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MCCSC Board of Trustees open meeting to discuss local ‘F’ grade schools

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Members of the public will get to hear and comment on proposals to address the “F” grades given by the state to Fairview and Highland Park schools.

The opportunity will come this evening, when the Board of Trustees of the Monroe County Community School Corporation opens its regular meeting.

The principals of the two elementary schools will present their proposals for improvement, and then the public will be able to respond and offer suggestions to the Board.

Fairview School has been in the news over the last couple months, following initial changes proposed by interim principal Tammy Miller that resulted in an uproar from some pupils and their parents.

Parental pressure and the accompanying publicity prompted the board and the principal to hold several Focus Group meetings with parents, teachers, and administrators.

Amanda Nickey is a parent of a Fairview student, was involved in the initial protests, and attended one of these focus group meetings.

“The meetings are structured and led by a staff member,” Nickey says, “They led us through big picture questions with Fairview and the community and then getting more specific about programs important to us parents. We were able to share our perspectives and opinions.”

There were two other focus group sessions, and no more of these or other parent-staff meetings have been scheduled by the school or the board. Nickey says she is taking a wait-and-see position on Fairview’s response to the public’s concern.

“It’s not over yet, and I don’t know if I’m satisfied,” Nickey says.

She says she is waiting to see if parental input gathered at the focus groups sessions will be incorporated in any plans addressing Fairview’s academic performance problems. Nickey also says there was another private meeting, called by the school board, in which a State Department of Education official was in attendance.

However, she has not seen nor heard what was addressed or proposed. Some leaders of the Fairview Parent-Teacher Organization also organized a more open meeting at Crestmont. One of the main topics was the lack of official communication with parents. This shortcoming, and a perceived lack of consultation with parents, provided the initial impetus for the protests back in January.

Nevertheless, Nickey doesn’t think that school and board communication with parents has significantly improved.

“I just got an email and phone call today about the meeting today,” Nickey says, “For a lot of parents, that’s just not enough time to know about something like that.”

The open portion of tonight’s board meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Aside from academic performance issues at Fairview and Highland Park elementary schools, the agenda also includes proposals for next year’s class pupil-to-teacher ratios, and a board resolution opposing the Indiana government’s proposal to eliminate Indiana Business Personal Property Tax. The class ratio proposal will offer a range of sizes from kindergarten through to grade 12 for the various schools.

The resolution on the business tax arises from the potential negative impact on the MCCSC budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, if the tax is eliminated.

Critical discussion on ISTEP and standardized testing this Sunday at YMCA

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The Indiana Coalition for Public Education is holding a discussion about ISTEP and other standardized testing this Sunday at the YMCA.

Parents, teachers, and members of the community are invited to attend the discussion. The event is free for everyone. Phil and Joan Harris, authors of The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do, will lead the discussion.

Phil Harris was once a member of the faculty at Indiana University. The two do not agree with how standardized testing is used in Indiana, and believe it distorts education systems. Jennifer Livesay, a board member for the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, talks about the event.

“We want to look at the role ISTEP is playing on the eve of ISTEP testing at local schools,” Livesay says, “The writers of the book are very critical of the role of standardized testing, so they’ll share their perspective.”

This discussion will be held the day before ISTEP testing starts in Indiana, on March 2nd, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the new YMCA on the northwest side of town. Livesay says she hopes the event will serve as a platform for future discussions on the topic.

 

Ins and Outs of Money – Kids and Finances, Part 2

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Josh Wolf, Manager of the Children’s Department at the Monroe County Public Library joins Ashley and Sarah for the second part of our Kids and Finances episodes. Discover free money programs and the library’s wealth of books to help you introduce early concepts of saving, needs, and wants with your little ones.

Senate Bill 340 passes, changing Indiana’s energy saving program

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The Indiana State Senate voted 37 to 1 to pass Senate Bill 340 earlier this month, a bill that would ultimately change Indiana’s statewide energy saving program. Jodi Perras, Indiana Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, further explains what effect the bill will have.

“As it’s written now, big business can withdraw from the energy efficiency programs,” Perras says, “That means the rest of us will pay for the programs and the large facilities opting out is like us taking our two best players off the basketball floor.”

These utility programs seek to create less demand for energy, and Perras says they ultimately save everyone money. She says that passing Senate Bill 340 would benefit big industries, but hurt citizens along the way.

“We see big utilities that don’t like energy efficiency, and they have a lot of voice in the statehouse,” Perras says, “We need voters across the state to voice their opinion.”

According to Perras, utilities were forced to participate in these programs beginning in 2009, leading to energy efficiency. She says that efficiency is now under attack at the statehouse.

