thumbnail of Ten O'Clock News
Hide -
No, he's here. - -
The school committee will come to order. Madam Chairman, the special meeting of the school committee was prompted by an interview you gave Elena Roberts of the Herald American and which appeared in that paper yesterday morning. At the beginning of the interview, you're described as having quote swung to the attack unquote. An understatement which failed to prepare the reader for what was to follow. The whole tone of the interview was one of high emotion bordering on hysteria. You left me wondering about your judgment and your balance. It also raised some questions in my mind as to what it all means for the Boston school department. My immediate concern is the future of the school system and its students.
Your intemperate remarks which were aimed at students, parents organizations and political leaders alike suggest that you have turned your back on the majority of the people of my city and that you have opted for a constituency of one, namely Judge Garrity. This may be shrewd politics on your part Madam Chairman, or Madam superintendent. But what about the whole school system and the children you must serve? How can you effectively manage our school department without the support or at least the understanding of the students, parents, officials, and others you so eagerly alienate? If you had given the matter further thought Madame superintendent you might have come to the realization that while Judge Garrity can keep you in office he cannot mandate an effective superintendency.
To that end, you'll need a broad based constituency that Judge Garrity has to offer. I'm also concerned about a school situation here in Boston which is already highly volatile. I wonder Madam Superintendent if you carefully considered how your sudden emergence as Judge Garrity's champion may be viewed by some of the people of this city. Surely you are aware of the general unpopularity of Judge Garrity's orders the distress he has caused many of our citizens many of them remain bitter and they will not take kindly to one who appears to be using judge Garraty to further her career. We do not need their wrath to further aggravate a dangerous situation situation. Finally your re-entry into the political arena may have seriously
compromised your ability to function as a peacemaker in our schools. The superintendent must give the appearance of impartiality to people on both sides of the busing issue. Your attack on certain groups may have the effect of putting your impartiality in doubt. In fairness to you madam superintendent I ask that you have if you have an explanation for your remarks which differs from the observations I have made above. If so I would be happy to hear them. If not I would suggest that you take some time off. We flecked appoint a course of action which will serve the best interests of all concerned. This to Chairman and members. First let me say that the
statements in the newspaper were made by me. You need interview with a reporter from The Herald American. I hope you recognize that it was not my intent to offend anyone personally. However. I have been given certain duties and responsibilities by virtue of the office of superintendent and co defendant in the case of Martin vs. Kerrigan five months ago when I assume the superintendency. I was aware of the responsibilities associated with both roles. The court order is not a popular one. It has created tensions and dissensions in various parts of the city. This makes it all the more necessary for me to carry out my duties in an efficient and effective manner.
It is difficult for the superintendent to hold together field administrators and central office staff administrators when the authority of the superintendent is questioned. I have attempted to indicate this concern to the committee. I will continue to urge him to do so. Less than a month ago when you set the goals for the school system they were indeed the administration's goals. I hope that we can weather this and that you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee and the administrative staff can work together to fulfill our obligations to the schoolchildren of Boston. I'm relatively gentle as my understanding then that these remarks were your remarks. These are all these quotes we are quotes and that you
don't at this time want to offer any observations as to their meaning which differs from what I had presented to the committee. Not at this time. But I would think Madam superintendent that you're quite confused as to what your position is in the school department was my understanding that the five members of the school committee were elected by the people of Boston last November and it's their purpose in electing us to have us determine what the policy of the school department is and I don't see it as part of your function Madam superintendent to go around making remarks about the school committee and about political leaders in the city when your job should be the education of the children in the city of Boston. And I would like to get some response from you as to exactly what you perceive your job to be.
I am the school and the executive officer of the school committee. I fully understand that position. You know it is not my responsibility to make policy but only to administer the schools and to execute the policies that high the community. Well I for one find that answer adequate. Any comments from any of the main members of the committee is to Chairman members also under a court order and their court order demands that we not only fulfill the letter of the decision but also to implement Internet firm active man just filling in for you the superintendent. Madam superintendent just about three and a half weeks ago the chairman of the school committee in his opening remarks set a very high tone for this committee. One that I personally had hoped would be a hallmark of our activities through 1976. Throughout it
we had said that we would put rancor and bitterness aside. We had said that we would put personalities aside. All of that to the benefit of the children in the school system. I cannot see for the life of me how you can make the remarks you have made in Sunday's paper. Going out on a frontal assault to some 70 or 75 percent of the people in this city calling upon the mayor and city council presidents and others to account for their activities in the light of those remarks I would suggest to you that the chairman was speaking for the school committee at that time that was our policy and that you as an employee should be carrying out that policy. I don't know what a veil these remarks are made except to say this. It further divides our city it further weakens the ship upon which we sail. And I think it makes it even more difficult for the children in this city to get an education if you can explain to me how any of those remarks that you have made in Sunday's paper can
possibly benefit the children in this city I'd like to hear them. Hello Mr. Chairman Mr. Finnegan it is important for the superintendent to hold accountable those people in the field and its central office staff in order to fulfill our obligations to the committee and to the court. She cannot do this if in any way her authority is being questioned. I understand when turned on Sunday's paper assertion your authority was I correct my response. Mr. Chairman my responsibility. I reiterate that question. Do you see your article in Sunday's paper as asserting your authority is that the vehicle by which you're going to assert your authority in the city.
