Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another voice from the Board of Education meeting on May 12, 2010:

Another voice from the Board of Education meeting on May 12, 2010:

My name is Paul Bogush.  On the BCS website Mr. Spino states:

Education is a community responsibility and that Communication is essential to our success, and that 

"Parents, teachers and students share responsibility for the learning process, and therefore are partners in the decision making process."
After being told in an email from Mr. Spino that a parent cannot observe their child's class and stay in school for more than 45 minutes because they will disrupt the educational process, after having my ideas and thoughts and those of other parents constantly being dismissed by teachers and administrators, and after being told last week at a PTO meeting that parents will have no say in implementing PBIS at BCS, I am very dismayed and saddened at the current atmosphere at BCS.
Tonight you will hear about PBIS from the administration and from some of the 30 teachers who brought this program to the attention of the administration.
As you listen you must not fall for the rhetoric.
You must not fall for the re-direction of your questions.
You must not fall for the trap of debating the finer points of the program instead of the big picture and core of the problem
You must dig deeper and ignore the PBIS jargon smokescreen.
Do not get stuck on debating the merits of PBIS
Do get stuck on what is creating the behaviors that we are trying to save the school from with PBIS?
Do ask whether this system of coercive behavior management will prepare our kids to be 21st century leaders, or support more of the 19th century style education that I have come accustomed to my kids receiving from BCS?
Do ask where is the student engagement?
Where are the creative projects?
Where are the inquiry units?
Where are the authentic lessons?
Where are the units that don't rely on worksheet after worksheet?
Ask what is being done to instill a life long love of learning?  Timed tests, reading logs, spelling tests, worksheet homework, and sitting a kid in chair for 6 hours a day simply is not good enough.
Do ask how did we get to this point?
And most importantly...Do ask who let us get to this point?
Good boards of education hold their staff accountable to find the source of the problem, they don't let them bring in a school changing program to mask it.  
Mrs. Federico once said, “Possessing a genuine interest and taking part in your child’s school community is imperative to his development.” I hope that my involvement can be more than just picking up the empty pieces of my children each night after they come home depleted of hope each day.  You see I do not know everything about teaching, but after two decades of teaching and and two decades of serious research and practicing almost every conceivable method and pedagogy, I can draw on valuable empirical and research based evidence in which to rely on for my conclusions.
Since my children have attended BCS my opinion has been dismissed by first year teachers, and administrators who have far, far less experience in a classroom than I do...what happens to the parent who simply loves their child, asks the right common sense questions, but is defenseless against the rhetoric they are bombarded with because they don't know the research, they don't know the meaning behind the code words and jargon, they don't know how the actions of programs play out in a classroom, but most importantly a child's heart. How many parents get walked over and convinced that new programs will turn out just fine because they don't know the research about using coercive behavioral management plans in the classroom?  How many know about the the Theory of Behaviorism that PBIS is rooted in? How many can take a look at the building and classroom plans and policies and analyze those to show that the behaviors they create are the ones that PBIS is meant to mask?   How many of you know about those things? If you don't, then you can get easily sucked into the hype and programs such as PBIS.   I worry not just about parents voices going unheard, but what about your voices.
If our voices, as parents and the ones who know our children best, are not valued is hard to imagine that our children are truly valued.

Other Voices:
Aimee Bogush
Valerie Knight-DiGangi
Emma Bogush, student 
Brian Laubstein