Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New B.E.P. Hearing

I'm 60 years old. I know crap when I see it, I know it when I hear it, and I definitely know it when I smell it. And this hearing for public comment by the State Board of Regents (two were present) was crap.

When school committees, parents' groups, & teachers have no time to review the plan (the download site doesn't work) & you schedule something like this with a week's notice, it begins rather smelly in my book. And I was right.

The audience consisted of appx. 25 with 7 people elected to speak, & the new proposed doc was given out. Good thing because the link on their site doesn't work.

Middletown's School Supt' Kraeger was there (spoke), along with School Committee woman Gaines. Present, but not speaking was Liana Ferreira-Fenton, Linda Savastano (ass't sup't), and Sandra Flowers (Newport Schools). There were a number of school librarians in the audience. Evidently they were the only group able to get info out regarding this meeting.

The BEP ("Basic Education Plan"- see previous article) is every school's Bible. This doc reads well, sounds good, and goes down real easily. But what the heck does it mean? You've got me.

The actual session last an hr. with 7 people electing to speak. It was announced that the Regents are "interested in [the] need for further revisions." Doubt that. Seems to me they are interested in "teaks only."

#1. Dr. Carol Herman- the most impressive speaker with 1 1/2 pages. She is a teacher-librarian & new member on the non-partisan Tiverton School Committee. She stated that we "need explicit" B.E.P. regs to prevent school committees from decimating programs in order to lower taxes. She referred to the Sat. Tiverton Town Budget meeting which cut $627,000 from schools at a poorly attended meeting. She said that these new regs would results in "the only winners [are] those who want lower property taxes. The losers are the kids." She referred to economic development necessitating good public schools and the real problem in education is not casued by the current B.E.P, but by not having a fair funding formula and a basic lack of monies from the State.

Here! Here!

#2. Helen ? spoke for School Counselors. Sorry, she spoke too quickly & with her head down, so I missed much of this. She spoke to a wording problem in the new doc.

#3. Gentleman. Sorry, he did not speak directly into the mic & I just couldn't hear him. His focus seemed to be that the doc calls for a "minimum adequate education" and he wanted it to address excellence. Good point.

$4. Barbara Ashbe of RILINK spoke to the new doc not addressing "reading" in library requirements nor does it address what a "highly effective staff" actually mean. She is also afraid that the loss of professional school librarians could results in the state dropping interlibrary loans to school. She is concerned that their is no method of challenging districts' interpretations of this doc mean.

#5. Middletown School Sup't Krager was delighted that the doc address "inputs." Of course, she has not yet had time to speak with the school committee (no one has). Her critique address very specific items- mostly concerned with definitions. She was also concerned with tech & consumer ed. Heck, just kiss them goodbye.

#6. JoEva Gaines. She is a former music teacher in Midd., was head of the Union here, and was on the Board of Regents who helped draw these old regs up. She is now on the Newport School Committee. She loved the new doc! It is "superb" and expresses "confidence in teachers." It leaves a basic education "up to each district" and speaks to "rigor & accountability."

Hmm. School Committees love this as it leaves everything up to them. Sorry. Doesn't inspire much confidence in me. The bottom line is ALWAYS $, you can't kid a kidder.

You know, it seems the Guv achieved in these appointments & this doc what he hasn't been able to do otherwise- get rid of the Caruolo Law & crush public education (and get rid of those bothersome Unions). But that's me.

#7. Deb?- A school librarian spoke to the need for professional staffing & collection developemtn. Let's face it, without a librarian- a library is just a pile of books. That's all.

#8. Stacy Lyon- Coggeshall School Librarian. This is her second career & she spoke to "research literacy" and the fact that most school librarians work "behind the scenes."

Yup, you don't love us until we're gone.

Dave Fontaine (MHS librarian was also there).

I was the only press. Big sigh here. The Bible of our public school system undergoin major change (thing of replacing the Bible with "Cliff Notes" or "Classic Comics") and few shows. When this thing passes (and it will), you'll see major changes in your schools. And not for the better, I might add.
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