Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Requesting Accountability from the Powers that Be--Or Why I Wasn't Writing Last Night After the Girls Hit the Hay

P and I attended our local school board meeting last night. E and Jewel stayed home after we learned that the invitation for the public to address the board isn't made until after its business is conducted.

Don't know if all boards do it this way or just this one. Interesting tactic either way.

The meeting began at 7:37. P finally made his statement on our behal two hours later. He was limited to two minutes. (Talk about the need to edit.)

As the board conducted its meeting, he sat next to me making notes, mouthing his words, timing his statement. Boy did he nail it.

P's comments led with our concern that the school seems to have the habit of asking, "what do we have to do in regards to including special needs students in school events/programs/activities?" instead of asking "what can we do?" He offered specific examples of missed opportunities for inclusion, and lifted up programs/approaches in which we've seen promise and upon which the school could build. Near the end of his statement, he challenged the school to practice the Pillars of Excellence it so readily preaches, not just applying them to the regular ed students, but to its special needs students as well.

"We're not asking you to spend more money," he said near the end. "We're asking you to change a culture. In many respects, such a task will be much more difficult...Expect more of your school, your faculty--yourselves. In the end our district and all our children will be better for it."

We left the meeting feeling exhausted and exhilirated. Not only were we heard (because everyone at the table had to be silent during the statement), we let the Powers that Be know that the letter we sent wasn't just some irrate parent blowing off steam. We're serious about what we said. We offered to be part of the solution. We're in it for the long haul.

Doing anything less would be a disservice to E, and the children coming after her.

Current read: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. So far this book's a thrilling romp. It features 16-year-old werewolf girl Vivian who, grieving her father's death, longs for a normal life, and, while seeking it, finds herself drawn to a human boy Aiden. Few of the books I read cause me to burn a meal (because I forget that I'm cooking something). This is one of them.

No comments: