Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Texting & side conversations during meetings

School Board meetings are public meetings by public bodies.

Anything said at a public meeting by an official should be audible throughout the room.

There is a Board Policy about texting and emailing during meetings. The policy is, Don't. Do. It.

Who will remind board members to put down their phones?

Should the School Board have a parliamentarian or a sergeant-at-arms? Someone to remind them to speak into the microphone and pull the microphone close to them, instead of sitting back 18-24 inches from it or turning away from it while speaking?

Last night's praise for giving good microphone goes to Teresa Holmes and Baron Davis. Thank you.

The booby prizes go to Amelia McKie, Cheryl Caution-Parker and James Shadd. Assuming that what you have to say is important, then say it loudly enough that all can hear you. Please!

Richland Library - irresponsible decision

Richland Library patrons are receiving an email that announces the end to fines.

This is a terrible decision and is going to bite them hard on the bottom line.

OK, so now, when I check out a book, I don't have to return it. I'll just keep it as long as I want. How nice that the Library will remind me that my book is due. I'll just tell them I haven't finished it yet.

And this sentence in the Library's email? "If you lose or damage an item, we’ll simply add a replacement fee to your account so that we can replace the item."

How will it know whether I have lost or damaged it? At what point will they add a replacement fee? The books now have no due dates!!!

I just checked out Operation Lost Trust, by John Crangle. It was published in 2016, and my copy (autographed) looks brand-new and never opened. It's the story of corruption in S.C. government. Only 600 pages?

What does it sell for? $25.00? $50.00? It's not listed on Author Crangle was quoted in the media as saying that wholesale price was less than $25.00; thus, legislators wouldn't have to report his gift on their Ethics Commission filings.

Why should I ever return this book? (If you know me (or even if you don't), I will read it, and I shall return it.)

When I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, its library had a similar policy. Teachers would check out 50-100 books for use in classrooms, and the books were never returned.

You can forget reserving a popular, newly-released book. The first person will check it out and never return it. Then the Library will buy another copy. And another. And another.

Tutoring Policy

The School Board once again nitpicked its way through Policy revisions last night. But they, for a change, did it pretty quickly by voting en masse to approve a large number of the proposed revisions - without showing them to the public.

One target of discussion was Board Policy GCRD - Tutoring for Pay.

I swear, you'd think that Richland 2 is in competition with the Federal Government, when it comes to writing policies. Read Policy GCRD and the proposed revisions here.

What is Richland 2 worried about?

That a teacher might tutor a student on school property. OMG. It's taxpayer-supported property. Can't have that!!! Then the District would have to let private tutoring services onto school property. Well, okay; why not? Just charge a small fee for the use of two chairs and a table for an hour. Let's say, $1.00. Charge the teacher, too.

A staff comment was made that allowing paid tutoring by a teacher on school property would be a violation of State Ethics policy. Well, I'll bet there is a legal way around that.

The prohibition should be on undisclosed tutoring-for-pay. The solution? Just disclose it. The worry seemed to be that a teacher would be tutoring "for personal gain".

How many teachers tutor just for the big bucks they earn after working all day? Half a dozen? Two? One? None?

What about the "personal gain" of the student?

Note the policy reads that "This practice must be limited to children students other than those for whom the teacher is currently exercising teaching, administrative or supervisory responsibility."

That's a pretty dumb restriction. Who would have the best knowledge of that student and his/her needs? The classroom teacher! I don't think any teacher is going to short a kid in the classroom just to drum up a few bucks after school.

Who will best understand the learning style or obstacles to learning of the student in need of tutoring? The classroom teacher, of course!

Maybe, instead of wasting time on re-writing so many policies, somebody ought to just take a big pair of scissors and cut up most of the policies.

12 Years of Perfect Attendance

The best part of last night's school board meeting was the recognition of 12 years of perfect attendance by Chasity Thomas, 2019 graduate of Ridge View High School.

Can you imagine the commitment it takes to attend every single day of school? That was 2,160 days over the 12 years.

Chasity's certificate of perfect attendance was accepted for her by her younger brother, Chase.