In a recent letter sent to all Archer parents, Barbara Bruser, chair of the Board of Trustees labeled the Josephson’s lawsuit meritless and malicious and declared that the entire Board fully supports Ms. English. The Josephsons contend that this unqualified endorsement of policies and practices described on this website should be taken as a warning by all Archer parents declaring it is school policy to allow the head of school to pursue a personal agenda, retaliate against students and parents who do not support her decisions without having to justify her decision to anyone. It is school policy that any opposition to a ruling of Ms. English, in any form, may be grounds for the school to cancel its contract with you and remove your child.
In a letter to the Archer Community of parents responding to the dismissive and disparaging nature of the Josephson’s claims and motives, Michael Josephson stated:
Our lawsuit concerns every parent and child at Archer and deserves your sincere attention. If at the end you conclude that our claims were meritless and malicious we deserve condemnation. If, on the other hand, you conclude that what Ms. English and the Board of Trustees did to our family was cruel, callous and unnecessary we hope you will raise your voice to restore Archer’s culture to the child-centered, supportive, and collaborative philosophy on which it was founded.
Some of you may want to withhold judgment until the case has been decided by a court but you should know that if Archer’s lawyers have their way, this case will be transferred to an arbitration proceeding clothed in secrecy and we will not be allowed to report the outcome. We contend that preventing parents from knowing whether or not our claims were found to be true or not and what, if any sanction was imposed on Ms. English and others, is fundamentally disrespectful and irresponsible.
We have already been contacted by parents, students and former teachers with their own horror stories about how they were treated to support our contention that the conduct we cite in our complaint fit a pattern of decision making we believe is arbitrary and authoritarian. We are sorting through these stories and will be posting the most pertinent and credible ones to assist you in making your own decision.
(Summaries and detailed versions of the facts that resulted in the removal of the Josephson’s two youngest daughters from Archer are posted on this site including “Declaration of Elizabeth English and the Josephson’s Rebuttal.” Please also read the allegations about Ms. English’s leadership style and conduct in the post “Defendant Ms. English” under the “Parties” tab. You may also be interested in the new post “Letters: Pros & Cons.”)
While the particulars are unique to their situation the underlying source of the Josephson’s dispute concerns all parents at Archer. The information on this site contains ample persuasive evidence supporting the following conclusions:
- The leadership style of the Archer’s current Head of School, Elizabeth English, has replaced Archer’s founding philosophy to empower female students and collaborate with parents to individualize educational strategies to help each child reach her potential with a very different approach focusing on compliance with unilateral administrative decisions driven by motives other than the child’s best interests.
- This leadership style puts every student and their family (as well as teachers and staff) in jeopardy of retaliation should they disagree with a decision of Ms. English. And should a family persist in challenging an action, Archer’s lawyers will seek to assert an arbitration clause in the enrollment contracts designed to shield the school from public scrutiny and accountability and to deny students and parents all the prerogatives of our judicial system, including the right to have their case heard by an impartial jury of peers. (See the home page post “Beware of the Arbitration Trap”).
- Ms. English’s autocratic leadership style has resulted in decisions that are not in the best interests of Archer, its students or parents. These decisions have not only subjected the school to liability, they have adversely affected the reputation of the school and its ability to attract and retain top teaching and administrative talent.
The letters, documents and other posts provide ample evidence that the Head of the School, Elizabeth English, is taking the school on a very different road than the one veterans like the Josephsons chose prior to her tenure.
On this site you will see compelling evidence that that under current leadership, Archer’s tradition of child-first collaboration has been replaced by a much more autocratic approach where students, parents and teachers are expected to accept and support every decision of Ms. English or be subjected to extreme retaliation. You will see evidence that inspiration has been often replaced with intimidation. And you will see that life-changing decisions affecting young girls have been allowed to be driven by personal motivations rather than sound educational policies and practices.
Please read the “Memo in Support of Offer to Settle” under the tab “Settlement Efforts” to get a fuller picture of what happened including verbatim copies of the pertinent correspondence.
Plaintiffs believe that if the leadership practices that injured them are exposed to the scrutiny of the Archer community, their fellow Archer patriots will take steps to restore the school’s positive philosophy and student-centered climate. Because the facts are complex and it may be difficult to isolate the specific behaviors that caused plaintiff’s to bring their action, we offer a summary of the specific things Ms. English did that they contend were inappropriate, improper and, in many cases, unlawful (clearly, some of the items listed are more serious than others) – See “23 Unprofessional, Improper or Unlawful Things Ms. English Said or Did”