Dot’s not shooting straight

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I’ve been “off the air” for most of the day today, but I want to revisit this whole Dot Kearns e-mail flap.

If you remember, she got angry not long ago over an e-mail sent out through the “gcsnc.com” domain over the recent revelation of additional art/music cuts. In fact, Dot proceeded in a nonprofessional way to “call out” this teacher from an unnamed GCS middle school, then proceeded to suggest it was misinformation.

At the time, I had not seen the e-mail, and I said on this blog that this campaign had nothing to do with the original e-mail distribution.

But after seeing the actual e-mail message and after talking with some individuals today who, like you and I, are concerned about existing art/music cuts to our elementary and middle schools, I honestly don’t see where the problem lies. If anything, Dot’s not shooting straight…as usual. I’m surprised at Dot’s reaction.

I said that Dot’s getting in a tiff over a simple e-mail, when she should be putting her anger and energy into supporting the full restoration of the yanked art/music time.

I struggled, pondered and prayed over posting this or not (names and identifying schools have been removed from this), because everything in this e-mail message…is true. It’s truthful. I struggled with reposting it, but I needed to call Dot’s bluff on this. And when one of our public officials is not shooting straight, it is our duty to make it known. That’s what this blog has successfully tried to do for the last 14 months.

This message is written very professionally and courteously (and I said before that I hope nothing happens to this teacher for speaking out publicly about a curriculum issue–this teacher cares, imagine that), and it is not a degrading message.

Point blank, the information in this e-mail is true. Administration is proposing cuts, no matter how you do the math. A cut is a cut is a cut. It’s reduction in time. We do not support any additional reductions in art/music time. It is an issue. We will not go away, we will not be silenced and until major changes have occurred, the advocacy will continue. And all campaigning aside, it is a personal issue for me because my daughter likes art and music. She deserves more, not less.

So here’s the message that got Dot all upset, and I’ll let you be the judge.

Subject: FW: proposed cuts to music and arts education in 2008-09

Parents,

It seems as if Guilford County Schools is seriously considering making more cuts to our arts programs.  As for XXX (unidentified school), the cuts we suffered from this year to last year have been substantial.  Seventh and eighth grade students can now only choose band, chorus, orchestra, or two semester-long electives besides PE, whereas before they could have two year-long, or a combination of year or semester.  The middle school concept clearly states that children at this level need to have a chance to experience many things so that they can decide what they would like to concentrate on in high school.  With this current schedule, children have to decide in sixth grade whether they want to take band in high school, or chorus, or orchestra, and no student has the opportunity to take band and chorus or band and orchestra in the same year as I have had students do in the past.  Please voice your support to our board and let them know how important arts education is to the education of every student.  I could recite chapter and verse about how education in the arts helps students improve skills in the incredibly important ABC or No Child areas, but arts education is important simply because its important.  Please let your school board know what your feelings are.

Thank you.

**************************

Dot got upset over this. Puhleese! She does not have a prayer in the world if she decides to run again.

E.C. 🙂


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8 Responses

  1. If that was written by a teacher than THEY DESERVE A RAISE!! It’s a teacher that CARES about the curriculum of the students!! Isn’t that what we want our teachers to do for our kids? I WANT my kid’s teachers to be an advocate for them!!! THEY are in the classroom with my children they know BEST what they need!!!! How dare Dot call out this individual when she is doing her JOB!!–and damn good I might add! I welcome MORe teachers like this! God Bless our teachers that care! To Hell with board members that put our kids LAST–DOT!!!

    EC, thank you for the efigy picture. It’s the most appropriate place for her until November.

  2. It was very sexist of me to assume that teacher was a “she”…sorry. …still, whoever the writer is, I applaud them for caring about their students. I wish we had more teachers like her/him.

  3. Speaking of the new superintendent, I was told by an informed source that when the BOE thought that Grier was going to take the Charlotte job they had Peggy Thompson and Sharon Ozment in mind to replace Grier. Now, that would be interesting, if they are still candidates of choice. What would the public think about that? I recall some of the BOE members mentioning that local candidates should be considered.

  4. The job of the school board is to represent the citizens of Guilford County, not the administration of Guilford County Schools.

    Mrs. Kearns would be well-advised to keep that in mind. She shouldn’t care less about whether or not the GCS administration “looks good” to the public. Her job is to be an advocate for the public, even if that puts her at odds with the superintendent.

    And kudos to this teacher for having the courage to speak up. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. Let’s all hope this teacher isn’t punished by the administration for telling the truth.

  5. And too many Board members seem to forget (very easily) that they’re supposed to represent the community, not themselves, not the politicians.

  6. There were many more emails besides this one that reached parents last week. This one just happened to reach Mrs. Kearns. Those emails were prompted by an email from Pierce Egerton, and hundreds of parents were reached to encourage them to voice concern over any possiblities the board was considering. If we, as parents, do not voice our concerns about ANYTHING “our” board is doing, how will they ever be aware of what we think? That teacher is also a parent in this school system and is concerned not only for the students she teaches, but her own children as well. She did not speak out and slander the board or anyone on it, she voiced a concern and an opinion based on information she was given. Explain how that is misinformation? And all the statements she made about cuts at her school were accurate. How is that misinformation?

  7. MS Teacher: you’re right…we ALL have the RIGHT to have a say in what our schools are doing. I think it is WRONG to stifle public comment on this issue or any other.

    And I know for a fact that Kearns and Duncan and others are trying to do just that. Word has it that Duncan has been telling some of the arts supporters/speakers during Board meeting recesses to “ease up” on the advocacy and rhetoric. This is wrong. It has been noticed. And it will not work.

    There has not been such an organized effort as this since the High Point Busing scheme, and we’re still reeling from the effects of busing in our county.

  8. The quoted email seems like a reasonable and respectful part of the legitimate dialogue over an issue that obviously resounds deeply throughout the Guilford County community.

    However, over past months there have been emails and statements that were needlessly acrimonious. I doubt those communications do much to further the goals of the writer and would hope that everyone keeps the discussion on a respectful level.

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