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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Black People at Emery: Nameless and Not Heard

School Board to Black Teachers:
'We Are Not Listening to You'

Board President
Donn Merriam

'The minutes will not be
made to reflect what
the teachers said.'
News Analysis
Despite Emery teacher's charges directed towards the Superintendent of the Schools, outlining his bullying and racist practices, made at a now infamous June 15th School Board meeting, the Board gave a big thumbs up to embattled Superintendent John Rubio last week when they voted their approval of a scrubbing of the public record; erasing the teacher’s public testimonies in the official minutes.  The teacher’s testimonies condemned a top down racist culture that has risen up at Emery Unified School District and a Superintendent that ignores or subverts the concerns of African American educators at the district.  The official minutes of that meeting, written by Mr Rubio himself and now approved by the the School Board (4-1 Member Barbara Inch dissenting), play down the teacher’s concerns and expunge even any mention of the Superintendent and his central role in the existential dysfunction at the District the teachers testified against.  

The minutes approved by the Board at the follow on June 28th meeting, give ample space for two other (white) speakers at the June 15th meeting who came to praise the District, respectfully providing their names for the record but the black teachers (and their white colleagues) got short shrift, their concerns ignored, their names not even mentioned.  The Board majority approved minutes, by proving the teacher’s claims in its naked ablution, brazenly affirm and help support the racist culture at Emery Unified.  
Board Member Cruz Vargas
'The Board is fine with ignoring
black teachers.'
Some of these black teachers have worked at Emery for years and now, as they quit because of the venality of this Superintendent, the Board disrespectfully ignores their specific concerns, leaving no record of their professional accounting.  These honorable District employees were not even given time to properly say their piece; they were only given the same three minutes to address the Board given to the general public.   

Board Member Bailey Langner, an attorney, said it best among her colleagues at the June 28th meeting; the minutes cannot be used to accurately record any of what the teachers said or even to casually mention that they are dissatisfied with the job done by the Superintendent because according to Ms Langner, “Minutes are not meant to be verbatim.”  We’ll leave it to an authoritarian minded attorney to use a straw man fallacy like that.
Even African American Board member Brynnda Collins, who upon hearing the teacher's testimonies said the "time for action" is upon us June 15th, bizarrely voted with her three colleagues June 28th to approve Superintendent Rubio's minutes to take away from what the teachers had said. 

Presciently and informatively, one of Mr Rubio's first acts as Superintendent almost three years ago was to amend Emery's official Mission Statement.  References to ending racist (and classist) policies, central in the former mission statement were expunged by Mr Rubio with the Board's approval.  At the time it didn't seem ominous to most. 
Board Member
Brynnda Collins

"Now is the time for action"...
and then she voted to approve
the minutes.

There’s a silver lining that’s been revealed by the Board refusing to adjust the minutes of the June 15th meeting to reflect the truth if not to respect the teachers; the good news is the real agenda of the School Board is now irrefutable.  The easiest thing in the world to do would have been for the School Board to adjust these white washed minutes.  It’s actually required by law but here at Emery it seems what matters more is for this Board to support the Superintendent, apparently no matter what; even to lower themselves into this degraded racist culture the teachers alerted us to. Not this Superintendent’s deplorable teacher retention record, the worst in the Bay Area, not even his failure to follow the Mandated Reporter law leaving would be sexually assaulted children and their parents disbelieved at Emery can sway this Board as they go about their prime directive: protecting the Superintendent.
Board Member
Bailey Langner

'Sorry teachers, minutes cannot 

be made to reflect reality.
Not when we have our own
narrative to push.'

The Board’s vote June 28th to disregard the teachers, especially the black teachers at Emery serves now to focus all teachers, parents, and regular citizens to the importance that elected officials not act as renegades but instead to reflect a community's values (appointed Board members Langner and Collins were not elected by the people).  Emeryville is not racist and we won't countenance racist institutions paid to speak and act for us. A correction in the form of a plebiscite will likely be due Emery coming soon to a voting booth near all of us. 

Correction: Board member Collins was appointed to her Board position along with Member Langner.  The story has been changed to reflect that.  Thanks to the commenter who brought it to our attention.


  1. For the record, the two student representatives on the School Board voted against the approval of the minutes as written by Superintendent Rubio. Unfortunately, their votes on the Board don't count (literally and figuratively).

    1. Thanks Lillian. It is true the two high school student representatives on the Board voted NO along with Board Member Inch. Thanks to young people and their fresh and clear vision...they commonly don't engage in the kind of soul sucking political calculating this Board routinely engages in.

    2. Thanks, Lillian Schroth. Members Bal and Solis. I'm proud to say Member Bal is a former kindergarten student.

  2. Rubio is a real bad superintendent and he is racist to blacks at the school, both teachers AND children. The school board isn't interested in this but I don't think they are racist.

  3. It seems inappropriate for the Superintendent to take minutes rather than a Board member.

    1. Inappropriate? Perhaps in another school district. Here the Board does the Superintendent's bidding so for the sake of efficiency, it's probably better the Superintendent write the minutes himself....the Board might mess it up and accidentally make the minutes reflect reality....then we'd have an angry Superintendent.

  4. When was Rubio's contract renewed?

    1. His contract was renewed by Donn Merriam, the Board President at the end of last year when his (Rubio's) teacher retention record was known (as well as all the other dysfunction). The other four Board members started serving right after the vote to renew the contract so we only have Merriam to blame. The 'stand-by-Rubio-at-all-costs' Board Members (Cruz Vargas, Bailey Langner and Brynnda Collins) have used their time on the Board to stand by Rubio no matter what. Only Board member Barbara Inch has called Rubio out on his dysfunction. One out of five Emery School Board members willing to stand up for good governance and work for the children...that's pretty bad. This is what you get when government officials, elected and otherwise, are not held to account.