Thursday, July 12, 2007

Last Night's School Board Meeting

I stayed for about half the SB meeting last night and heard all the speakers as well as Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's Entry plan and SB committee updates. There were about 100 people at the meeting, 1 (that I saw) SB candidate, Dan Dempsey, and about 40 of the 100 were young adults protesting the SB military recruitment policy.

Despite what the PI wrote, the SB meeting last night was not "disrupted" by the student activists. The students were organized out front, marching in chanting at 5:55 p.m., sat down and were quiet except to do a two-line chant between speakers. Were they loud? Yes, but they are protesting a war and a district policy about recruiting soldiers for the war. They dominated the speaker list. Sadly, no one outlined their policy (even though Dr. Goodloe-Johnson clearly had never heard it this being her first meeting). Their policy, I believe, would call for one district-wide fair for all career/technical schools, colleges/universities and military recruitment. They say it would allow access to more opportunities for more kids as the attendance of these recruiters varies from high school to high school. (Military recruiters barely visit north end schools and are a heavy presence in south end schools while college/universities tend to visit the more academic heavy-weights.) They say this would meet the requirement under NCLB for schools to allow access to military recruiters.

Note: this is not to put down military service, it is an honorable career choice and, for some, allows them opportunities they might not otherwise have. However, in the midst of a problematic, dead-end war, these young adults have a right to stand up and question high- pressure recruiting in the schools.

The PTSA President at AAA came and said they were still unhappy about the SB not trying to bring TAF into AAA. From her remarks it seems that their community feels that AAA could be helped by the program. She also claimed that she has a videotape of Raj and Carla being dismissive of their concerns. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson also got to hear from regulars Don Alexander, Chris Jackins and Omari Tahir (if you know who they are, you'll know what they likely said).

Cheryl Chow welcomed Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and thanked Mark Green for his years of service.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was very attentive to all the speakers (myself included). I was unhappy to see some people talking as she began. (This is a real problem at Board meetings. If you have a large group with one concern - like the military recruitment group - they get done and think they can talk. There also seems to be a cultural assumption in some groups that they need to say something under their breath at every remark or to carry on side conversations. It is really distracting and, of course, discourteous to the speakers. I was surprised to see the head of a major parent group doing this.)

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was professional and organized. She had a brief Powerpoint of her entry plan which is basically a get the lay of the land plan with her focus for each area. Some of them were listening and learning, purpose, media, school board, district senior staff, students and schools, political leadership, community leaders, and national education. I tried to write down the plan but she really sped through it. The Board seemed happy with it.

I was impressed. She was friendly without being sugary. It was a good start.

Carla's report was delivered by Glenda Morgan who spoke about the summer school enrollment numbers. The district invited 1900 2,3 and 5th graders and predicted between a 15-20% non-enrollment. It's 40%, 30% and 42% for each grade level. They called every family that did not enroll/respond to ask why not. The only major reason given was that many people did not understand that they could get transportation to and from daycare and use their daycare address to attend a school close by. They recruited 3,000 high school students and got a 37.2% non-enrollment rate.


Jet City mom said...

I hate PowerPoint
I tend to agree with David Byrne that Powerpoint makes you stupid.
However- I wasn't at the meeting ( too hot)

I did download her presentation & am impressed which is pretty hard to do with me re Powerpoint- I am still pretty apprehensive- but she seems to realize she is not going to have much of a honeymoon period & is prepared to hit the ground running.

That would be fantastic & while previous reports from Charleston had me making very cynical comments- I am prepared to rethink my opinion.

Anonymous said...


What did you think of today's editorial in the Times about recruiting? http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2003788229_recruited15.html

I would agree that the position advanced by the protesting group (I am not using the term protesting students, as it seems like a good portion of the group are actually adults and/or college students) only acts to harm students by limiting access to recruiters from colleges and businesses, who would not come to a recruiting fair.

No offense to Brita, who I think has been more tempered and wiser on this issue than her SLC collegues, I think that the credit the Times gives to her for advocating a more moderate position should go to Phil Brockman who brought a reasoned viewpoint to the table.