Monday, April 12, 2021

How History will be taught

South Carolina State Rep. Linda (Lin) Bennett (R-Charleston) has filed House Bill 3002, which would proscribe how history is taught in South Carolina schools. The Bill is now in the House Committee on Education and Public Works.

The South Carolina House is closing in on cross-over day - the last day a bill can cross over to the Senate for consideration and approval. If I were to guess, I'd say H.3002 will die a quiet death this year, but it might come back to life later in the year or next year.

Today a reader called my attention to that bill because of my interest in The 1619 Project - or rather my interest in seeing that The 1619 Project does not become the primary teaching tool in Richland 2.

Sunday's The State newspaper carried an article by Zak Koeske with the headline 

"SC bill hopes to restore ‘patriotic’ history education. But who decides America’s story?"

I recently filed a FOIA request with the Richland 2 School District to unearth records of any teaching of The 1619 Project in local school. The response was there was no documentation of such.

If your students are coming home with questions and concerns about The 1619 Project, please let me know. 

Face Masks and other housekeeping

The following email has been sent today to Richland 2 Board Chair James Manning and all board members. Watch the board meetings to learn whether any action is taken by him or the board. Manning routinely does not acknowledge emails from me or reply to them, so I don't anticipate a reply from him.

Board members should take action, if he doesn't. Will they?

Good morning, Mr. Manning,

Are you going to require Teresa Holmes to wear a face mask at board meetings?

Her face shield is inadequate, and she disrespects other board members by refusing to wear a face mask. You may have noticed that she removes the shield to speak during meetings. 

Did Holmes submit a written request for her "accommodation"? And, if so, did the board act on it? The superintendent does not have the authority to approve such a request from a board member.

The board should require Trustee Scott to attend in person, rather than extending her request for telephonic attendance.

Did Trustee Scott request the telephonic accommodation? Any such request should be a one-time meeting request. Many public bodies vote at the beginning of a meeting to allow an absent member to attend telephonically. Board Policy BEDM allows for this "only in exceptional circumstances, e.g., special medical and/or travel situations, military service or job constraints." BEDM is not designed for a blanket approval. 

I suggest that trustees be addressed as Trustee ___, and not as Dr. ____. The three EdDs are old and are not used academically. All board members are equal and should be equally addressed. Also, "Dr." Helen Grant's degree is a J.D. and, as an staff employee, she should be addressed as Mrs. Grant. In 70 years I have never heard an attorney addressed as Dr.

I suggest that Supt. Davis and you switch desks. You, as Chair, should have the corner seat, where you can see all trustees and they can see you. 

Lastly, email addresses should be created for Trustee Scott and for Teresa Holmes, after she becomes a legal board member. A District email address is the only way to guarantee preservation of emails for future FOIA requests and other records retention. One of these days Scott and Holmes will no longer be on the board, and then the District will likely lose all their official emails when they delete their personal email accounts.