Letters to the School Board

Several concerned Enterprise parents and a former teacher have recently written the school board about the renewal of Dr. Wright’s contract and some of these have been shared on Facebook by Dr. Lyn Diefenderfer, including her own letter. For those of you who did not see them there or wanted to re-read them all together in one place I am sharing them here.

UPDATE: Since the original post this story and these letters were shared in a news story on WDHN on 9/28/16. You can see that story here Enterprise school superintendent’s contract set to end; concerned residents call for non-renewal

Regardless of what decision the board makes this time regarding the superintendent’s contract, not seeing people at board meetings and not knowing how the people feel will not be a valid excuse. I don’t think it was a valid excuse in 2013 when we were told that debacle was our fault but that is another story, documented in A City Divided if you are interested.

I hope this encourages and motivates others to share your experiences and input to the board as well. They need to hear from you. If you need the contact information you can find that here in School Board Meetings. Continue reading Letters to the School Board

School Board Meetings

Having attended many school board meetings over the past 3+ years I have learned not much is normally deliberated and decided during a school board meeting. Recently, there has been more substantive discussion and questions asked but the board members have their packet of information ahead of time and have likely made their decision on how they will vote on issues before they get there. At least that is how it appears to me. Continue reading School Board Meetings

Unexpected Reply to “Who is Sean Thomas?”

If you read my last post Who is Sean Thomas? I ended it with the statement,

“I don’t really expect a response from this one either.”

I really didn’t but an unexpected reply was received last night. Since so many of you have read that post I assumed you would want to see this too. His response as well as mine, written this morning, are shown below. I don’t think any additional comments are needed.

UPDATE: Since the original post this story and blog was mentioned in a news story on WDHN on 9/28/16. You can see that story here Enterprise school superintendent’s contract set to end; concerned residents call for non-renewal Continue reading Unexpected Reply to “Who is Sean Thomas?”

Who is Sean Thomas?

No, this isn’t a Jeopardy answer, although that might fit. I think To Tell The Truth fits this story better.

I received an email yesterday morning with the subject Enterprise Schools supposedly from a “parent with students in your system”. It was sent at 10:21 but I did not see it until yesterday afternoon. The email wasn’t addressed To me. I was copied though. It was addressed to all the school board members and Greg Faught. The email is from someone I had never heard of prior to this email, named Sean Thomas, or was it?

UPDATE: Since the original post this story and blog was mentioned in a news story on WDHN on 9/28/16. You can see that story here Enterprise school superintendent’s contract set to end; concerned residents call for non-renewal Continue reading Who is Sean Thomas?

Huge Contrast in District 3

350px-boll_weevil_monumentI was reading the Southeast Sun online today and noticed all of the campaign ads, which is to be expected. Next Tuesday, August 23rd, is the day Enterprise will choose who will be serving as mayor and city council for the next 4 years. Anyone who reads what I write here should not be confused as to what I would do if I had a vote.

However, just in case any of you are confused and I don’t get to mention it again before next Tuesday here is the executive summary, I would not vote for anyone running for RE-election and for Mayor, since there are 3 candidates, I would vote for Milton Shipman. Continue reading Huge Contrast in District 3

An Eventful Year

As noted in the school board meeting in January, Dr. Wright has just completed one year as the Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools as have several others. I thought it would be worthwhile to review this past year and highlight what I consider to be some of the major accomplishments and changes that have occurred. Please let me know if you think it is worthwhile too. Continue reading An Eventful Year

The Common Core Experiment

Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt
Apfelgriebsch, Apfelbutzen, Apfel, Applebutt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading about and studying this experiment called Common Core for some time. My initial hope was to develop some grand yet simple opinion based on this research that might revolutionize the world. However, as I have been unable to reach that simple conclusion, I decided to write about some of what I have learned so far and some questions still unanswered for me.

I also want to provide resources I have found for you to do your own research and join me on this journey.

I welcome your feedback as that is another way I can learn more and we can learn together. This is one of the most confusing subjects I have ever seen in trying to discern who is telling the truth, who is not, and who is just trying to implement the program because it is a requirement to keep their job.

Just to be clear…so you will know where I am coming from on this issue I am a conservative so any time the federal government expands to take more control of issues that are best left to the states and local governments I am concerned and skeptical of the motives behind those actions. They tend to be mostly power and control related and not in the best interest of those the elected officials were elected to serve. This is one of those issues and I am skeptical that Common Core will actually be what their claims say it will be.

What typically happens is these over-reaching initiatives, policies, or laws are graded on their publicly stated intent by their advocates and not the results produced. There is little or no accountability and adding more of our tax dollars is always the ‘fix’ needed. I am more concerned about the end result of this experiment and the goals not publicly stated being achieved.

Everyone, whether you have school-age children taking part in this experiment or not, needs to learn more about this experiment called Common Core. It WILL affect YOU!

The children in school now are those who will vote and lead in the future so what they are being taught matters to everyone, whether you have children in school now or not. I am not opposed to change or new ideas. I have worked in the computer industry for over 30 years and there are changes almost every day. Change is inevitable and can be good or bad.

When the education and indoctrination of the next generation is at stake I think due diligence is warranted. I am not confident due diligence has been done for this experiment called Common Core. We are talking about the lives and futures of the children of the country now, not a new technological advancement. Despite claims to the contrary by its proponents,

– It is being tested now with those in school now as the guinea pigs.

