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HOW HAS GROUP HELPED THE ORCHARD PARK SCHOOLS?

I read with frustration and disbelief Martin Schechtman's "In the Debate" piece in The News on Sept. 21. Mr. Schechtman clearly holds to the belief that constant repetition of half-truths and distortions will make those statements true.

The delusions that Mr. Schechtman tries to spread are best illustrated in his opening paragraph, where he proclaims that the Orchard Park Citizens Group was formed to lobby for "excellence in education plus fiscal responsibility in our schools."

I defy Mr. Schechtman to produce one significant example of how the Orchard Park Citizens Group has expended meaningful effort or resources to effect "excellence" in the Orchard Park schools.

In fact, since the Orchard Park Citizens Group has achieved effective control of the School Board, one of its most notable achievements has been to delay urgently needed structural repairs to the district's buildings for at least a year.

Other assertions by Mr. Schechtman are equally dubious.

Tenure is not lifetime employment, as a study of the past 20 years in the Orchard Park Central School District would clearly demonstrate.

Since changes in state law three years ago, the length of time needed to complete the due-process guarantees afforded teachers charged under state education law has decreased by 60 percent.

U.S. teachers complete the longest probationary period (three years) of any employees I know. I believe it is only fair that they have due-process protections against arbitrary action by possibly politically motivated employers.

Mr. Schechtman's biases become most clear in his description of concerned citizens' experiences "with the school administrators and the blue-collar style union representing 'professional' teachers."

With one phrase, he demonstrates the arrogance he displays toward hard-working, dedicated employees both within and outside the public sector.

One could only imagine what his motivational management techniques might be.

Scott L. Shiffner
Vice President, Orchard
Park Teachers Association
Orchard Park

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