Mr. Chairman my the authority that is invested in me is superintendent is disseminated through this system through superintendent circulars and then there can be no justification whatsoever for asserting your authority or anything else for the remarks in Sunday's paper outside of the fact that they happen to be personal remarks that you wanted to make is that a fair statement. Which was due to Mr Finnegan I assume that's the way you've interpreted it. I did not intend personally to offend anyone. Madame superintendent I don't want any interpretation of all your remarks. That's a pretty direct question I've submitted to you know is there any other justification outside of the fact that you wanted to make those remarks for your making. They were my opinion and you made them freely. I did and my next question of you is
how did you think those remarks would ultimately benefit the children in the city. Why did you think about that at all. Mr. Chairman Mr. Finnigan I have thought about nothing else but my responsibility to the school children in this city from the very day that I assumed office. It has been my responsibility and my obligation to preserve provide for them a safe in a secure environment which they can go to school and programs of learning in which they can progress. Mr. Chairman I would simply end my remarks by making it to the superintendent that these remarks in my judgment are extremely unwise and that had you had in mind your primary responsibility of the education of the children in this city you perhaps even though driven to make them would not have done so.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Any further comments from members of the committee. This is pelleted up. There are certain sections of the article that I would have to disagree with. And one of them is that. It was fate he was directing her Remax at a radical in type the same group that had packed. I don't see that as being correct because I was at Hyde Park the day of the riot and I did see the beginning in the end and I don't believe there were any radical anti passing groups that had packed that day. Unless of course I'm considered the radical anti Busta busing group but of course that's ridiculous. The day of the riot there were no groups identifiable
as being in type I think you know around the school that I could say I have knowledge. But I have some gold that appeared in yesterday's Boston Globe for Sunday's Boston Globe and it states here is now under way a nationwide search by the Boston School Committee for a new superintendent to Sissie Fahy. The searches far prove an administrator one who may not necessarily have to be an educator. One such person has been approached but declined and he has Washington and Washington attorney Edward Bennett Williams etc etc.. Is this such a search being conducted by the Boston School Committee at this point. This is comedy you know I know nothing of any research whatsoever. Then you and is it your position here that you're defending these remarks in this paper.
I am questioning their iMac in the glow about the Boston School Committee conducting a nationwide search and I ask you is that the fact of this I am not aware of the answer to it. But I'm asking you Are you defending. I said I don't defend any of the statements in this article. That is my point but I do question. I mean which Boston School Committee the five a fast if that's a fact why don't I know about it. Oh this is the deal. I have indicated to you I know nothing whatsoever of research wealth and I maintain that the article in The Globe is incorrect and the one in the Herald is incorrect. Does that include a whole article of well I'm not I guess questioning the fidelity of the article in The Globe that says the Boston School Committee is searching for a new school committee I returned and I ask is the Boston School Committee conducting such a search at this time and if they are why don't I know about who authorized
such a search and who is doing the interviews. This is already indicated that I know nothing whatsoever about a search for a new superintendent William Bennett must be incorrect. The information is incorrect on this William Bennett. That's possibly true. Then what I'm asking you or me agree with you that I don't agree with this. Perfectly clear. Well you brought up just one point of it was probably all that was there. Well I know you're right I am an anti bisect and then I am interested in education so I can say that I don't agree with the article entirely. There are some facts in there. Would you point to what facts you steal a Viewpoint article. At least there's no question when Miss Elvira Palin. She's very vocal about it as everyone knows. But I would like I would have to say she has tried to learn and has been most concerned about school children getting a good education I would have to say that part of the article
is correct. Well we hope it remains that way. I will try my best Mr. Chairman the letter to let me to do anything further from the committee. The soul but. I'd like to say two things since I am one of those who is separated out you miss Fahy First of all my criticism of you which started in September and October was based on two specific things. One your nomination of certain persons who in the past had not shown an outstanding contribution to the school children of Boston and secondly a number of contracts which you submitted.
Ten O'Clock News
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-8c9r20rw14).
Series Description
Ten O'Clock News was a nightly news show, featuring reports, news stories, and interviews on current events in Boston and the world.
Raw Footage Description
School committee meeting. Chair John McDonough, Elvira Pixie Palladino, Paul Tierney, David Finnegan, Kathleen Sullivan. McDonough accuses Superintendent Marion Fahey of political expediency. She responds.
Created Date
Asset type
Raw Footage
Rights Note:,Rights:,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 12748979c14dd4c7047cecb45a52f4d8dd8b6b6b (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
Format: video/quicktime
Color: Color
Duration: 00:00:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Ten O'Clock News,” 1976-02-02, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “Ten O'Clock News.” 1976-02-02. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Ten O'Clock News. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from