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Gate City Musings: A tip of the hat and a farewell

August 11. 2013 10:21PM

Gate City Musings, a column on City Hall happenings and other Nashua items, is is written by a veteran political observer whose identity is known to the editors but who wishes to remain anonymous, and breathing.

Tip of the hat to Nashua's Parks & Recreation Department for their SummerFun schedule this year and to the many public-spirited Gate City business leaders who sponsor this award-winning program with their cash contributions.

Many city youths would not have the opportunity to enjoy these summer activities and events if it were not for this great city government and, of course, the taxpayers who make it all possible.Musings over the past year has been critical of several city projects as well as some elected officials, but it is to the credit of the partnership between the city and its businesses that make SummerFun possible.

On the other hand, what gives with the firing of John Roper (one of our city's baseball greats) from his position as head baseball coach at Nashua South? One can only wonder why the Board of Education didn't use or respect the talents and advice of their newly hired AD.

Musings thought with the addition of a new athletic director, who is supposed to be in charge of the coaching staff, she should have been given time to judge the expertise of Coach Roper before he was unceremoniously dumped. It's no secret the former AD had it in for Coach Roper and one can't blame the superintendent of schools for this ruckus for it appears he and many members of the school board didn't have the faintest idea what Roper did.

It was nice to see some of the original members and staff of the former Nashua Pride organization be recognized the other night at Holman Stadium, especially Bev Taylor and Chris English who worked hard to keep the organization together in spite of the Greater Nashua baseball community's lack of support. No one but these folks knows how hard they worked to make professional baseball a success here in the Gate City.

Not even an infusion of a portion of John Stabile's fortune and a $3 million modernization of Holman Stadium could keep the Pride alive when the local powers-to-be in the business community declined to support the team.

If our city fathers and mothers over the years had devoted as much energy as they have for skateboard and doggy parks, beautifying downtown at the expense of local business establishments, and making it hard for local businesses to survive faced with tough planning and zoning regulations designed to thwart business instead of encouraging it, maybe, just maybe, professional baseball might have survived.

Now we have our school board, once again, kowtowing to the teachers' union as they look for new ways to measure teachers.

Whatever happened to observing teachers in the classroom, analyzing student grades and looking at standardized test scores? You guessed it. The unions are now demanding that teacher evaluations include the teachers evaluating themselves with help from the principals ... a lot like the foxes guarding the chicken coops.

For years now, union negotiators want additional raises, more health care benefits on top of a new system of teacher evaluations.

One school board member has suggested what he wants is less evaluation and more dialogue with the teachers ... he even went on to say that if teachers have problems or need improvement, the system needs to give them the tools and support to improve and succeed. Whatever happened to the old adage that if a teacher can't teach he/she should be doing something else for a living?

Another bright idea floated by our Board of Education is for them to "look at data to determine whether they should look at taking a much larger role in doing what they were elected to do ... namely, oversee the district." This is the same board which has directed the schools superintendent to evaluate himself.

To make matters even worse, the teachers' union has suggested that shorter classroom visits by teacher evaluators would give them a better sense of a teacher's strengths and weaknesses. In other words, the union appears to be saying that the less time a teacher evaluator spends in the classroom observing makes for a better teacher. Figure that one out, folks!

A farewell. This is the final edition of Musings as we will be leaving Nashua for greener pastures for a job promotion down south.

To those who feel they have been picked on, many times Musings was written with tongue in cheek. Needless to say, Musings feels Nashua is a great city with many attributes and a host of dedicated and hard-working public officials and a well-informed citizenry. We'll miss you!

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