Friday, May 17, 2013

ASD Board Director David Zimmerman's Insensitive Email to a Parent

David Fehr Zimmerman

The following is a letter to the school board from an ASD parent:

Before you vote on cutting the arts in the Allentown School District, I ask that you watch this TEDx talk by Brian Pertl.

Pertl is an ethnomusicologist, didjeridu player, and Dean of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music.

I think you will understand my point once you have watched his talk.

Please find a way to keep the arts alive in ASD, from elementary school through high school.

You MUST find a way to do this. Our kids' futures are at stake.

Please save the arts in Allentown!

Thank you for your attention.

Ed White

 Here is the insensitive response from ASD Board Director David Fehr Zimmerman:

When we get our priorities straight and provide a balanced education to all students, given the horrendous financial constraints the school district is under, then maybe I will be more attuned to more realistic and genuine initiatives addressing deficient areas.

I will not support any arts or other special interest resolution until ALL students are provided an equal education. It is unconscionable to even introduce a resolution of this type when we are considering cutting all day kindergarten.

If you want to preserve "the arts" advocate that teachers reduce their salaries to accommodate those that may be furloughed, then we will all have some more breathing room.

My focus is on the fact that we are in DIRE financial condition. We may have to consider closing schools next year. People need to begin to understand this reality. All the research in the world is moot at this point in my opinion.

David Fehr Zimmerman

My Reaction:  It is clear that Mr.Zimmerman does not understand this fact: according to both state and federal law, ASD children have a right to a quality public education. It is his job to make sure our children receive that quality education, regardless of the "DIRE" financial situation of our district. Children are the priority. Children should be his focus. He is robbing ASD children of a quality, well rounded education, in order to balance the budget, and that is what I find truly "unconscionable."  Find the money to adequately fund vital ASD programs, by choosing other areas to cut that don't directly impact our children.

An "equal" education is one that includes core subject areas of art, music, physical education, and library, in accordance with state and federal law and our school district's mission statement. The arts are mandated by law as core subject areas essential to a quality education. The resolution to save the arts is not a "special interest" resolution. Related arts are essential. Zimmerman is misinformed. The arts have already been unfairly reduced. The school board should be finding ways to fully restore the arts and provide a full time certified librarian at each building. But Zimmerman dismisses educational research, so he does not know about the importance of access to books.

Zimmerman is only focused on the bottom line, and is not looking at the whole picture, and the whole child. Decisions about curriculum should be based on meeting needs of students through proven methods to increase academic achievement. What are his ideas, besides asking teachers to make more sacrifices?  We must hold Zimmerman accountable, as an elected official, to do his job and find a way to provide a well rounded education for ASD kids, one which includes the arts, PE and library, just like the kids in more affluent suburban districts enjoy every day.

Full day Kindergarten and related arts go hand in hand. Zimmerman would know that if he didn't dismiss educational research in order to follow his own misguided, narrow views on education. The fact that he is a regular contributor to local blogs and forums that publish lies and misinformation, speaks to his poor judgment and low standards. He was even a regular contributor to the overtly racist Allentown Commentator online forum. He has continually ignored my polite and informative Emails on the value of the arts in education. 

Ed White gave me permission to share his letter. Ed has been a committed parent and volunteer for many years. He has spoken at board meetings and rallies to save our schools. It's disgraceful that Zimmerman would respond to a parent in the way that he did. Don't vote for Zimmerman as ASD Board Director.


Mrs. Dottie said...

From Bill Villa: This vile comment appeared at Scott Armstrong's "Allentown Commentator" blog for several years. Angie and I asked Scott Armstrong, repeatedly, to delete it, and disown it. Armstrong always steadfastly refused. When he ran for ASD School Board recently, he made the "Allentown Commentator" blog disappear from public view. It may still be visible to "invited members," we don't know. We do know, however, that in its racist heyday one of The Allentown Commentator's regularly contributing commenters was current (for now) ASD Board member David Zimmerman.

What's in store for the future:


My name be Eboneesha Li Herenandez, an African Hispanic Asiatic-American Girl who just got an award for being the bess speler in class. I got 67% on the speling test and 30 points being black, 5 points for not bringin drugs into class, 5 points for not bringin guns into class, and 5 points for not gettin pregnut during the cemester. It be hard to beat a score of 120%. White dude who sit nex to me is McGee from Ocala He got a 94% on the test but no extra points on acount of he have the same skin color as the opressirs of 150 years ago. Granny ax me to thank all Dimocrafts and Liberuls for suportin Afermative action. You be showin da way to tru eqwallity. I be gittin in medical skool nex an mabe I be yo doctor when Barrac take over da healtcare in dis cuntry

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman is an effete snob and a pompous ass. And he knows nothing about education issues or policy.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Randal Hendee
July 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm
"There are multiple federal cases waiting to be made with respect to inequitable school funding for minority children. Some state formulas for school funding inherently discriminate against urban school systems (systems already top-heavy with administrators and consultants, preventing funds from reaching classrooms and individual schools). It should be easy to prove that the bulk of minority children are being deprived of resources needed for even a minimal program of education.

It wouldn’t be a big leap to demonstrate systematic starvation of some urban public school systems for the purpose of establishing more privately run charter schools, resulting in substandard services for the kids that remain in the public system. Civil rights statutes and the equal protection clause could be brought to bear in this instance."

Mrs. Dottie said...

Zimmerman is on the board as a watchdog for taxpayers. That is his primary focus. He should have run for Congress or some other position, not school board. School board directors should be focused on protecting the educational rights of students. He has failed our children, and should be removed from the board.

Sydney Gene said...

What concerns me is that he, Mr. Zimmerman, seems to blame some invisible person or persons. He is on the School Board and is responsible for what shape his district is in. He seems to think it is all about money and money is a big part of running a school district, however, working in a school district myself,ultimately1" our responsibility is to the student. Without those "students", there is no school district.....the bottom line is important but the students are more important. Please take your time and realize the Arts are necessary in a students well as academics. Not all students will be doctors and lawyers, some will want to be artists, actors, etc. Take your time for the students future!

Mrs. Dottie said...

Good points, Sydney. The arts teach problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and other skills needed to be successful in any career. Through the arts, academic concepts are reinforced and taught. The arts make us human, the arts reflect and document our culture, they have been around since the dawn of civilization. That's why they are essential to education, and to bring joy to children, creating meaning in their lives, so kids like school and therefore stay in school. Zimmerman, and many ignorant people, view the arts as separate, sideline activities, or fluff, but the arts should really be at the center. If the ASD valued the arts, they would not be cutting arts teachers.