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Monday, March 5, 2012

Letter to the Editor submission to the Clarkston News 3/5/12

Dear Editor,

At the 2/27/12 Board meeting, Dr. Rod Rock said that he is not going to do anything to try to improve MEAP scores in the district.  The district is planning on adding new technology with funds from the $20 million bond.  To justify implementing it, they need proof that it will improve the MEAP scores and/or have some quantifiable positive impact on student learning.  However, he wants to start the implementation of the technology without information on the effects of the pilot programs to date.       
Clarkston Schools is the home of the “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” philosophy that starts at the top…  Three women from the executive board of the Springfield Plains PTA spoke out publicly last week on the board “violations of policy”, the proposed $20 million bond, technology in the schools, and against my comments at school board meetings. 

Is it any coincidence that Springfield Plains was one of the elementary schools that received one of the pilot iPad programs and at least two of those three SPE PTA Executive Board member’s children are in the iPad pilot class? 

One of them talked about how she doesn’t care how much it costs to provide what is “good for students”.  Really?  Is that what we need - someone pushing the Board to put the district into more debt and potentially put Clarkston Schools into the hands of a financial manager?  

However, I do agree with her about being up in arms about the Board members who violate board policies and bylaws, but why go with hypotheticals when there is documented and reported proof of "rogue activity" on a podcast recorded and broadcast by WJR on Feb. 18, featuring Steve Hyer, school board treasurer, available here:

The host introduced Hyer as treasurer of the Clarkston School Board twice during the course of the interview, and one of the topics discussed is the upcoming school technology bond vote, set for May 8. George Butler had advised the Board that they were not to identify themselves as Board members when speaking in public, especially if they they were giving their opinions unless they were authorized to speak on behalf of the district.  At no point does Hyer issue a disclaimer, as advised by Butler.  Hyer did not respond for comment from the Clarkston News.

At the 2/27/12 Board meeting, certain Board members talked about going on a field trip that same morning to go to Zeeland Schools to see their student technology in use, but from the comments of some of the Board members during the meeting, it was obvious that those that attended were advised about it in advance, but certain members that Administration did not want to be there were not told about it…  Talk about violating board bylaws and policies… 

Here is an article on the Zeeland iPad rollout to their high school students.  Read the comments.

Dawn Schaller

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