While I am not a parent, I am one who values public education and recognizes its critical importance in facilitating the lifelong success of individuals. As a resident of Springboro, OH, I have been very disappointed in the actions of the Springboro Board of Education (BOE). Particular members of the BOE have voted for and/or promoted policies that are grossly detrimental to the community. These include, but are not limited to, wasteful spending, unfair labor practices, and unconstitutional instruction. Along with many other community members, I have shared my concerns at the BOE meetings. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority community voice falls on deaf ears. Additionally, blatantly erroneous information has been provided by members of the BOE in their attempts to further their own political agenda. On this blog, I share audio files of my own comments at BOE meetings. Furthermore, I provide accurate information regarding some of the key issues of discussion. I would like to thank my good friend and fellow Springboro resident, Tracey Kramer, for bringing the Springboro BOE's actions to my attention!

*Note: While I refer to the BOE as one entity, please recognize that not every member engages in such tactics.

Contact: patelnhpblog@gmail.com

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lowering the Levy: The Financial Fallout

The BOE continues undermining students’ success under the guise of fiscal responsibility. The BOE has yet to learn that fiscal responsibility does NOT equate to a lack of spending. Instead, spending with purpose, spending wisely, and spending for the most effective outcomes reflect fiscal responsibility. Sadly, the BOE’s financial decisions neglect to represent this knowledge.

Springboro currently is working under a 5-year levy for $9.2 million. This levy is set to expire. Rather than seeking to renew the full amount of the existing levy, the BOE has decided to only seek a $7.9 million levy for another 5 years. The Springboro BOE likes to tout its lack of spending as responsible practice. This is far from responsible. Even if the renewal levy passes, the district will have to cut spending that is critical for student success. And if the levy does not pass, the district is in even more trouble. And so while the students will not receive all of the resources and opportunities that should be available to them, rest assured that the BOE will meet its goal of getting the First Place Blue Ribbon Prize for supporting the Lowest Per Pupil Spending in county! Too bad the students in the community will be on the wrong end of that. Below is a comparison chart of school district spending in Warren County. The data are based on 2011-2012 state report cards.

And, since the BOE has not officially negated the notion of including creationism into the public school curriculum, we can expect to be sued, yet again, if they move forward on this.

School District
Building Operation
Staff Support
Pupil Support
Little Miami

Friday, July 19, 2013

Minimizing Multiculturalism and Urging the Uniculture! This is what the BOE president supports!

The current president of the Springboro BOE is Kelly Kohls. She is also the president of the Warren County Tea Party (WCTP). If you want to know what the WCTP stands for, take a look at a video titled “Thomas Paine’s Common Sense” by Bob Basso. Below are a few quotes from the 6-minute video. To see the full video, go to http://www.lebanonteaparty.org/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Thanks to J. Lewis for sending me this information!

“…read your world history, not one nation has survived as a multi-culture. It’s the uni-culture that is its strength…Is it common sense to adopt your new national religion of diversity, when the very word means disunity…you have to import people…because you haven’t got enough smart people in America

While I believe in individuals' rights to their respective political beliefs, I am concerned that the school board president of a diverse community promotes such ethnocentric and intolerant beliefs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Blog and a 'Break-In' (of sorts)

Someone has been messing with my blog; a url has been added to the top of this blog related to 'Christian persecution' (based on what I could tell). Please note, it has not been posted by me and I am in the process of trying to remove it. By the way, anyone who perceives that I am attempting to persecute people with religious faith does not know me, does not understand the contents of this blog, is completely oblivious to the foundations of the United States, and should not be involved in the processes related to public education. Just my thoughts:)

Public Schools: Separation of Church and State!

Earlier this summer, the BOE invited the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC) to Springboro. The purpose was to provide the community an opportunity to experience the series of classes the BOE hoped to implement as part of the high school curriculum.

The Common Misconception: Much as been made that the IOTC has a right, like any other group, to provide information to a community. With that, I do not disagree. It has been noted that the IOTC should be allowed to 'rent' public spaces as in accordance with the policies of the district. With that, I do not inherently disagree.

What much of the community finds contemptible is the BOE's efforts to bring the teachings of the IOTC into Springboro classrooms. The IOTC is a religiously-based organization that argues for the Biblical foundation of the US. The IOTC denies the separation of Church and State. This is what outrages many members of the community. Subsequent to the community response, the BOE support IOTC summer class was cancelled. However, 12-week classes are still being offered at a local church.

Link: http://www.theamericanview.com/the-us-constitution/

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Consummate Unprofessional: I Expect More from the BOE President

I, personally, completely respect any parent's concern about a text that his/her child must read in school. In my view, when a parent has a concern he/she should contact the teacher, set up a meeting, and engage in a meaningful discussion about the contents and purpose of the text. This just seems to be common sense to me; this is the most obvious of actions to take.

Unfortunately, the current Springboro BOE president does not have the same views as I, and I suspect, all of the readers of this blog. The president, as noted in a prior posting, was upset at the required reading for her daughter's AP History course. The reasons are unimportant here. Instead of acting appropriately as a parent, she chose to throw the AP teacher under the proverbial bus at the end of the BOE meeting last night. She abused her position as the president of the BOE in order to question curriculum rather than having a professional conversation with the teacher, like all parents would and should do. She questioned the reading, the teacher, and the purpose of the text, without ever speaking with the teacher about it. Consequently, as anyone would expect, she displayed her ignorance regarding the rationale for the text.

