The Daily Pilot recently ran a story on the possibility that the district will be starting a program to have “more students bring in their own personal technology, such as iPads and Chromebooks, to enhance their classroom experience.” You can read the full story here:

http://www.dailypilot.com/news/tn-dpt-me-0528-nmusd-board-byod-20150527,0,137907.story

The idea of kids bring their own computers to school is an entirely separate blog entry, which I may take up shortly.

At this time, taxpayers should be more concerned about this paragraph in the story:

“Moving forward, the educational technology department plans to assess which teachers are interested in participating in BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] and survey parents to measure their interest as well.”

This paragraph could have been written about many other proposals facing the district. In an ongoing effort to support the illusion that the school board and the district administration care about what you think, there will be yet another survey. You should know the drill by now: Attend a meeting or complete an online survey, then sit back and wait while the district ignores you.

This is what happened at Adams Elementary School, where the community turned out in good numbers to protest the construction of a fence that would encircle the campus. But, the district is going ahead with it anyway. The reason? According to “Senior Something or Other” Susan Astarita, “We changed our minds.”

And think about it: When was the last time that you saw the results of any of these surveys in hard numbers?

Notice, too, that you are being surveyed only on all of the soft issues: fencing, iPaDS, selecting new principals, etc., but you are not being surveyed on the major issues. Would you have voted to add two more managerial positions when the district is operating in the red? Of course not. Would you have voted to fire 10-year HR head John Caldecott after he raised allegations of financial improprieties without hearing his side of the story? Of course not. The folks on Bear St. know you would not have approved of either of these and since they wanted to do it their way both times, they didn’t bother to ask you.

With the exception of one 6-1 vote last month, the board has unanimously approved everything presented to them by the staff since Katrina Foley left, even though they have little or no detailed knowledge of what they’re voting on. Taxpayers don’t need the overhead of a school board if all they’re going to do is rubber stamp everything.

So why do we need  the overhead of a school board? Well, the state says we have to have one, and it also says we have to have a superintendent, even one who has failed to exhibit the leadership qualities taxpayers deserve.

Too bad for you, because the alternative is intriguing.

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