I have learned a lot since starting this venture. Like many, I have always been told and had thought that the work got done in these meetings. They are the only time public minutes are taken so one would think that for the sake of transparency all business would be done there. When I served on the Board for the Screen Actors Guild, all reports would be given and debated during the board meetings. This is not how it works with the Board of Education.
On Monday night I attended the Blue Valley School District Board of Education meeting. It was rather enlightening. They began with district awards to some employees, which was very nice. They then went on to announce awards for some high school students which, ironically, were all arts related. This was the majority of the meeting.
After a few committee reports and a little other business, the board voted on a Consent Agenda. This was extremely revealing. As Board President Mike Seitz explained, and which was extremely helpful, a “Consent Agenda” basically authorizes all actions decided upon in the earlier workshop. The problem is, there is no public record of what takes place in the workshop. There is an agenda item, but when the board passed the Consent Agenda, no on who wasn’t in the meetings has any idea what has been passed. Thus the agenda item 7.A. in the April 10th workshop authorizing the principals to present the PowerPoint to the teachers WAS approved by the board, but what that actually consisted of is difficult to figure out.
The real question now is if no decisions have been made, as Dr. White repeatedly stated in the three meetings, why are the teachers still being told this is happening and why hasn’t the district or the board publicly affirmed that parents will have a voice in the coming changes?
The Arts ARE Being Cut Down
The removal of the wheel ensures that 6th graders no longer be required to experience an arts curriculum in 6th grade. As those students are reduced to the exposure, enrollment in subsequent years WILL be reduced. When you add in the changes in the PowerPoint Presentation that would add non-arts electives while significantly cutting time for all electives, it’s clear the arts programs in the middle and high schools will be decimated by this combination. The wheel removal is bad enough, but the curriculum changes magnify the effect.
YOU Can Make The Difference
Neither the board, Superintendent White or the district has publicly commented about this. Whether they don’t believe it will hurt the arts, haven’t considered this very real suppression of the arts from the changes taking place or don’t care about the impact to the arts, we don’t know. What I do know is this is far from over. If you are concerned about this, please contact us and help us make them listen to the parents. We have 22,000+ children in our district and as parents, we deserve the right to be genuinely taken into account and not just placated as we have been to date.
Any emails from teachers or district employees will be held in the strictest of confidence, so please let us know what YOU think!.