An Added Agenda Item: The Liberty Institute

At the beginning of the Springboro BOE meeting on 7-11-13, board member J. Rigano requested that the "Liberty Institute" be added to the meeting agenda. A discussion ensued among the board about what this new agenda item should be numbered. Unfortunately, not much was heard after that. In spite of this, the "Liberty Institute" was not addressed at the meeting in any way. I imagine that the Liberty Institute will eventually be discussed at a board meeting, so I've listed some preliminary information about the institute and here is the web link http://www.libertyinstitute.org/. More information will be forthcoming.
  • President: Kelly Shackelford
  • "Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization dedicated solely to defending and restoring religious liberty in America."
  •  Mission & Vision: "Liberty Institute’s mission is to defend and restore religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Our vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our Founding Fathers."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dare I Expect to be Heard?

As a community member, I should expect the members of my local Board of Education to listen to the concerns I share with them at scheduled meetings. I am not, however, so naive to believe that the Springboro BOE members respect the community enough to actually attend to their concerns. Follow the youtube link below and hear our BOE president's perspective on the concerns of the community. Around the 10:30 mark of the video clip, the BOE president makes it clear that what the community has to say is irrelevant to her. She explains how she essentially placates those who disagree with her by letting them speak, then stating "...I thank them for their opinion, and go have a seat....line them up, thank you, have a seat, next speaker..." It's as if listening to community speakers is analogous to herding cattle! I have a feeling she would treat her cattle with more respect than she does the community.


A Flabbergasted Resident: What is Next!

Hi all! Here are the highlights of today's meeting. I have also posted the audio of my speech below.

Date: 7-11-13
Location: Springboro High School LGI
  • A community member who supports the board chose to make completely racist comments, waved the confederate flag as a sign of "heritage", and of course, provided completely erroneous information on various social groups. Also, according to this speaker, African Americans should consider themselves lucky since they are treated better in the United States than they would be if they were in "Black Countries" with "genocide". A picture is posted below. Note, that he was not asked to leave the meeting and was actually given much more time to speak than he should have had.
  • A parent  wanted to speak (non-prearranged) about an issue that was not directly related to an agenda item. As she tried to continue with her comments, she was asked to leave the meeting immediately or she would be escorted out by a Springboro police officer. She left on her own.
  • The board president chose to address her daughter's reactions to the AP History summer reading requirements. She was very disappointed that the book did not support her religious ideals --- hmmm, does she know that she is sending her daughter to a public school? She then expressed her concern that the book was anti-military and that she would not require her daughter to read material antithetical to her family's political beliefs. She also asked parents to be aware of this so that the board could make modifications to the teacher's assigned readings if necessary. So I ask, does the board president understand how one develops the critical thinking skills that she so often brings up at the meetings? By the way, the AP History teacher is retired from the Air Force!
  • So what's next on the president's agenda? Well, she mentioned how she and other parents need to closely examine the class readings AND the books available to students in the school libraries. I'm waiting for her to share her list of books that should be banned from the libraries and burned as she recites her religious doctrine!
  • A parent in the audience then noted his concern that the board president and other board members were trying to impose their very skewed and inaccurate interpretation of the constitution on the students of Springboro. So, you guessed it, he was asked to leave the meeting immediately on his own or the president would ask the police officer to escort him out. He left on his own.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Common Core Content Standards: The Real Facts

Content Standards: An Overview
The utilization of content standards is nothing new. Content standards, a list of the skills and knowledge to be taught, exist for all subject areas, including but limited to, mathematics, English, science, physical education, art, etc… The Ohio Academic Content Standards (OACS) includes a set of standards for many, but not all, of the subject areas. Recently, Ohio voluntarily decided to adopt the Common Core, which only provides content standards for mathematics and English/language arts. Standards are still required for all of the other subject areas, and are determined by the states. Ohio will still be using the OACS for some subject areas. Additionally, Ohio is in the process of developing new standardized achievement assessments that will now be aligned with the Common Core for mathematics and English/language arts. Consequently, it is imperative for teachers to be trained on the Common Core as soon as possible.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Community Divided: Four Key Issues of Community Concern

This is a re-recording of my May 23, 2013 speech at the Springboro BOE meeting. In this speech, I focus on the following 4 key issues about which I have been concerned: 1) Out of control spending and teacher contract negotiations; 2) The Common Core; 3) Unconstitutional teaching of the Constitution; and 4) Arming teachers with guns.

Controversial Issues: An Unconstitutional and Illogical Path

Here's a re-recording of my speech addressing the Controversial Issues Policy at the June 4, 2013 Springboro BOE meeting. The speech is the same one I gave at the meeting, but this isn't the original recording. The speech focuses on the many inherent concerns I have about the proposed revisions to the policy.

Charter School Investigation: A Detriment to the Community

The first Springboro BOE meeting I attended was in January 2013. The comments made by some board members disappointed and angered me. Consequently, I began speaking at the meetings, typically as a prearranged speaker. Here's a re-recording of my first Springboro BOE speech. It is my response to the earlier meeting in January during which the BOE promoted the unnecessary spending of funds for a charter school feasibility investigation.