Do the School Board Twist

It’s been a while since Perfect Duluth Day held any rousing debates on the Duluth School Board and its ensuing antics as Loren Martel has issued one scathing indictment after another, illustrating in great detail the buffoonery he believes gurgles forth from this wily group of characters.

I’d like to field some of your fair and balanced opinions on what you think of this current chapter of someday Duluth history. How do you feel about the school board heading into 2015? The narrator will refrain from comment.

14 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago



If I can manage to get through listening to this two-hour meeting I might struggle to cobble an opinion, but I suspect that general exasperation will be the result.

MomAH

about 6 years ago

I feel disappointment with the school board as we head into 2015.  We still have first grade classrooms with 31 students in a room built for 30 in one of our new elementary schools.  We have physical education, art, and music offered on 8 day rotations at the elementary level because even though we know that physical activity  and art/music enrichment for kids at the elementary level helps build cognitive skills and help with brain development we can't figure out how to offer enough.  We have a bursting full East High School while Denfeld does not have enough students to offer the same classes and the board domes up with a new transfer policy that will do very little to solve the problem. The redrawing of boundaries is a good development and will likely help the elementary schools, but no one wants to touch the mess that is the high school boundary issue. The high school boundary issue has to be tackled and tackled in a thoughtful and bold way. Yet we have a school board that is so wrapped up in certain personality issues that the focus is on the problems caused by the adult board members and not on the schools. Think of all the time and energy spent on these interpersonal problems and then think of the money spent on lawyers and investigations. If all this time and energy went into working constructively on helping fix the problems in our schools, just think what could be accomplished.

Jana Hollingsworth

about 6 years ago

I am going to refrain from offering any opinions as I cover education for the Duluth News Tribune, but I would like to suggest that curious people and/or those with opinions of the board watch or attend its meetings, as Paul is doing. Some aren't televised, such as tonight's special meeting, but the regular meetings are posted on Youtube.

Herzog

about 6 years ago

Thank you Jana for your sound advice and my apologies for this one-time comment to clarify the intent of this thread.  Listening to the meetings is indeed one way to discover some of what the Duluth School Board is doing in the community. But as we've since learned, there are more facets to the board and its actions than the meetings sometimes discuss or clarify. As Paul just pointed out, it can often take the patience and memory of an elephant.

 It's these 'lesser-knowns' this thread hopes to be enlightened by, while also gaining a more sound understanding through a general consensus from the informed public, including people like yourself Jana, what is happening and needs to happen that is best for everyone in the city of Duluth.  You live in a democracy, and perhaps even go to some of these meetings. You write for the local newspaper, pay taxes, and are an expert who is payed to know what is going on here, so why not share some of your ideas and ambitions for the future of Duluth schools right here and now?  I don't get the DNT. Thank you for your time.

Niff Bimrod

about 6 years ago

I weep for the children.

Claire

about 6 years ago

What a dysfunctional group of people. Shame on them all.

Jana Hollingsworth

about 6 years ago

It wouldn't be ethical of me to offer opinions publicly. As for revealing what's going on with the district and board, I do that regularly to the best of my ability for the Duluth News Tribune. It is free online, if you don't receive it.

Paul Lundgren

about 6 years ago

The only mild drama from the Dec. 16 meeting that jumps out is the public comment period at the 26-minute mark, when Joan Peterson rants about how terrible Art Johnston is and then Loren Martell rants about how awesome Art Johnston is and then Barb Houck rants about how terrible Art Johnston is -- all of which is really just a distraction from any real issue, of course.

Here is the latest from the DNT on tonight's meeting: Duluth School Board votes to censure Welty

Claire

about 6 years ago

Wish the board was quick on the draw when it comes to the traffic problems around East & Congdon.

Herzog

about 6 years ago

Thanks Paul Lundgren for your diligence. You have the patience and perseverance of an elephant. I'd say just turn that shit off and go enjoy the holidays. Kids are strong and they will survive, with or without the Duluth School Board making financial decisions in their favor.

Zedhead

about 6 years ago

The Duluth School Board has been dysfunctional for years. It was one of the major reasons we moved out of the city.  When Our Daughter came home from Kindergarten crying in fear that her School (Chester Park) would be closed. It was the last straw.

Endion

about 6 years ago

The problem is that the School Board seems to be more about themselves than the students. Blogging, fighting over a partner's job, overspending with bad results, or lying about class sizes to pass referendums are all examples of dysfunction.

The School Board should be a public entity to watch over the school system for the voters, not a powerful decision making entity that can have conflicts of interest or personal motives behind their actions that effect the children of our community. The teachers, administration, and students know what they need, but we have these random people from our community with little understanding of education making the decisions. They are usually out of touch people who have good intentions at heart, but way too much say in what goes on. They should be a watchdog and not the top dog.

It is sad that regardless of what headway is made with the public schools of Duluth that the fighting children on the school board make it all about themselves. They use the children for their own personal gains. 

Honestly I think that the teachers should create a board and make the big decisions with some advisement from the administration and the board. How about a teaching board instead of a randomly elected School Board? Let the people who actually have graduate degrees in education and work with the children make the decisions on what they need. Have a student board as well that meets with the teachers to defend their needs. More of a democratic system that listens to the voices that matter. This School Board is coming across as a complete joke, but there is no punchline as it just keeps going on and on....

Nick L

about 6 years ago

I think the school board reflects Duluth.  

We're passionate about our schools.  Sometimes there are conflicting goals and consensus can be hard to reach.  When a tough decision is made about schools, conflict can smolder on.  

The school board reflects that.  We elected a mix of new members and incumbents, education professionals, regular citizens, and supporters and opponents of the Red Plan.  Most governing bodies figure out a way to work (Congress excepted).  

Art Johnston and Harry Welty do things no governing body tolerates.  Art Johnston shoved the Superintendent and spun around a board member.  He violated someone's privacy by releasing a letter.  Harry Welty's blog post could cost us $10 million.  

Art Johnston and Harry Welty are uncompromising on certain issues.  Each brings a particular passion and behavior.  We're embarrassed by their behavior, but we're the ones who reelected them.

Herzog

about 6 years ago

Looks like Endion is about the only one who really stepped up to bat here.  Kudos E.  You made proposing simple solutions to this bag of buffonery look easy.  Well done 'ol chap.  

 Nik, are these allegations against Art proven or just the accounts of people who were already against him?  Decade long friends of the accuser perhaps? There's a lot of stock being taken here on the push and shove, and inquiring minds have wondered why police were not summoned to respond to said assult?  As for the sheer terror Annie felt toward Art then, why she appears in the above video  looking fairly relaxed sitting next to him for hours of meetings on end afterward is curious given her stated level of fear Art would cause her irreparable harm.   I'm simply wondering the obvious, that if your and many other's understanding of these events is heavily colored by the DNT's coverage, and maybe even discover why said coverage could be so heavily one-sided if in fact it is?  

When a half billion dollars is involved, money that was spent to address problems parents seem to saying still exist within the school system moments after buildings were completed, it would be nice if we had a way of finding out what caused these errors in judgement, esp when the money spent was supposed to fix them.  A newspaper that was able to report on this in a fair and balanced manner would be a great service to the community. Because we're not talking about someone missing a topping on your pizza delivery.  What we are talking about is somewhere in the neighborhood of just shy of half a billion dollars, money that was allocated to fix problems that appear to not be fixed.  

Perhaps when judging other's eccentricities or behaviors, it's also important to remember we're all a little crazy in our own special way.  It's the quiet ones you really have to worry about. We all have to ask ourselves if the special brand of crazy we rock is the ship sinking, or ship building kind.

Merry Christmas

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