By JOSH RESNEK
Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani’s evaluation for 2020-2021 came in with high marks, except for several highly sexist and personal ramblings made by an aid to the mayor and attributed to him which could pass as civil rights violations.
Tahiliani scored proficient in each and every indicator included in her evaluation, which covered instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture.
The results of the evaluation indicate that Tahiliani is doing her job and doing it well, according to the statements of the school committee members who contributed their comments.
The mayor made comments, as expected, that leave open the door to doubt about Tahiliani’s performance.
The mayor, it is widely known in school circles, wants to replace Tahiliani.
He would prefer a submissive, white, male superintendent who he can control much more than Tahiliani, who he cannot control.
The mayor couldn’t control himself once he got going.
“Superintendent Tahilani has demonstrated that she is not receptive to or accepting of alternate points of view or opinions. A review of the recordings of School Committee meetings will illustrate that her posture, facial expressions, and other physical mannerisms visibly change during discussions and debates of issues,” an aid wrote for the mayor.
One might well ask what exactly the mayor was trying to imply with his observations of Tahiliani’s physical mannerisms and movements. In the realm of #MeToo politics practiced today by leading public officials, there is a strict tendency to stay away from subjectivism about a woman’s looks or how she presents herself. In fact, doing so is akin to committing a civil rights violation.
The mayor obviously does not understand this.
Does Tahiliani need surgery to correct a muscular imbalance causing her to smile or to gesticulate too much? Does he not like the way she walks and talks? What about what she looks like? That’s the next part of the mayor’s takedown.
The mayor and the colleagues he controls on the city council have criticized Gerly Adrien, the first Black woman elected a councilor at large and now running for mayor.
“She smiles too much and is often seen laughing,” they complained before asking her to resign because they asserted she just didn’t fit. Is this where the mayor was at with his comments?
It seems that way.
The mayor wrote: “Superintendent Tahiliani’s tone, tenor and demeanor during discussions of different opinions also changes.”
Is he implying she needs elocution lessons like those given to many Baby Boomers during the 1960s?
And as to tone, is he saying she needs voice lessons?
My favorite is the mayor’s problem with Tahiliani’s demeanor.
Does he want her to act more like a man and less like a woman? Is he bothered by her confidence and the slightly darker color of her skin?
He questioned her capacity to listen and to engage with parties who express different opinions. He claimed staff and many Everett families, community stakeholders, and elected officials all have shared independently that they have had the same experience.
Can you imagine this coming from a mayor who has no tolerance for points of view other than his own?
He can’t control himself and his own impulses but makes the point that the superintendent must suffer the foolishness of people who have little to no idea what they are talking about when it comes to public school education.
The mayor claims Tahiliani stops engaging in conversations or discussions with people who express different points of view.
Again, the mayor’s tendency is to fire people on a whim who don’t agree with him and to hire employees who make political contributions to him.
He did not accuse Tahiliani of this but his comments, which are lengthy and longer than any others offered, set the stage for the replacement action he believes he will shortly be taking against Tahiliani.
By the nature of the job, superintendents cannot be malleable.
They must be firm, smart, proactive, and savvy.
Tahiliani is all that – but the mayor couldn’t write that.
He basically doesn’t know how to write.