Suit and Tie: the other half of the April 28th Board meeting

I mentioned the viral video “Suit and Tie” earlier. I would be remiss if I did not mention the awesome display of support at the April 28th board meeting. The first 1.5 hours were easily consumed between this and those who spoke in support of the Youth Assessment Center (including Anthony Cobb and other leaders in our community).


For starters, the meeting room was unusually packed. Packed with young black and latino men, their families, teachers, ministers, and friends. Not only was the video shown at the board meeting, but there was an overwhelming parade of sincere and genuine personal stories told, from biographical to anecdotal. We heard from those that led the video project, a pair of compassionate and passionate women who gave these young men a powerful voice and a place to stand.


The premise is at once both inspiring and perplexing. Especially as a white man, it is obviously harder for me to understand the pressures, expectations, jibes, taunts, ridicule and the unspoken drama that occurs on a daily basis for anyone of color. One might ask, why do young men of color need to show that they can dress nice? But what little I do understand tells me it goes way beyond just putting on a suit and tie; it is about respect, it is about rising above low expectations set by others. Perhaps most significantly, as was said many times at Monday’s meeting, was the act of throwing off harmful stereotypes. We, yes we white people, are way too quick to judge.


What is also amazing is how many doors this has opened. Not only the obvious Timberlake tie-in, but the chance to go to Springfield with Senator Frerichs as mentioned in today’s News-Gazette. And there are talks about more engagements. The social media landscape is ablaze with people talking about “Suit and Tie”, which continues to garner attention from big names and establishments.


I hope they do more videos like that. And I look forward to witnessing the ongoing conversation surrounding this epic milestone.

April 28th Special Meeting agenda

I know folks are getting excited (insert alternative adjective as desired) in regards to a Spalding site. Keep your hats on, here are the “action” portions of the agenda for Monday:

  • 7. Reports: New Business
    • A. Suits and Ties Project: Dr. Judy Wiegand
    • B. Youth Assessment Center: Orlando Thomas
    • C. Master Facility Plan: Matt Foster This item has files attached
  • 8. Action Agenda: New Business
    • A. Resolution to Prepare a Final Budget for FY14 and Approval to Hold a Public Hearing on Such Budget on June 9, 2014: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    • B. 2014-15 Regular & Special Board Meeting Schedules: Dr. Judy Wiegand This item has files attached
  • 9. Consent Agenda
    • A. 2014-15 Elementary English Language Arts Adoption: Trevor Nadrozny This item has files attached
    • B. K-12 Health Adoption: Cheryl O’Leary This item has files attached
    • C. Acceptance of Contract for Sale of Marquette: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    • D. Bid: Auditing Services for FY14, FY15 and FY16: Matt Foster



Suits and Ties was really awesome. If you haven’t seen the video yet, go check it out!

One very interesting thing is that this video has gone viral, and you can find links to it on many many different websites. Reading through the comments on various websites, there is an interesting cross-section of responses; the vast majority give high praise and kudos to those involved. But some take a more cynical approach.


The Master Facility Plan sounds like it might address one of the things I need to vote for the referendum, but unfortunately Unit 4 has chosen not to post the plan at all, so we can’t read it. Hopefully it will be posted later. I don’t get why they don’t post it prior to the meeting. Note the the “District Facility Committee” and the administration “have done a lot of work”, yet there are no minutes or even meeting agendas that would give us a single clue.


Final Budget and obligatory “public hearing”. I always chuckle to myself when I hear about these “public hearings”. Maybe they used to be different, but all the public hearings I can remember last about 30 seconds. I think we need a few classes on “particpatory budgets” – and don’t worry Board Members, I don’t see a “participatory budget” happening in the context of a Board Meeting. At all. *grin*