Archive | August 9, 2013

Alton Central (ACS) School Board Summer ‘Workshop’, Thursday, August 8, 2013: Bar Common Core Segment The Rest Was A Non-Event.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Workshop … should be hilarious — July 31, 2013.
>> ACS board not 100% behind Common Core? — June 11, 2013.

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I urge you to watch the video as soon as it is available.

I will update this post with a link to it — as soon as Deanna spots it online.


The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT!

The Workshop from 1: 30 to 3:45 pm was devoid of a audience bar us and a substitute teacher taking notes for the local rag. That was IT! One of the Board Members was also missing — for the 2nd meeting in a row. Must be taking the Summer off.


I got up and spoke at least 5 times -- I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a 'magic lantern', on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about.

I got up and spoke at least 5 times — I think. Got one major breakthrough. Motion passed, unanimously, that in future MOST public documents discussed by the Board will be displayed, via a ‘magic lantern’, on the big screen so we can all see what the heck they are talking about. This picture was taken around 3:50 when the CROWDS poured in for the Common Core segment. Didn’t see many Alton parents. A lot of old folks — even older than ME!


It really was a Workshop in two parts: 3 hours of tedium and paper shuffling from 1 to 4 and then 1:20 minutes of rather amusing (if not for the fact that it was so sad) live entertainment along the lines of ‘no, I don’t believe you‘ rhetoric on Common Core.

When we got there just at 1pm my friends Raymond Howard and Steve Miller were there. I was glad. I actually went and sat with them leaving Deanna to sit in the front row. By 1:30 Ray and Steve had both left, albeit after Ray had given one of his pithy and always to the point remarks, in public input, that he always gets the feeling that the Board just loves to spend our money. Ray and Steve had work to do. I feared this with the timing of this Workshop.

So from 1:30 till 3:45 when busloads of ol’ folks turned up to contribute to the Common Core entertainment Deanna and I were the only bona fide PUBLIC at the meeting.

This is beyond the pale. It is diabolic.

Though nothing of IMPORT transpired the agenda for this Workshop included ‘Building Discussion’ and ‘Strategic Plan’, in addition to ‘Common Core’.

So in February – March we had all those fireworks about ACS building renovation and the $18 M bond, now come August no other parents can spare 2 hours to attend this Workshop?

I got up and had my say about this. I claimed that this Board in general, though there are two notable exceptions, make the public feel unwelcome and redundant. Their habit of glibly discussing documents that the public does not get to see is a classical example of this. Yesterday they spend 50 minutes talking about two documents and we (i.e., Deanna and I) had no idea what they were talking about. Bloody waste of our time — but that is how this Board views us. Mere taxpaying chattel — because we are not as rich and famous as they are!

Well, at least, with the help of Carlos Martinez and Steve Miller, I did get a motion passed — unanimously. In future we, the public, will get to see, on the big screen, via a ‘magic lantern’, the documents being discussed by this august board — though, of course, they retained the right, to arbitrarily override this provision when it is not convenient to them or the Administration. Well, we will see how this transpires. Dying to see the minutes.

That there have only been 4 members at this and the last board meeting was beneficial. These 4 members kind of balance each other out. I wonder how many board meetings you can miss before your conscience tells you that you need to quit?

In reality, other than this ‘public display’ motion that I forced them to adopt, the only real action that came out of this Workshop was the formation of a 22 member Strategic Team to look at EVERYTHING pertaining to the future of ACS — including buildings and grounds.

Deanna volunteered to be one of the team members — representing the parents. [To be fair, I was also asked, but I declined because I have never been a committee person. I am broadband.]

Steve Miller will also be on the team representing the Board. That is wonderful. I am glad. So in some ways I know that I am well represented on this Strategic Team: Deanna and Steve. What more can I wish for.

The Common Core was something else — as I knew it would be.

The Administration, to their shame, punted the ball. Neither the Principal nor the Superintendent, William Lander, Esq., had the gumption to stand up and defend what they claim that they believe in.

Instead they got a young lady, quite impressive, from the Dept. of Education, in Concord, to be their proxy. She was politic and didn’t know as much as she should have. She was outsmarted and out-researched by the Common Core detractors.

I know folks will scream at ME but I really have no skin in the game when it comes to Common Core.

Though I have a Master’s and have taught (adults) extensively, I am not a great believer in formal education! So to me Common Core, Apple Core, Metal Core are all the same. Yes, it is also true that I will make sure that my kids know the basics of what they need to know — by hook or by crooks. Once you know the basics, the rest is up to the individual. At least that is how it worked for me.

What cracks me up about Common Core is that our current principal Sydney Leggett has been talking about CC ad nauseum ever since she became Principal. She has told me, on the record, that ACS is committed to CC for 2013 – 2014,

I tried to get a vote — and vote of confidence — on CC yesterday. Check the tape. Sandy Wyatt, the Chair, who I have learnt to respect immensely, and have found is far more savvy than she lets on, very glibly brushed my request aside. By I will try again at the next board meeting which I think is this coming Monday. I want a vote by this Board — for the record.

I think, if Mrs. Wyatt allows me, that the vote will indicate that THIS board is not in support of CC! We know that Carlos Martinez will vote against it. He has to. He has no choice. I know that Steve (my friend) does support CC and did, BRAVELY, go on the record the last time we spoke about it. As ever kudos to Steve. So they cancel out each other. Let me take a stab at this. I think the vote will be 4 – 1 AGAINST CC! So where does that leave Mrs. Leggett?

I did hear something interesting yesterday. Though I had also heard a statement to the contrary at an earlier meeting, there was a muttering that Mrs. Leggett may never have got a VOTE from the Board to proceed with CC. Oh dear!

IF I had a say, I will stand with Mrs. Leggett. We need SOME standards and CC is a standard. That I am a UNESCO-brat may or may not have anything to do with it. But since I am a foreigner I don’t count anyway.

But, let me please urge all ACS parents to WATCH THE TAPE.

make up your own mind. Come to the meetings. They sure beat TV.

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