by Travis Mateer
Although the City Club School Board lunch was a little on the dry side, I’m glad I went, and not just because I helped my table raise the issue of technology’s down side as it relates to kids and the concerns parents like me have as we battle the ubiquitous screen battles at home.
No, I’m glad I went because I ALSO got to see how a reporter like Skyler Rispens frames the event, especially after her little “New to the Beat” trip to DC, which was funded, in part, by groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
With that in mind, here is the opening of Rispens article for the Missoulian:
Low teacher pay and educational equity topped the public education topics at a City Club Missoula event on Monday afternoon.
Experts included McCall Flynn, executive director of the Montana Board of Public Education, Lance Melton, executive director of the Montana School Board Association and State Representative David Bedey (R-Hamilton), who also chairs the Legislature’s Education Interim Budget Committee.
“I think a compelling case for change can be made that our current education system is based upon a model that was appropriate and highly effective in the 1900s when we were industrializing this country,” Bedey said. “But now the economy has changed and the approach that we need to education is different.”
Yes, the panel was there to address change, and the conversation was driven by the questions each table developed. Some tables had important people running for office, like Monica Tranel, so of course her question is a part of the news article.
Another question that OF COURSE must be included is the question about WORDS. That’s because our community is very literate and language oriented. Here’s the part about–GASP!–words that might be REMOVED from the road map:
Another commenter noted that the Board of Public Education is considering recommendations from the Office of Public Instruction that eliminate words like “equity” and “ethics” from teacher preparation standards and asked what steps are being taken to protect minority students.
“While I can’t necessarily explain why words like ‘equity’ are being removed and possibly replaced by ‘equality of opportunity,’ which is in our constitution,” Flynn said, “I can tell you that we still very much understand our role to set those minimum standards.”
She provided the crowd an analogy to better understand the role of the board as a group in the middle of a lake, each with an oar, trying to get to land, which represents a perfect public education utopia flushed with resources and free of controversy.
“You can imagine we may not all be rowing at the same speed, we may not be going to the same points on land, but we’re all generally trying to get somewhere,” Flynn said.
In the analogy, the board provides a road map and general idea of how to get to where you’re going.
“Our school boards really then take that road map and determine how they want to implement that on the local level,” she said.
I included this long and torturous analogy because Skyler Rispens included this long and torturous analogy. Because words are important.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t just ask about technology. I asked about whether or not there are ways to assess the impacts of technology on things like our kids mental health. This was a big part of our table’s conversation, but it didn’t make it into the news article. I wonder why?
I know people want to just move on and pretend like this time last year wasn’t an insane flex by local school boards to impose a “health” strategy many parents provided strong arguments against, the kind CNN alarmist Leanna Wen now thinks harmed her son, but if we don’t question what happened under the lucrative alarmist spell cast by corporate media, the next round is going to be worse.
For now it’s all good because Joe Biden declared the pandemic over. Here’s his comment from the 60 Minutes interview:
“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”
Whew! I’m glad we can all breathe better knowing it’s over. Thanks Joe!
And thanks for reading!