Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Board did it - sat for 20 min. of reading

At Tuesday night's board meeting, November 16, 2021, the board sat in their seats for 20 minutes and listened to Helen Grant read her 28 PowerPoint slides to them. What a waste of time. The board should have read and studied those slides before the meeting. Did they?

Her presentation starts at 2:08:55 on the YouTube (altered) copy of the videorecording of the meeting.  Questions from the board begin at 2:28:19.

Caution-Parker made a point of expressing her sorrow that many in the audience left early and missed Helen Grant's presentation. Perhaps someone could explain to her that no one needed to sit through all the meeting filler and wait for the presentation, especially if they had read it before the meeting.

In my remarks to the board earlier in the meeting, I suggested that they just launch into Q&A and not just sit there and be read to. But that would have been a business way of doing things. That's not this board. Plus Caution-Parker was one of two trustees who couldn't be bothered with giving me their attention. Maybe she was busy writing her memoirs or planning her next vacation. Caution-Parker does not acknowledge that many "of us who left" had read the presentation (and wouldn't have learned anything new) or might be watching later on the videorecording.

Trustee Agostini asked what the most-common misconception was between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Teaching. Mrs. Grant: "I wish I could tell you." She said the two are not the same. Duhhh..... If they were the same, there wouldn't be any differences! 

Mrs. Grant ought to know the answer to that question, and it should have just rolled off her tongue. She said she could not explain the difference. Why not??? Did she not anticipate the question? I'm glad I didn't waste time sitting around for that answer!

Mrs. Grant explained about "lived experiences"; ex., crocheting, swimming. Now you tell me... if a teacher of 30 students is supposed to learn about each one's "culture", when is that teacher ever going to have time to teach the subject matter of the class? Then she talked about the possible "unconscious" beliefs of a teacher. If it is an unconscious belief, how is the teacher even going to know she has it?

Mrs. Agostini asked about "equity". Mrs. Grant answered that the district provides everything that a student needs. Wow! No wonder that teachers are stressed out, over-worked and quitting.

Mrs. Agostini then asked about "privilege". (2:35:00)  Mrs. Grant: "Students have varying levels of privilege." A pretty good argument or debate could be carried on about whether she really talking about "privilege" or something else. She assigns the word "privilege" to experiences. No wonder this world is a mess.

Mrs. Grant mentioned "educational privilege". (2:35:35) Hogwash! She worked for it. She earned it. 

Mrs. Agostini asked Supt. Davis (2:40:03) if the book STAMPED had been used in the SOAR program last summer. At that point the superintendent got the bit in his teeth and headed on around the race track. Why is he allowed to just take over like that??? WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL HIM TO STOP TALKING??? It's obvious that the chair was not going to put a muzzle on him, but someone needed to.

As the superintendent rambled, he asked, "What inspired Nat Turner?" Do you know who Nat Turner was? A runaway slave who murdered whites in a nearby state. What conversation was held about that? I remember a black middle school student who, here in Columbia in 2015, told me Nat Turner was a hero. Oh, really?

McKie's comments. She should have taken a pass.

Manning made some really dumb statements about "privilege". Apparently, "privilege" is a new class word. I don't buy it.

Caution-Parker took a second whack at talking and contributed nothing further to the evening.

Holmes did not call on Trustee Scott. Was she still there? If not, when did she leave the meeting? Why was her exit not announced and recorded?

Then Holmes took over and that's when I shut down the video.

Open Letter to the Board and media

The following email has been sent to the five legal board members, the two trustees-elect and to media contacts.

Good morning, Board Members and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

You should be aware that Richland 2 has not yet published the recording of Tuesday night's board meeting on the District's website or on

An altered version of the recording has been published on YouTube, where it will not be found by most people. 

The District is obviously in high cover-up mode. The removal of the parent's remarks from the official recording is, I believe, an illegal alteration of the public record. You, as board members, must insist on transparency and compassion, and you should not allow yourselves to be swept up in stone-walling. I understand the need to avoid any pre-mature legal admissions.

You must demand why the full board was not quickly apprised of that complaint. Were some, but not all, of the board members informed before the meeting? Was the chair informed before the meeting?

Trying to set off the responsibility for withholding the parent's remarks on the "Director of Safety & Security" is a dumb and irresponsible decision. 

Please have the full recording immediately published on the District's website, on and on YouTube.


Gus Philpott