by Karel Kliminik
How coincidental is it that your new speaker procedures limiting oral testimony went into effect two days before Dr. Hite announced his new reopening plans thus cutting off public comment on this vital issue. The SRC did many awful things, but even they never attempted to control public participation in meetings by limiting the number of speakers and minimizing speaking time. If Board members do not want to listen to the public then it is time for them to resign. The Board is engaging in community disengagement by eliminating three committees and drastically curtailing public testimony at the one monthly public meeting.
The heavily promoted Goals & Guardrails will now take up a substantial part of each action meeting as we unfortunately just witnessed. Creating a colorful rubric to monitor your progress is verbiage thrown against the wall to see what sticks. It is mind boggling to think Goals & Guardrails reflects what you have heard over the past two years. Obviously you have not been listening.
These actions show how desperately we need an elected school board that will listen and support public participation. The Board is now engaged in promoting Community Conversations but provides no details. Community Conversations does not take the place of public testimony at a public meeting. What is the selection process? How do you apply? Will a list of groups you meet with be posted? These meetings will not be open to the public as Action meetings are. Curtailing speakers and snipping speaking time needs to be reversed.
Goals & Guardrails may be endorsed by the business community as shown on the board website, but they are divorced from the realities you have heard described by students, school staff, and advocates over the past two years. The blurbs make clear for whom the Goals and Guardrails were written.
(microphone cut off)
The Board, instead of turning away from the corporate disruption of the public school system, furthers it through outsourcing, exorbitant contracts to outside companies, and looking the other way when charter schools fail to meet standards. Board members did nothing other than express faint disapproval after the release of the Inspector General’s damning report on Superintendent Hite’s botching of the Ben Franklin/SLA construction project. Goals and Guardrails addresses none of these crucial issues. It simply provides a screen for continuing these disruptions.