Charles Parker: School Issues Should Be Left To Local Control
By Charles Parker // January 20, 2015
students should be assessed on a body of work
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Over the past week or so, members of the Brevard County School Board have been holding forums around the county promoting their “Legislative Outreach Plan” to citizens.
This plan has been submitted to our state legislative delegation – which includes the current Speaker of the House and current President of the Senate.
I attended one at Merritt Island High School, which was hosted by District 2 board member John Craig. About 75 people were in attendance – most of them school board employees.
I was impressed with Craig’s handle on the issues – even ones that didn’t pertain to the topic at hand during a free-wheeling Q&A session.
(Since I am a friend of his, I asked some others who were there and all were equally complimentary of Craig’s grasp on all topics discussed.)
ABOVE VIDEO: Brevard Public Schools introduces new School Board Member John Craig of District 2.
And – for full disclosure – I am a school board employee. So, for the purposes of this column, I am commenting on two areas of the board’s legislative plan that are not directly connected to my evaluation and compensation. I think it a tad tawdry to use this soap box to promote personal gain.
First – the plan asks the state legislature to “allow School Boards to determine placement, retention, remediation, and grading decisions for students based on a multi-metric approach to determining proficiency.”
In other words, let those closest to those impacted have the most input in the final policies and make sure that students are not negatively affected by one big final assessment.
Local control of decision-making was a benchmark set by the founders of our land and has all too often been stomped on by bigger government.
If our legislative chambers and Governor’s office are as conservative as they claim they are, this should be a no-brainer.
As well, most understand and agree that students should be assessed on a body of work – not just an end-of-course exam or over-arching assessment. One test on one day should not be the only say in a student’s future.
And – just to be clear – Jeb Bush, his black helicopter brigade and Common Core do not support that either.
Second – BPS is asking lawmakers to “fully fund legislatively mandated educational technology hardware and infrastructure.”
For me, this isn’t about the state forcing schools to test students online without providing computers and bandwidth. It is a bigger issue.
It is about the propensity of government – even government run by conservatives – to foist expensive programs on localities without earmarking funds for it. It has been going on for ages and it is time it stopped.
How about this Mr. Crisafulli and Mr. Gardiner? We keep a percentage of our tax revenues so that we can pay for our own computers and internet access for our students.
In conclusion, if more school-related issues can be left to local control, all students will be better served. It isn’t rocket science.
And even if it is, we’ve got more rocket scientists in Brevard County than they do in Tallahassee.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Parker writes a weekly perspective/opinion column, Out on the Wire…Without a Net, on Space Coast Daily which appears every Tuesday.
He is a longtime resident of Brevard County and has been writing for various publications for the last 40 years – both print and digital. Parker covers space, politics, religion, and other news and special events for Space Coast Daily.
Currently, Parker is an aerospace engineering teacher at Merritt Island High School. He is also the director of both the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology and the Academy of Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism at MIHS. He is a professor of Humanities and World Religions at Eastern Florida State College and Valencia College.
Parker has worked extensively in the tourism and aerospace industries in Brevard. He has also been a United Methodist pastor and director of a non-profit to help young adults aging out of foster care. He was formerly a board member at Brevard Achievement Center and the Childcare Association of Brevard. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Children’s Services Council from 1999-2003.
Parker earned a BA in Organizational Management from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married, has four children and one grandchild.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cpbrevard_scd
AUTHOR NOTE: These views are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Brevard Public Schools, Eastern Florida State College or Valencia College.