This is an experiment. Can I live-blog (as opposed live-tweeting) a meeting? Going to try it with a new tool, 24Liveblog. Let’s see how it goes. Work Session starts at 4:00 p.m. CDT, Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. CDT.
The meeting started around 10:45 a.m. All board members were present with the exception of Betty Peters. Here is the agenda. Item 4, the Local School Board Governance item, was removed because the “Department of Justice hasn’t approved it yet”. An item regarding setting emergency rules for the physical testing of school bus drivers was added.
Four-Year Cohort 2011 Graduation Rate
The “Four-Year Cohort 2011 Graduation Rate” (a.k.a., the dropout rate) was first up. Rules changed a few years ago that mandated each state calculate the graduation rate in the same way: the percentage of students who graduated from high school four years after entering the ninth grade. The details of the calculation are here. This is the first time this calculation has been completed, and is based on the 2011 graduating class in Alabama. Continue reading
This is video of Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice explaining the resolution he recommended and the state board unanimously adopted at their April 12, 2012, board meeting. Stay tuned. There are good lessons to be learned from Birmingham City Schools’ struggles.
This is being shared on this blog to allow you to watch these proceedings, but also to allow those of you with your own boards of education an opportunity to compare your board’s conduct and governance abilities with this board of education. Here’s news coverage of Tuesday’s meeting. Here’s follow-up on Wednesday morning. And here’s what happened Thursday due in large part to what you’re about to see.
About 250 people showed up for Tuesday’s regular board meeting, anticipating a faction of the elected board to fire Superintendent Dr. Witherspoon. Many residents, civic and corporate leaders spoke to the board during the public participation portion of the meeting and asked the board to keep Witherspoon as superintendent. Some participants spoke against Witherspoon, but they were far outnumbered by supporters.
Here is the Birmingham City Council reading a resolution in favor of keeping Witherspoon.
A few years ago, my father asked me what I do all day. I replied, “I go to meetings”. Knowing that at the time my income-generator was photography (an occupation that requires few, if any, meetings seeing as how I was the sole proprietor), he fixed his eyes on mine and asked, “what are you meeting about and with whom?” The implication was clear: how could those meetings possibly be more interesting than spending time with him and my mother (while my children were in school)?
That set me to thinking. Why ARE those meetings so important? What do I learn by observing at these meetings? After all, most of the meetings I attend do not allow public input. Are the participants just simply so enthralling that I cannot tear myself away? Is the time that I trade in these meetings generating income? Am I learning super-secret strategies for success in this advocacy business? Uh…..
So what is the draw?
Ah. The discussion. The debate. The point of view of the participants.
That’s the draw.
So I will share some of the more interesting tidbits that I learn at the meetings that I attend, because what good does it do if I attend the meeting, spend time ingesting what’s being said, and then do nothing with the information? Passing along the information is the most important part of attending the meeting!
The first few entries will no doubt be old news, as I plan to review the more intriguing meetings I’ve attended recently.
Please let me know of any meetings you think I might be interested in attending. My favored-subjects include public education (K-12), accountability measures, school reform, special education (as in IDEA), school communications (with the school community) and school finance and budgeting.
I hope to offer some insight into the dynamics that make meetings memorable. Or not.