In the wake of Superintendent Joe Hairston's recent visit with the PTA, BCPS communications staffer Charles Herndon tried to smooth things over with a letter to the Forge Flyer. It starts:
Dr. Hairston was gracious enough to meet with the [Baltimore County PTA] CouncilGracious? It was not gracious of Dr. Hairston to meet with the PTA. It's his job to meet with important constituencies of the school system. Maybe Mr. Herndon meant the least common meaning of gracious:
Condescendingly courteous; indulgentYes, that captures it. Dr. Hairston often treats key stakeholders, such as the county's top-level PTA, like ignorant kids. As Jean Suda put it after the PTA Council meeting with Dr. Hairston:
I left . . . with the impression of having watched an old episode of "Father Knows Best." [Dr. Hairston] was there to hear us, but not to listen in a way that might lead to any modification of his thinking. . . . If we don't agree with him, there must be something wrong with us.Dr. Hairston, we don't like being treated this way.
Mr. Herndon continues:
Above all, Dr. Hairston tried during the meeting to bring two things to the discussion that have been sorely missing – context and accurate information.Accurate information has indeed been sorely missing. Because, except for some Orwellian "straight talk" like this, Greenwood doesn't give us much information.
- "Was that a yes or a no, Dr. Hairston?"
- "You sound like President Clinton parsing the definition of 'is'."
- "I'm very disappointed that you've been pleading the Fifth all over the place."
- "None of you [Hairston, Murphy and Parker] seem to want to answer our questions."