It’s finally here, tangible evidence of one of the worst school board meetings the Tacoma School District has yet held. Part of the blame rests with School Board member Kim Golding, who seemingly remains uncomfortable with her new role as president of the school board. With the force of Jim Dugan’s commanding presence absent, the general tone and flow of the meeting drifted off topic and out of touch. The meeting ends with nearly 20 minutes of calendar-checking and irrelevant banter among the school board about when to schedule the next meeting.
But what made this meeting truly horrifying was that the school board endorsed a resolution to support Senate Bill 5444 – a massive 111 page document that would totally reorganize and redefine the service of public education in Washington State. Included in this bill is implementation of the Core for 24, which would expand the number of core requirements for high school graduation in Washington state in order to provide more arts education (a suggestion which I and most of my fellow arts commissioners vehemently oppose.) Luckily, our Tacoma School Board does too and they amended the resolution before voting on it by deleting their endorsement of the Core for 24.
But what is truly horrifying is that the resolution, which the Board eventually voted for (3 in favor, 1 abstention and 1 excused) was only delivered to the school board a few hours prior and no one who voted in favor of it was fully aware of what the bill included. Only Kurt Miller, who abstained from voting, admitted that he had not read it – nor should he be expected to given the way the resolution was thrust upon the board. What followed was a 30 minute debate about how soon is too soon to vote on a resolution. After that was finished, the votes were cast with virtually no tangible discussion about what was included in either the resolution or the bill it was intended to endorse.
In brief, SB5444 does the following and more
- 1) Eliminates I-728 funding
- 2) Ties student test scores to the ability of a teacher to keep his/her license
- 3) Creates a new teaching certificate model with a three tier system.
- 4) Adopts pay-for performance
- 5) Expands the school year by 10 days without expanding the school system’s budget
- Thankfully, a resolution is merely a statement of support for an idea – not an act of law in itself. But that being said, when the Tacoma School District (some 30,000 students strong) issues a resolution, it makes a fairly large statement. It’s effect on the legislature will be significant in molding the collective opinion of our representatives…..and all that justifies a more thorough examination of the facts!
- POST SCRIPT
- Thursday, February 26, 2009 6:00PM
- The Melon invites all of its allies to attend the School Board Meeting to either testify or merely show-up in support of convincing the School Board to broadcast its meetings on public television. Thus far, The Melon has been providing coverage as a public service since July of 2008 – but this is becoming problematic in a weakening economy and we can no longer do this as private individuals. We nonetheless believe that these meetings are not only important, but more digestible than most other civic meetings and should be broadcast. Elliot Trotter and myself both plan to speak, and invite anyone else with an interest in doing so to join us.