Too many people are thinking ‘It is not my problem since I don’t have kids in school’ or ‘I trust those making these decisions have pure motives and are doing what is best for the children, and are not making decisions in order to receive more federal funds or fueling their own egos or political power.’

Investigate for yourself and make your own decision and then take action if what you learn warrants it.

Here are some things I have learned

1) There is no Common Core standard curriculum so you have to trust your state and local school boards to select the curriculum and textbooks that the children will be using. Do you trust your state and local board members enough to just let them make these decisions?

There are so-called “social justice” lessons being taught in math and English textbooks by the examples used in both. These lessons might not agree with what you want your children to learn or your definition of social justice. Have you read any of your children’s math books lately? That, along with some of the new methods I have seen for solving simple math problems are concerns for me.

2) Development of a national curriculum is one of the unstated goals of Common Core based on the opinions of at least two educators involved in creating the standards who refused to sign the standards.

3) The Common Core State Standards did begin as a collaboration between states but $4.3 billion of federal stimulus funds called Race To The Top and waivers for states to adhere to No Child Left Behind were the carrots that prompted so many states to so quickly adopt these standards. Alabama did not receive any Race To The Top funds but did receive a waiver for No Child Left Behind.

4)

Here are some unanswered questions

1) Where are the dollars being spent? The $4.3 billion and cost savings from waivers granted for No Child Left Behind is going somewhere. They are apparently not getting to the classrooms or teachers as they are still required to hold fund-raisers or take donations just to have the basic supplies they need to do their jobs. Is the money going to administrative personnel, unions, textbook, testing companies, or political campaigns against any candidate who either questions or opposes Common Core?

2) In setting a standard for at least two unique groups of students, those who plan to further their education in college (College Ready) and those who plan to enter the work force or vocational school after high school (Career Ready), how can this be done without “dumbing down” the existing standards and corresponding tests? We have been told the standards are more rigorous and tougher. How can that be?

Surface Barely Scratched – Form Your Own Opinion

This has barely even scratched the surface and is by no means intended to be a complete discussion on this subject. I plan to write more later as I learn more. One goal for this post is to do what I can to bring more awareness of this subject to those who might not have been following it before or who mistakenly thought it would not affect them. If I have done that then this post has been a success.

A second goal for this post is to encourage you to consider the questions, learn more, think for yourself and formulate your own opinion.

Below are the resources I promised earlier where you can learn more about this subject yourself from both sides of the subject. This is not an exhaustive list either but is a good starting point to learn more.

Alabama State Department of Education

Common Core Issues

Alabama College & Career Ready Standards (CCRS)

Truth in American Education

School Official Explain Differences in Common Core and Local Resources

Reasons to Repeal Common Core in Alabama

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Stop Common Core in Alabama

Dr. Pesta – Common Core Presentation – 11-09-14 – Newnan, GA

Four Seattle Teachers Declare: “We Refuse to Give the Tests”

Until next time…

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Confused Yet Confident

We-Are-Enterprise-LogoConfused

It has been 18 days since the announcement the 9th grade would be moving to the high school next year and one week since the school board meeting, and then the post-board meeting. I attended both and am still confused as to why now.

After the shock wore off from the original decision I wanted to wait to learn more of the reasons this decision was made before commenting. The shock was that I had taken Dr. Wright at her word that she was not going to come in and make changes initially until she learned more about the system. In my mind, 43 days on the job seems rather quick to making a decision of this magnitude so I was surprised. Continue reading Confused Yet Confident

Welcome Dr. Wright

We Are EnterpriseWelcome to Enterprise Dr. Wright!

I can only speak for myself but my gut feeling is the entire community welcomes you. I am confident as you begin to meet more of these citizens of Enterprise you will continue to be impressed by their love of Enterprise and Enterprise City Schools, support for the Superintendent, and their desire to see Enterprise City Schools continue to be one of the best in the state of Alabama and the reason so many families, who do have a choice, choose Enterprise for the education of their children.

I would also like to commend the Enterprise City Board of Education in making your selection. I believe it was a very good choice from an impressive group of candidates for this important position.

I was impressed by the way you handled yourself in your public interview and the experience in education and leadership you bring with you as you take over the leadership of the Enterprise City Schools. All of the candidates were asked about the role of the School Board in relation to the Superintendent and all answered similarly as you did. The board sets policy and the superintendent implements the policy in the manner they choose and believe is best. You also added the board should listen to the community. You also indicated your first goal here would be to “find out where you are.”

My second goal in writing this post was to help you achieve that first goal. My first goal in writing this post was to welcome you, in case that was not obvious. Continue reading Welcome Dr. Wright

Two Questions

We Are EnterpriseWith the interviews for the new Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools upcoming I wanted to pose two questions to the candidates. From my perspective they are important questions but will likely never be asked. It really doesn’t matter as the actions taken after being hired are the only answers that will matter in the long run.

(Q1) I am sure you are aware the reason you are being interviewed is the former superintendent was allegedly forced out, in his opinion and that of many others familiar with the situation, due to micro-management and intimidation by the current President of the School Board. If you need a refresher on this A City Divided provides a pretty good summary.

Knowing the potential for this to continue with any superintendent hired, since the President of the School Board has not changed nor indicated his behavior will change, are you committed and prepared to stand up to this when it occurs and make your decisions based on what is best for the students of Enterprise City Schools and not necessarily for the political or personal benefit of any school board member or city government official? Continue reading Two Questions