RMR-ASD & State Board Updates 3-13-10

In this update:

Red Meat Radio podcast
What’s happening in Alpine School District
Full audio of the public minutes from Tuesday’s board meeting
State office update

Red Meat Radio podcast

I was on Red Meat Radio this morning and spoke about the Alpine School District meeting this week and the official response I received from the State Board concerning the petition on this site. Click the link at the top to listen to it. (one of the two is the radio show and the other is the school board meeting.) RMR Audio (right-click to save)

What’s happening in Alpine School District

In brief, if you missed the press news from the Daily Herald and their posting of ASD’s official response to the link flap that’s going on, check it out here (Concerned Parents Decry Socialism at Alpine District Meeting)

Here are a few clips from their official statement:

We appreciate the opportunity to correct a serious misunderstanding about Alpine School District that has occurred because of a link that was accidentally and briefly on our Web site. The link was inappropriate and does not reflect the beliefs or values of the district, administration or school board. The superintendent had it removed as soon as he became aware of it. We appreciate those who brought it to our attention.

We not only recognize that our government is a republic, but we value and participate in this form of government with an elected board of education. The use of the word democracy underscores the type of republic found in the United States.

Huh? We have a democracy as our type of republic???

The phrase, ‘Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy,’ is the formal language for principle number two above. It is displayed in the Professional Development Center, with America’s patriotic documents contained in the Freedom Shrine, and is to recognize and celebrate the rights, responsibilities and sacrifices required for liberty in our country.

A social democracy celebrates the sacrifices required for liberty in our country?

We recognize that this phrase is not user friendly and since the word meanings have changed over time we need to revisit this.

Hallelujah! How about taking it down now and then reworking a new motto and slogan that have something to do with academic excellence?

You all saw the media and articles for this event showing hundreds of people in attendance and yet stunningly, the day after this board meeting, several teachers sent me the school district’s email to all the teachers and employees of what happened at the meeting and it contained this description of the public minutes section of the meeting.

The regular Board Meeting began by Board President Debbie Taylor reading a message from the Board. There have been some e-mails circulating as well as media coverage that includes some mis-representation about the values and goals of the district. Employees received an electronic copy of the message on 3/10/10.

Unbelievable. The board continues to deceive the district employees as if everything was fine, nothing to see here, we’re just being misrepresented by someone’s personal experience on our website. Amazing.

Full audio of the public minutes from Tuesday’s board meeting

The full audio is 51 minutes long. You may download or listen to it here.

Audio File (right-click to download and select save file as…)

Speakers and start times in the recording:

Susie Schnell: 0 minutes
Stephen Pratt: 9:21
Mary Mostert: 23:13
Kristie Finley: 26:45
Judy Cox: 33:50
Random parent asks board members to shut their computers so they will be able to pay attention: 37:57
Board President Debbie Taylor says, “I think for the most part we are listening”: 38:34
University professor in the crowd tries to inject true democracy to the meeting by shouting out from the back of the room to 38:48
Charity Davis 39:40
Debbie Johnson 43:40 (comments on nurturing)
Jennifer Zapata 47:47

State Board News

This week the State Office of Education sent me an official response to the delivery of the petition. It is encouraging and I am hopeful of positive changes. Here is a link to the document they sent me.

USOE response to petition (PDF)

The short of it is they express the work they did on the K-2 standards, and the public comments sent in, and they have decided to open up the 8th and 11th grade U.S. History classes to a revision and they will pay special attention to the inclusion of the concept of “republic” in the materials.

They are also going to develop some Constitution Day programs.

This is great news and I thank and applaud the State Office for this letter and consideration of our petition.

Here is the letter and new requests I sent to the State Superintendent and USOE members.

Superintendent Shumway, Lynne, and Brenda,

Thank you so very much for your letter in response to the petition I delivered to you. I have posted the letter on my website at UtahsRepublic.org and have let the petition signers know of your consideration in this matter. We truly appreciate your review of the 8th and 11th grade U.S. History standards and your particular attention to the concept of our nation being a republic.

I would like to ask a couple follow-up questions and get your response.

1) Since you are selecting individuals to review these standards and write Constitution Day programs, may we select a few individuals who have education backgrounds to be on the committees?

2) The second point of the petition asks that we use “The Making of America” or “The 5,000 Year Leap” as a textbook in classes. What response can you give to this point? I know it is up to districts to choose to use certain books in their classes, but they generally pull their choices from an approved list, correct? Can USOE review these books and get them put on an approved list? In particular the first book since it is an actual textbook designed for a study of the constitution in the original language, intent, and debate of our Founding Fathers.

Most Sincerely,

Oak Norton & nearly 700 new friends

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