“People need to wake up and know that big utilities are trying to fight energy efficiency,” Perras says, “These are programs that keep our electricity rates down for schools, universities and we need to make sure these programs keep going.”

Perras says The Sierra Club stresses the importance of the public’s voice in dealing with Indiana’s environmental issues.

The Strike Mic – February 25, 2014

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This week on The Strike Mic—A new conference, planned to be held this spring, will host groups from university campuses around the country to compare struggles and prepare for action in the fall of 2014.

 

Daily Local News – February 25, 2014

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A new conference, planned to be held this spring, will host groups from university campuses around the country to compare struggles and prepare for action in the fall of 2014; Members of the public can hear and comment on proposals to address the “F” grades given by the state to Fairview and Highland Park schools; The Indiana State Senate voted 37-1 to pass Senate Bill 340 earlier this month;  The Indiana Coalition for Public Education is holding a discussion about ISTEP and other standardized testing this Sunday at the YMCA.

FEATURE
Education and Indiana’s Juvenile Detention System
The Commission on Improving the Status of Children, which was established last summer, held its most recent meeting February 19th. For today’s Daily Local News feature report, we hear the presentation to the commission from Michael Williams, of the Indiana Department of Education, about the education needs of children in the juvenile detention system.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Josh Wolf, Manager of the Children’s Department at the Monroe County Public Library, joins Ashley and Sarah for the second part of our Kids and Finances special. Discover free money programs and the library’s wealth of books to help you introduce concepts of saving, needs, and wants with your little ones, for WFHB’s weekly financial segment, the Ins and Outs of Money, our weekly segment providing economic education and community resources that keep your budget balanced and your finances flourishing.

CREDITS
Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Sierra Gardner, and Lindsey Wright,
Our feature was produced by Dan Withered.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Robert Powell
Our editor is Drew Daudelin
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Summer Shelter for Homeless Citizens in the Works

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Five weeks from tomorrow, Bloomington’s only low-barrier homeless shelter is scheduled to close for the season. The closure leaves a seven-month gap when individuals who don’t qualify for other shelters in town have no designated place to stay at night. But a group has been meeting in recent weeks to form a summer shelter that would fill that gap. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford brings us the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Daily Local News – February 24, 2014

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On February 18th the Bloomington Board of Parks Commissioners accepted the donation of a piece of equipment one official described as the heart of the city’s ice arena; The Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed factors that influence circulation at a meeting last Wednesday. Library Director Sara Laughlin told the board that a new report shows changes in how patrons use the Library; The Indiana University Kelley School of Business announced today that they have awarded a one million dollar United States Department for International Development grant to support the economic transition of the Asian sovereign state Myanmar; The Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1070 last week, written by State Representative Peggy Mayfield, which requires all successors of the Department of Corrections Ombudsman to post monthly reports on conducted investigations.

FEATURE
Five weeks from tomorrow, Bloomington’s only low-barrier homeless shelter is scheduled to close for the season. The closure leaves a seven-month gap when individuals who don’t qualify for other shelters in town have no designated place to stay at night. But a group has been meeting in recent weeks to form a summer shelter that would fill that gap. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford brings us the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE!
Karen Franks talks about the mission, programs, and upcoming events for MCPL’s Friends of the Library.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Olivia DeWeese and Daion Morton,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer today is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Activate! – Friends of the Library: Karen Franks

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Karen Franks talks about the mission, programs, and upcoming events for MCPL’s Friends of the Library.

Bring It On! – February 24, 2014

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William Hosea and Bev Smith welcome Author and IU Assistant Professor, Jacinda Townsend.

PART ONE
Jacinda Townsend grew up in South-central Kentucky and has published short fiction in literary magazines such as African Voices, Carve Magazine, The Maryland Review, and Xavier Review, and her work has been anthologized in such publications as Surreal South and Telling Stories: Fiction by Kentucky Feminists.  She has also been published in two different series of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She teaches at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington with her two young children.

Jacinda’s debut novel, Saint Monkey, follows two girls in 1950′s Kentucky as they are raised in hardship, separated by fortune, and reunited through tragedy. Townsend’s descriptive prose, dense with imagery, portrays life in the Jim Crow South and Harlem’s heyday with startling immediacy.

Mrs. Townsand joins William and Bev on tonight’s show to share her perspective on this work and her motivations behind writing.

PART TWO
Headline news and local calendar events of interest to the African-American community.

CREDITS
Hosts: William Hosea and Bev Smith
Bring It On! is produced by Clarence Boone
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Our News Editor is Michael Nowlin
Our Board Engineer is Chris Martin

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