Update: The Superintendent has asked that the Mann Building item be pulled from the agenda. I'm not sure if I'm glad or sad but I do know it's not good. I suspect that the Mann building is NOT cleared so there may be some other news about this in the next couple of days. Whether the Superintendent goes forward with these leases or not, he still needs to clear that building.
End of Update
Between the Growth Boundaries Intro and the Mann building, it stands to be quite a night for a School Board meeting. There are 63 people signed up to speak (they will also 25). The majority are about the Mann building and I expect some pretty fiery rhetoric. (I plan to try to split my time - 1 minute whole minute on boundaries and one whole minute on Mann. I note that Charlie is also speaking and he's always entertaining.) One tip: whether you speak or not, the Board likes to have your comments in front of them.
The Times has finally gotten around to weighing in on this issue. They did have two recent editorials - one was by Lynne Varner and one she wrote on behalf of the entire editorial board. Hers was decidedly more nuanced but I think that was before she understood the gravity of the situation.
This morning, in an effort to cover all bases, the Times had another "opinion" about all the newest education news.
They mentioned the School Board races, saying that the Peters/Dale Estey race was too close to call. (This is amusing because the Maier/Peaslee race - which was even closer the night of that election - that one they called for Maier. No matter.)
They said that Dale Estey and Blanford have both worked inside schools without noting that Green and Peters have as well. Then, to my mind, instead of being gracious about all the people who did have the courage to step up to run, they decided to get in one last shot saying "Many people have opinions about education, few have devoted professional and personal time to improving it."
Then they get to the Board meeting tonight and get tough about Mann.
The project's contractor has had a crew standing by to start work on Horace Mann since Sept. 18th and estimates $100k in cost delays already.
School officials from the facilities and security departments along with outside contractors went to the Mann buidlingon Monday about 8 am and were surprised by six people who blocked them from moving through the building and threatened them physically. Are these the people Superintendent Jose Banda wants to enter into a partnership with?
At this point, talks about a district-Africatown partnership ought to be off until cooler heads prevail. If the group wants to get serious, get rid of the fringe element horning in on what could be a promising community partnership.
I know the district made another effort to secure the building again yesterday but I have no idea how that turned out but I can guess.
The Times also notes the loss of a near-$1B tax hike effort in Colorado that would ostensibly serve more poor schools with at-risk students. Sounds great but guess what? Outside interests like Bloomberg and Gates were in the mix and you know what that means. The issue was a whole lot more complex than just more money for public education. From the NY Times:
The vote was a major defeat for teachers’ unions and the state’s governor, John W. Hickenlooper, a Democrat who campaigned heavily in support of the measure to provide $1 billion mostly for educational improvements. It was also a blow to charter-school advocates and a group of deep-pocketed philanthropists who had supported the effort as a rare opportunity to infuse new money into poor and struggling schools. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York contributed $1 million, as did Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation is a major contributor to education projects.
In other education news, Bill de Blasio won for Mayor of NYC and I expect something of a different tone on public education there. Chris Christie in New Jersey won again for governor. Not sure if you missed his patented hissy fit when a teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, approached him recently at a campaign event.
She asked him: “Why do you portray our schools as failure factories?” His reply: “Because they are!” He said: “I am tired of you people. What do you want?" They argued briefly before he told her "to do" her job and got on the bus.
You people. Note his ever-smiling wife next to him.
Ms. Tomlinson's reply.
What do “we people’ want, Governor Christie? We want our schools back. We want to teach. We want to be allowed to help these children to grow, educationally, socially, and emotionally. We want to be respected as we do this, not bullied.