I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Are These Issues the Next Big Civil Rights Issues in our Schools?

There are tons of issues swirling around right now in Education nationally and locally;  To me,  these three are the big ones that I’m going to focus on in my next two years on the school board, as I feel we can and must improve with respect to these areas:
1.    Providing greater access by ALL students to equal course offerings; ensuring equality of instructional ability and instructional materials between A/P and Honors classes and “regular classes” and not lowering the bar and expectations of kids based on arbitrary score "cut-offs" that do not take a students unique circumstances into account.
2.  Providing access to a streamlined process for identifying and providing services to students with disabilities without stymieing parents; Putting families through bureaucratic processes which are at odds with Federal law—in the hopes these students and parents will be worn down-and then assigning blame to “the school site” or the “case worker” or “the student’s family.”  This is unacceptable.   The buck must stop with us.  And,  once services are offered, a better system of ensuring plans and the LAW are followed must be put into place. If this means additional audits, internally or via a third party, then I'll support and advocate for this-we must get this right.
3.   Ensuring kids are not trapped in failing schools by allowing unions, bureaucrats, and others   in the Government Education Complex to roadblock charter schools, school choice, and inter-district transfers that  enable ALL students to attend great schools if these students and their families request this.  Trapping kids in chronically failing schools is shameful, no matter the excuses.


Alice Sohn said...

Careful, Jeff. Readers may begin to think you're one of those left-leaning, commie, pinko liberals!!!

Alice Sohn said...

Hope you know I was kidding. Jeff, you have impressed me very much. Thanks so much for your obvious concern about our schools and for the hard work and effort you devote to keeping "stakeholders" informed. As you know, I don't always agree with your comments ;-))), but this blog is the best place to learn what's behind policy decisions that shape our children's education and to have an open conversation on those policies.
Thanks again, Alice

Jeff Bergosh said...


I know what you meant by that comment and I got a chuckle out of it. Most that have paid attention to the issues I spotlight will quickly realize I don't follow any one path and I certainly don't march lockstep with anyone--so today the issue might be protecting students/parents rights against police questioning at school without a parent present, what some might view as a progressive cause; Tomorrow it could be spotlighting the unions and their practices that put adults before kids--which could be construed as a conservative policy issue. Bottom line, I can't be lumped into any one category and I won't be put into a box.

Alice Sohn said...

Jeff, From what I've read and come to know about you, you don't "follow any one path." I am so afraid today that too many of us don't just follow one path; we defend it at all costs. This country, at all levels of government, is more divisive than ever before. The issues facing us today are incredibly complex and yet we continue to accept simplistic answers. Labels--liberal, conservative--seem to have replaced civilized dialogue. The schools in this county are among the worst in the nation, and we continue to play the blame game. We say that what we care about most is the children. If that were really true, we would leave behind our preconceptions and engage in some honest dialogue, rather than continue to cling to the absolutes that are getting us nowhere fast. I'm reminded of Tennyson's "Believe me, there is more faith in honest doubt / Than in half the creeds on earth."