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.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Take Aways from the Joint Meeting between BCC and ECSD

The Escambia County Commission and the Escambia County School Board held their first joint-meeting since 2010 on Tuesday.  The meeting was productive and generated some good discussion on multiple subjects of mutual interest.  The meeting was covered by the PNJ and also by WEAR.

My takeaways:

1.  These meetings need to occur more frequently--when I am chairman next year I will suggest we do these joint meetings annually.

2.  Discussions of combating pockets of poverty are more productive when all the stakeholders are aligning their efforts mutually--and numerous good ideas about collaboration were discussed at this meeting directed at addressing this problem.

3.  The library card for all Escambia Students was/is a solid idea

4.  The utilization of ECAT by students to attend choice school programs is solid.

5.  The discussions about providing safe walking routes to school were good, I will work hard to help facilitate this because I know we are a "car-rider" county because in many instances there are not safe/walkable routes to school.

6.  The discussions about HIV/AIDs infections in Escambia County and how to better align our mutual efforts in combating this epidemic were good--not sure what the outcome or change in this arena will be.  Conversations about what the high-risk behaviors are that lead to these infections are difficult and rife with concerns about "political correctness."

7.  Kevin Adams had a very interesting concept about forming a safe-neighborhood task force that I strongly support.

8.  My discussion of a SEED-style boarding school ginned up lots of conversation---mostly positive.  Bill Slayton is opposed and said we need to keep working on Pre-K for 3,000 students per year and not try to do "too many things at once."  Doug Underhill said in no way would he ever support this concept because he stated that "no matter what, the parent child bond should never be broken!--even if the parent is a crackhead"  I disagreed with both Slayton and Underhill.  Slayton obviously feels we can only do one thing at a time and he obviously agrees with many that pre-k is the panacea that will fix everything academically. It is not.  The Vanderbilt Peabody and 2012 HHS Head-start Impact studies show otherwise; when we look at academic achievement sustainment at grades one and two and we measure the study group against the control group-- the Tennessee pre-k students show no greater achievement than do the control group of students who did not attend pre-school....Bill Slayton obviously has not read these studies....  I stated at the meeting that I could not disagree more with Underhill's assessment-that I believe that in some circumstances leaving a child in dysfunctional home environment is DANGEROUS.  Children are routinely separated from bad parents by the courts, when such children are abandoned, abused, and neglected.  It's called the termination of parental rights and it saves kids.  Guess Doug doesn't believe in that either.  I couldn't disagree with him more.

Watch the entire video here

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