I'm going to explode, I swear I am. This is, it's just, I can't, BAH! Read it for yourself, and remember - this is happening in MY town. I even posted pictures from the headlines and links to these stories because I fear it's so fucking insane no one would believe it was the genuine article.
Board votes to spend $148,998 on booksOkay. So there's that. But then we get TODAY'S headline, the one that makes me want to commit ritual seppuku:
Book shortage 'blown way out of proportion'
BY HARRY FRANKLIN
Muscogee County School Board members expressed disgust Monday that some students didn't have textbooks to take home this year, voting unanimously to buy $35,596 worth of middle school books and $113,402 for high school books. The books are math, science and social studies books.
The school district is buying 2,593 books to help make up for the shortfall.
The textbook shortage has "been blown way out of proportion," said Superintendent John Phillips.
"A small number of students didn't get all their books," said board member Brenda Storey. "Roughly 30,000 had the books they needed."
The school district has about 33,000 students.
"It doesn't matter if 99.99 percent had their books," said board member Naomi Buckner. "It was a problem for the other .01 percent."
"It's unacceptable," said board member Pat Hugley Green. "What are we doing to not be on this road again?"
"I want every student in the system to have a book and the book they need," Storey said. "How many students are affected by not having every book they need?"
Clearing up confusion
District officials were asked whether they expect every student to have a book to take home and how many schools and classrooms are instead using class sets of books.
Keith Seifert, the district's secondary education director, said he believes the district can name the schools and classes using class sets and the subjects they are in. But he didn't have the information available Monday night.
Board member Fife Whiteside asked for that information. He also asked why his son's world history class is not included in the schools to receive the new books.
Phillips said the district planned to spend $3 million on new textbooks for this school year and purposely didn't order some books due to the cost. But he said some schools used money they were allotted for books, supplies and equipment to buy textbooks. Schools that collected fees for damaged or lost books were expected to use that money to replace books, but Phillips said some used it for other purposes. He said that will no longer happen.
Phillips said the district has to rely on individual schools to help keep up with the available textbooks. If they don't scan the book bar codes into the computer system, he said the central office won't know. He said some schools have to do a better job of keeping up with the books so this problem doesn't crop up again.
Electives on BibleSo we're what, next to last still in the state for education, we finally have a budget surplus for the year and THIS is the kind of bullshit going on? I'm thinking I need to get involved here with out local school board. Scroll to the bottom of the article and weigh in with your own commentary by posting a comment here.
Board will make final decision after curriculum is developed
BY HARRY FRANKLIN
The Muscogee County School Board voted 7-2 Monday night to allow elective courses in the Bible in Columbus high schools next year.
But it happened only after significant discussion and was opposed by board members Joseph Roberson and Pat Hugley Green.
Superintendent John Phillips said this is only the first step in a two-step process. The board will make a final decision on whether to offer the courses in the history and literature of the Old Testament era and of the New Testament era after the curriculum is developed by the Georgia Department of Education next spring.
"If you don't approve the curriculum, it won't be offered," Phillips said.
Roberson first asked to offer a substitute motion to defer action until the Georgia Board of Education has approved the curriculum and qualifications for teachers. His motion failed by a 2-7 vote, with Roberson and Green the sole supporters.
Roberson also recommended that a citizen committee be formed, made up of local clergy and other citizens, to review the curriculum. He agreed to put off discussion of that until the next board work session.
Two members of the local clergy who expressed their thoughts about the proposal in a Sunday Ledger-Enquirer article responded Monday night to the board's action.
Rabbi Tom Friedmann of Temple Israel said, "I'm not surprised. That is the general mood of this community. However, I hope that the citizen committee does form and that it be representative of all religious groups, and I would be personally very interested in serving in that capacity. I applaud Pastor Roberson's effort."
No curriculum yet
The Rev. Hal Brady of St. Luke United Methodist Church said: "I appreciate the seriousness with which our superintendent and school board have dealt with the pros and cons of this issue. Though I am sure there will be further discussions down the road, my prayer is always that God will guide our school leaders and make their decisions a blessing for all the children under their care and responsibility."
Green said she didn't see the urgency in voting on this issue, since the state board hasn't appointed its committee to begin developing the curriculum for the two courses.
"We chose to step back with the pedophile law because we didn't want to walk into a mine field of lawsuits," she said. Instead, she said the board should focus on offering courses that will help improve student test scores and improve the academics of the children.
"If it's history, do African-American history or Native American history," she said.
"I'm not objecting to it being taught," said Roberson, questioning how part of the state law authorizing the courses is written. "... I don't want us to be premature in this... . We couldn't allow persons to teach it who are atheists, humanists."
"I think you're right," Phillips said. "It is not well written and may have to be defended in court or go back to the Legislature."
Board member Naomi Buckner said she sends her child to church school on Sunday and secular school on Monday. In church school, she said she wants the Bible taught by a person "who believes in the Bible" and that she wants it taught as a holy book.
"As a board member," Buckner said, "I want to wait until we review the curriculum in February. Then we can adopt it if we think it is appropriate."
"Is this board going to be open and receptive to other books of faith as they come along?" Green asked.
Board Vice Chairman James Walker said he thinks "the board would be receptive" to such courses when they come from the state board.
"It's an elective," he said. "Children who don't want to take it don't have to take it."
Board member Philip Schley expressed concern about offering the course to children in the ninth and 10th grades.
"I would not be happy to teach it before a child is in the 11th and 12th grades," he said. "By that time, most kids have discernment. I can vote for it with careful oversight and to the older students."
Board member Fife Whiteside said he likes the idea of a citizen's committee, but asked that a recommendation be made on how to set it up.
"Maybe when the curriculum is developed, we can share that with a citizen advisory committee," Phillips said.