Monday night’s vote against renewing contract an inevitable fait accompli

School Committeeman Mike Mangan and Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani shown at Monday’s meeting. (Photo by Josh Resnek)

By Josh Resnek

Something that is inevtible cannot be stopped from taking place.

A fait accompli is a thing that has already been decided before those affected hear about it.

In both instances Monday night at the school committee meeting, Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani met her rendezvous with her Everett destiny.

The vote against extending her contract was inevitable and the politics of the situation.

She was basically, unequivocally asked to leave when her contract is up in March of 2024, a fait accompli for the first woman of color to lead the Everett Public Schools.

Going into the meeting she did not have the votes to prevail.

This is one of the harsh realities of of democracy in action in Everett.

Make no mistake, it was democracy in action.

That didn’t make Monday night’s vote fair or just.

The vote was legal and above the board, conducted with integrity and based on the rules of the school committee.

The arguable outcome of the vote, the casting-off of a high-powered honest, intelligent, hard-working and committed educator and woman of color who has done an admirable job under difficult circumstances, was the end game of what appears to be a salad bowl sprinkled with rotten politics, discrimination, racism and retaliation.

Monday night’s vote against extending Tahiliani’s contract marked another of many dark moments in the political life and times of this city’s beleaguered, underfunded and overcrowded school system.

The harsh reality is that the vote was more about the pitfalls, the odd nuances and inadequacies of local politics more than it was about advancing higher minded educational policy or the interest in doing what is right.

If this were a Hollywood production depicting small city imbroglios, it might have been described this way.

The bad guys pretended to be victims to defeat the good guys who were made to be portrayed as bad guys.

This is the new new in Everett politics.

Two members felt compelled to make statements indicating their votes hadn’t been bought or bartered for or given away in a quid pro quo.

They explained they could not vote for an extension – not because they didn’t like Tahiliani – but because they had been badgered by so many Everett residents to vote for her.

In other words, they were tired and bothered by the heavy measure of public support for Tahiliani more than anything else.

This is the ugly and transparent articulation of Everett political logic at its worst.

The real victims, of course, are the school kids of the EPS.

This is against the backdrop of those who voted against extending the contract had nothing or not much to say about exactly why they were opting for a change.

Regretfully, Everett is not alone in making such childish and wasteful decisions.

For instance, in Marblehead, there have been something like six superintendents in the past decade. How’s that for a nearly all-white upper middle class type community.

Superintendents come and go. This is the nature of the public school/political education game.

Monday night’s vote is what it is.

The meeting proved conclusively it is the Everett political system acting out fully in its iron fisted tendency to religiously follow the leader, to affirm allegiance to bankrupt reasoning rather than to do what is right.

It is what it is.

The overtones of discrimination and retaliation were very much alive in Monday night’s failure to extend Tahiliani’s contract.

Does it matter?

I don’t think so.

In the end, it was just another meeting, just another vote, and the start of a soon to begin search for a new superintendent.

One wonders if anyone now conducting an investigation into how Everett does its business was watching, or whether or not anyone cares.

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