Shade Under This Tree

Cindy A. Rose

Because of his recent comment on Facebook: "Poor Jill, poor Gary P., poor Cindy, nobody pays any attention to their gibberish. Yawn, Yawn," Tom Shade should remove himself as a candidate for the Frederick County Board of Education.


The Gazette might want to rethink its public endorsement of Mr. Shade.


In their general endorsement The Gazette wrote: With a blend of fiscal hawkishness, pragmatic reasoning and altruism to students, these six candidates present the best opportunity to find reasonable solutions, without bring extremism to the board.


On Mr. Shade specifically it wrote: Tom Shade, a former principal and administrator with Frederick County Public Schools, would use his 44 years of education experience to inform his decisions. Perhaps Shade’s greatest strength is his visible passion and emotion — he still wells up when talking about former students. And while he has a love of the school system, he also takes a hard line against ineffective teachers — saying, in short, the bad ones have to go.


Apparently he doesn't have the same compassionate feelings toward parents or those with whom he disagrees.


Mr. Shade's online persona is surely not exemplifying "pragmatic reasoning" and being "reasonable." Again, The Gazette might want to rethink in whom they place their faith.


It seems his 44 years of "experience" inside our school system has turned him into what the parents are trying to rid the system of: deaf ears and condescension. Those with the mentality they know best.


What makes Mr. Shade's comments more troubling is that I am the "Cindy" he is referencing and the only thing I said in this online exchange (regarding education "buzz" words) was directed at "Deborah" the person who started the conversation: "And the FCTA (Frederick County Teachers Association) and FCPS (Frederick County Public Schools) never use these terms? What's your point, Deborah?"


And a follow up to "Clint: "Everyone in the school system uses them."


However, none of the comments on this thread were directed at Mr. Shade. As a matter of fact, the one and only time he commented was to interject the one statement for the sole purpose of belittling those who were commenting.


The teachers’ association may have had it right the first time when they chose not to endorse Mr. Shade in the primary. Unfortunately after seeing Mr. Shade looked like a shoe-in for a seat on the school board, they decided to endorse him. No doubt because they didn't want to be on the wrong end of this kind of treatment. Good call, Mr. Brennan (the first time).


However, as parents we don't have the luxury of unions to protect us if we go before a board that might contain Mr. Shade. Through his recent comments I would disqualify him as being "open minded" and "reasonable."


He told The Frederick News-Post in their Candidate Questionnaire: I am not yet familiar with the approach of the current board, but because I have worked with and consulted with all department heads, I think that my over 44 years of experience with the school system will be appreciated and utilized. I will respect their experience and knowledge.


I hope that's true, Mr. Shade. However, it appears as though that "over 44 years" has instilled in you the fatal flaw of condescension toward parents.


I also hope Frederick voters think long and hard about voting for Mr. Shade. Yes, he seems to have been a beloved teacher and principal; but, in a moment of candor, he has shown his true self. A man so entrenched in the "old" ways of our school system of "we know what's best," "don't question us" and certainly "never challenge us."


A vote for Mr. Shade will get you the same mentality we are trying to move away from. I for one want a Board of Education that listens to, not one that dismisses the concerns of parents, no matter how trivial those concerns may appear.



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