Open Forum is tomorrow (7:pm, Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium)

Chambanamoms just put up a note about our forum:

http://www.chambanamoms.com/2012/05/14/champaign-unit-4-open-forums-on-education/

I have committments from several community members including Chris Hamb (of Chrisp Media) and Carolyn Savage (wife of the late Reverend Lundy Savage). I also heard that an announcement was made at Canaan Baptist Church encouraging folks to attend.

I will have lots of pens and notepads so attendees can quickly jot down thoughts, questions and comments that we can sticky to the wall or dry-erase board. The idea being that we will organize these ideas along several themes, and then mesh them in with the ideas from the previous open forum. If attendees express a desire that we take certain topics to the School Board (either Unit 4 or Unit 116), we will do so. In either case, all ideas and topics will be posted here so folks can see how their voice was heard. And they are invited to continue giving us feedback. 🙂

Please join us, and come prepared to share your ideas.

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3 Responses to “Open Forum is tomorrow (7:pm, Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium)”

  1. pattsi Says:

    I do ope that this is well attended and look forward to a summary report.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    We had an interesting turnout tonight; again, not as many folks as we would have liked, but a good amount of different people with different opinions, which I did like. We had 5 others in addition to Chuck and I (and one little girl busy with a Kindle); most, if not all, are parents, several with teaching experience of one degree or another, one currently at Parkland, another with web development and another involved with the Family Resource Center. I did a short interview with Channel 15, Chuck kicked us off with the Ken Robinson RCA video, and then we dove in. We spent a fair amount of time on the dichotomy of “education” vs “graduation” in that a lot of kids get a high school diploma and yet still need a ton of remedial work in college (a problem nationwide), how kids are moved up through the grade levels regardless of their mastery of a topic, which totally strips away the meaning of any kind of letter or number grade. We also spent some time on parent and student advocacy, how the district tends to be very top-down and systemically difficult for those on the outside to successfully navigate, let alone understand and comprehend (ie, lack of transparency, lack of support for parents and students that question policies). We touched on a comparison with how private schools handle rigor and classroom discipline (“they have no problems because they don’t tolerate them”) and how that is affected by parent’s pay bukoo dollars (more investment = more involvement, usually), leaving those who cannot afford to do so in public schools. The question of charter schools came up – would be interesting to explore this option a bit more. We started making noises about taking action steps. I did not write anything down, but I think we all agree that just sitting around and talking is good for establishing a base of trust, but it does not essentially change anything. It is hard to figure out what action steps to actually take. Everywhere I turn lately, people mostly want to be empowered by being heard. What about our society threatens to take away the voice of people and rob them of their inherent power such that we have these massive power struggles? Why the political games? Why a traditional education system that is relatively almost impervious to change?

    One question that popped into my head was “What really is the definition and purpose of education?” I begin to think that perhaps we loose sight of that; we get overwhelmed with the classical image of sitting in a hard-backed desk listening to a lecturer drone on so we can get a degree and finally get a job. Is that really truly education? Is that all we are meant to do? What if education were defined as a process of removing barriers and uncorking your potential? Sure, that sounds good in black and white, but I don’t see that happening at all. And even during tonight’s discussion, I sensed a difference of opinion on something fundamental like “standards”. What truly is education?

    I’ll have to close with that for now. I am hoping others will provide more details. I am hoping those who visited us tonight will feel confident enough to reflect here on this blog. 🙂 I really want to continue the conversation.

    I will be posting an updated list of items that were written down (“wondernotes”) and other notes later.

  3. Review of May 15th Open Forum « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] stated previously about the May 15th Open Forum we held, the attendance was a bit sparse but the discussion was good. Chuck Jackson and I were […]


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