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Meet the School Board: Monthly district meeting for 4J

These are my notes from the school board meeting of Eugene's 4J school district, 7pm @ May 14th. The room's packed -- on one side. Apparently half the room is reserved for.. open space? Freedom of movement by the sitting members? I'm not clear, but there's people in the hallway instead of in the room.

Things start out with the pledge of alliegance; strange, I haven't done that since they stopped doing it in school. A couple of people I know here are looking kind of amused, too; I don't join in, it's far too ridiculous to me personally for me to participate meaningfully. I catch myself mouthing nonsense syllables at one point to avoid seeming "weird", and stop this immediately.

Next on the agenda, they talk about.. PERS. As today's paper said they'd be taking audience commentary on the privacy issue first, they've apparently decided to shift the agenda; people start looking a bit confused, but no one minds.

The discussion's so quiet as to be nearly inaudible if you aren't lucky enough to be in the half of the crowd that's in the room; there's no amplification out in the hallway, but there's active (if quiet) discussion, which is an alternative ? if you're trying to listen.

There's discussion and a vote on the PERS measure -- something about raising an amount by a very small percentage. Not sure what's going on, but I hear the echo of unanimous yays come out of the room. Onward to the next (hah) agenda item, the EBS program.

There's a five minute presentation on the EBS program; apparently there's a movement in the pre-high-school educational system to teach students to be respectful of others. Not clear on what the extra benefit is here; I thought this stuff was being taught all the time! But I guess if it's not already being taught to students, that'd be a better idea as to why things are devolving so badly by high school.

I'm not happy with the direction of the group behaviour instructions, though; it bothers me, some of these examples: teachers standing quietly in line, showing the students how; a kid quoting what's been taught him verbatim, talking about walking calmly and quietly in the halls; where's the life that I remember from my halls in middle school? Quiet is not necessarily respectful. There is a lot of focus on respecting others, which I do appreciate; I'm glad to see it, overall.

Next is the high school report, apparently; students from various local high schools talk about what they're doing this month (?). Interesting to listen to, not really meaningful to non-students; Churchhill apparently did something they haven't done since 1980 ? yay!

(to be continued)

Here's the rest of it, raw transcription only; I'll clean it up and migrate it to the front page as I find time. I've corrected one factual typo, there may be more!

The first audience speaker is concerned about the recruiters, especially if they're extremely aggressive; it's possibly hurryinga decision that really should be made carefully, and by the student, without the presurring of a recruiter. There should be a wor kcommitee.

Second discusses a bilingual flier and a method for informing students (not teachers) of the law, of the opportunity, and the chance to opt out. I'm also asking the board to commit to a work session and commit to a policy, to secure the board's commitment to privacy before the next school year.

Third, mother (second, teacher); this issue became known when we were contacted by each branch of the military, one of which who called multiple times; we asked athem to remove our names from the database; when we asked where the information came from, we found it had been provided by the school office.

One of those seniors has been deployed to iraq because he graduated early, was impressionable, and contacted by a recruiter while at school. Also encouraging a work group.

Mother and a lawyer, it's only one page when you print it out (the part about recruitment); it's unclear whether you can what San Francisco and Santa Cruz have done, set an opt-in procedure, bt I encourage that as an option; my daughtger -- the one from Kat more clearly explained the risks and benefits of opting out, I thought, than4J's.

Most of you are familiar; Youth Corps of oregon; I'll direct my speech in writing. What I cam ehere to say tonight: over the past few months, we have been negotiating with the district staff to renew our charter, we've been waiting since November, and now we're waiting again; we received notice this week that it'll be June before our charter renewal comes before your system. I noticed in tonight's agenda that there is an approval for the public charter (something); we've been waiting for several months for this same kind of work to come out, and it's very uncomfortable; promises have eben made, and haven't been kept. It's time that we had a choose side.

A wellknown author said that your actions speak so loud yhat you cannnot hear what you're saying; we've been told that the dfistrict is going to help us, has even admitted very relunctantly that we're very effective. Three years ago we were presented with a 2 years charter (instead of 5) because you were considered that concerned that our ability tro survive financially, and that .. ours was the most needed. The three charters were approved last night; over the last three years, we've found that the ritual and pleasentries; we've been faced with weightless promises, attacks in the media, and we do not have time to go into the incidents; I'd be happy to detail them and provide supporting documents, but suffice it to say that this latest charter prooposal. After survivng a three year storm, we've imrpoved our situation; with the next 2-year charter, we're unable to improve our finances further;the finance documentation asks for more and more information, mid-year tax audit, and have met with your staff and our CPA .

A story was released to the news last year showing a drop in enrollments, which has caused an inability to raise funds; even after we showed the information to be incorrect, there was no retraction, even in spite of our attorney's request. After all these years, I'm not longer angry; our charter school has done everything you've asked us to do. Over the last 3 years, we have returned over 50% of our enrollment to the schools; students returning to the schools have been successful as a result of enrollment in our program. We're a proven, successful program; all that we ask is the chance to help students become happy, productive adults; give us a fair charter; instead of attacking us. Visit our schools more than once a year; stop saying on ething and doing another; let your words speak as loud as your actions.

Greatly disturbed ver the last several months; if we don't have a charter by June 30th, and our students will have to go, because we've already failed the 4rJ system; father was active with children, it's very near my haart to find programs that work with kids. Myson has had only one succesful educational program, at Pike; with EBS, he was seperated from other kids, and that didn't work out; these kids are becmoing leaders; they do events, theMy snon attended 4J for four yhears, for behavioural problems and Fs he's now a C student with good behaviour. we've finally found aplace where my son can be successful, and it breaks my heart to know that the district in playing with our charter. We have students that I see every day, and if this school is taken away from them, there will be no place for them to go in our comunity. They're a team, and you cannot let this team die; please, sign this charter, let us get on with our kid's education, so they don't fall through the cracks, get into jail. A lot of our kids are worried; how are they going to get to school, what are they going home to, and our school is the only place they have to go.

y're invited as colorguards; visitors ask to come back repeatedly; they're very proud of thesmelves (self-confident). Every year we attend FDS, lear.. this has permitted me to see all of the stuednets, see how the kids get together, teams and team leaders, to work together and not disrespect each other; if one kid doesn't make it in a team, none of them wake up.

Any secondary or senior student; the secondary student doesn't have to be of a certain age;

Catherine Lay -- the students don't have to talk to the recruiters, even though.. contact soon regarding

I've talked to a lot of parents about privacy; I believe that parents knew what I'd learned, they wouldn't want their child's information i their hands.

In 20000, the military spent over 11,000 dollars per recruit; recruiters work on a commission (factual invaalidation?); I've heard that they told lies, so I did my own investigation; my son has a lot of friends, so I started inquiring them about this. One of my sons joined the Natural Guard, and was promised no combat; he's in iraq. another student had computer skills; shortly after basic, he's been shipped to afghanistan. I've had LOTS of kids come up to me, I haven't had one kid come up and tell me that they weren't lied to; I believe that if a kid is interested in the military, they can go; they're easy to find. Many who weren't tinking about joining are dazzled by images, lured by false promises, and many haven't thought about their future plans; offers of money, glossies, adn they go for it. They don't know that the average federal grant is 20% more than the GI bill, and thatless than 5% of enlistees get the $50k they were promised to education. I believe that this district, or any district, should protect the privacy of thefamilies, and not share the express permission. Something suggests that this issue

And pbulic comment is stopped; this issue obviously isn't going to go away with one board meeting. Email works great.

Comments

I was looking for just the notes you haven't finished so I could post a link on the Teachers Against War forum and maybe to the list as well.

Let me know when you're done?

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