MASHPEE - The library at the Quashnet School was filled with people from town to listen in to the interview of Brian Hyde for superintendent of the Mashpee Public Schools on Wednesday night. I'm sure the side-bar e-mail that went out from a couple of the search committee members, to members of the town's Republican Committee looking for ways to insure that Hyde get's the job didn't hurt.
There in the hot seat sat Hyde, semi-articulately rattling off his comments and answers with the speed of a Three-card Monty dealer or auctioneer.
Hyde's bold-faced lies
However, the rapid pace did not stop the growing numbers of Wampanoag residents who filled into the hall, including the tribal chair and council members, from shaking their heads as Hyde bold-barefacedly lied to the school committee and gathered town's people when he claimed that he "worked things out with the tribe and had the full support for the tribal council." As verified by Cedric Cromwell at the meeting, this is an absolute falsehood.
Hyde continued to rattle off facts and figures about issues with the school, curriculum, teaching styles and the like, without taking any accountability for any of these issues despite his almost 25 year tenure with the Mashpee Public Schools as a teacher (with a remarkably flawed curriculum) and as an administrator.
90% of the disciplinary actions taken were against 6% of the high schools population
He glossed over the fact that under his leadership, 100% of the 8th Grade Wampanoag students flunked the MCAS, he failed to address the fact that, based on data from the Superintendent's office, over 90% of the disciplinary actions taken are against 6% of the high schools population.
Almost all of these issues trace back to his tenure as Assistant Principal and his well known record of "un- even dealings" with students of color. I will say this: Brian Hyde does an extremely adequate job as a sports coach. Having had several students in common over the years, and hearing his spin on history and social studies it was my firm belief that the school system kept him on as a teacher because of his potential as a coach.
He'll probable get the job with a wink and a nod
The issue at hand is bigger than Hyde. The fact that a person of his character and type is a top contender for the position, and the fact that collusion twinged e-mails in support of him can circulate unchecked, and the fact that he probably will get the job with a wink and a nod speaks more to the character and integrity of the school committee and search committee. It speaks to the fact that political connections mean more than education to those in charge of the system.
During the interview I chuckled as Hyde noted the lack of support by students and parents of extracurricular activities such as the "sixty people who attended a high school drama club production of "Into The Woods"; remembering that Hyde NEVER attended any of the theater productions that were put on in the high school when I was directing them; as he would have noticed that more that sixty people attended. He should perhaps see this trend as chickens coming home to roost.
Wampanoags are an inconvenient bump in the road to the traditional 'old-boys network
The Mashpee Wampanoags (myself included) have proven to be an inconvenient bump in the road to the traditional 'old-boys network' way of doing things in Mashpee's elected realm. We already could see how the game was going to go from the beginning.
The school committee wanted a Wampanoag representative on the search committee, and originally chose one at random without any consultation to the tribe's government or leadership. Traditionally, this dismissive act of arrogance on the part of the town would go unchecked, but when the tribal leadership took issue, accommodations were made.
This speaks volumes about the remarkable lack of respect that the town's elected branches have for a sovereign government, particularly when said government is comprised of people of color.
Hyde, who was supposed to be an easy walk into the position by his political buddies on the search committee was further hindered by the letter issued by the tribal government, stating a vote of no confidence in his candidacy.
The letter prompted an immediate meeting with Hyde were, according to him, his almost 25-year record with the school system of poor treatment to native students and dismissive and patronizing treatment of their parents would be absolved... or at least in his mind.
As a parent of a child in the Mashpee Public Schools, the on-coming song and dance that is predicted for Hyde to waltz into the position that he has had his eye on, by his own admission, since 1989; it's time for us to face the inevitable search of decent education for our children.
It's time for a Mashpee Charter School
It will be a time for us to follow the lead of the language program and look into starting charter schools and alternate schools under the BIE so that our children can receive a solid and supportive education; one that will not be damaging to the positive self-development or self-esteem.
Since 1989, Hyde had been a part of the problem in the Mashpee School System and the powers that be seem bent on making him the main problem for a school system that already has a long legacy of issues and problems.
Once again, we are very likely to see yet another example of how intellectual and academic mediocrity is rewarded with leadership positions. A place where the Cape Cod Times is able to print misleading and inaccurate information about the status of the tribe's position on Brian Hyde as an educator and potential superintendent. It's a shame, but it seems that the only way that Mashpee Wampanoag students are going to get the education and treatment they deserve in a Mashpee school is if it's in one we build ourselves.