NAACP questions about Bond Referendum

The Rock Hill Schools are posing a referendum to the community on May 5, as the post below explains. Links explaining the proposed projects can be found here.

In addition to building improvements and maintenance, computers for every high school student are listed on the plan. The Rock Hill Branch of the National Association of Colored People is asking the district to supply some information about previous deployment of digital devices (mostly iPads). Particular questions are below, and most of them concern two issues:

  • Do children whose families cannot afford the district computer fees still get a computer
  • Are these expensive devices showing that they help children learn

The NAACP is posing the following questions to the district and the answers they give will be posted here next week.

  1. How the tablets have impacted the performance of students by grade level?
  2. What kind of feedback has the district received from teachers, parents, IT?
  3. How will the district improve the application after the initial rollout?
  4. How many children attended the Rock Hill Schools last year?
  5. Of that group, how many children were eligible to take computing devices home last year?
  6. Of the eligible group, how many children had parents who allowed them to bring the devices home?
  7. Of the group whose parents wanted to bring the devices home, how many children requested help with fees for computers?
  8. Of the children who requested help, how many met the income and other requirements to actually be eligible for help paying computer fees?
  9. Of the group requesting help and meeting requirements for receiving help, how many children actually received help?
  10. How many children received lunch subsidies last year?
  11. What is the amount of the fee each child must pay to take the computing device home?
  12. Does a child who receives a subsidy have to pay anything at all or is the fee waived in its entirety? If they pay, how much is the reduced fee?
  13. What are the requirements for a child to be eligible for subsidies for computer fees?
  14. What are the requirements for a child to be eligible for lunch subsidies?
  15. Who provides the subsidies for children needing computer fee subsidies?
  16. How can people donate to help children pay their fees?
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Rock Hill Schools Bond Referendum video

Todd Lumpkin, Bond Referendum Chair, and Jim Vining, Rock hill School Board Chair, join Kelly Pew on SchoolTalk to explain the May 5 Bond Referendum.

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Sen. Hayes Mar. 23 Legislative Update

South Carolina State Senator Robert W. "Wes" Hayes

South Carolina State Senator Robert W. “Wes” Hayes

Senator Wes Hayes is a level-headed, sensible, and very intelligent representative to the South Carolina General Assembly. He usually has two public meetings a year, one at the beginning and one at the end of the legislative session, to let you know what is going on. I have attended for years and hope you will begin to attend. You can read the current newsletter and sign up to receive notices of future meetings on Senator Hayes’s website. Thank you, Wes Hayes, for many years of serving the people of South Carolina. Below are my tweets from his public legislative update tonight.

 

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Superintendent’s Interim Evaluation

KellyManagement literature tells us that annual evaluations are usually ineffective at improving results, at best innocuous, and frequently demoralizing. I am delighted to report that the Rock Hill School Board and Superintendent have produced an interim evaluation of the district’s performance and Dr. Pew’s progress toward goals set last summer. The full report is below, and some major points are:

  • Specifics of what to measure were identified-a major issue. How can you tell if progress is made if you don’t know what is being measured?
  • Expectations of principals communicated and emphasized-including following district plans and evaluations using the State evaluation plan
  • Accreditation organization recommendations followed-especially in requiring appropriate staff training and collaboration time
  • Reducing expenses and prioritizing to produce balanced budgeting
  • Great progress on communications, including audits and anonymous surveys

Kudos to Dr. Pew and the members of the Rock Hill School Board!

 

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Rock Hill Schools Referendum

Todd Lumpkin

Todd Lumpkin

Rock Hill School Board hopes to take advantage of the current low interest rates to issuebonds and finance some long term maintenance and various needed building improvements. The community will have the opportunity to vote on this in a referendum on May 5. Supt. Kelly Pew and Todd Lumpkin, who will head the referendum committee, discussed school needs on Straight Talk on WRHI radio this week, and your can hear the recorded show below.

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Separate and Unequal

SC State USouth Carolina State University was established in 1890 in response to federal law requiring that blacks be admitted to white only colleges or given separate facilities, which were required to be funded equally. Clemson was the white school, and South Carolina State, an historically black school, has never been funded equally.

The legislature is debating closing South Carolina State University for two years, which would effectively put the school out of business forever. There are some voices of reason in the State Assembly with better ideas for solving the school’s problem, which really are monumental.

This week the NAACP held a rally to influence the legislature to save the school, and the text below is by Joseph Darby, given as a speech at the rally.

A SCRIPTURE OF MY FAITH TRADITION SAYS, “YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE.” IN KEEPING WITH THE WORDS OF THAT SCRIPTURE, PLEASE ALLOW ME A FEW MINUTES TO SHARE A LITTLE TRUTH AND A FEW SUGGESTIONS.

THE TRUTH BEGINS WITH THE FACT THAT SOUTH CAROLINA ACTUALLY HAS black schoool, TWO LAND GRANT COLLEGES ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED TO PROMOTE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND MECHANICAL ARTS. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY WAS ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE FIRST MORRILL LAND GRANT ACT OF 1862. SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY WAS ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE SECOND MORRILL LAND GRANT ACT OF 1890, WHICH REQUIRED THE FORMER CONFEDERATE STATES WITH LAND GRANT COLLEGES TO EITHER OPEN THEM TO ALL STUDENTS OR TO ESTABLISH SEPARATE INSTITUTIONS FOR BLACK STUDENTS. THE FIRST MORRILL ACT GAVE STATES BOTH LAND AND MONEY FOR THOSE COLLEGES, BUT THE SECOND MORRILL ACT GRANTED MONEY ONLY IN LIMITED AMOUNTS TO BLACK COLLEGES. THE TRUTH IS THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY’S INITIAL FUNDING WAS SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL, AND THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HAS NEVER BEEN FUNDED AT THE SAME LEVEL AS OUR STATE’S OTHER PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

THE MORRILL ACTS ALSO ENCOURAGED STATES TO MATCH FEDERAL FUNDS WITH “DOLLAR TO DOLLAR” STATE FUNDS. A 2013 STUDY BY THE ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC AND LAND GRANT UNIVERSITIES SHOWS THAT WHILE OUR STATE HAS PROVIDED “DOLLAR TO DOLLAR” MATCHING FUNDS FOR CLEMSON, IT HAS NOT PROVIDED THE SAME FUNDING TO SOUTH CAROLINA STATE. WHAT THAT MEANS IN REAL TERMS IS THAT FROM 2010 TO 2012, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE WAS UNDERFUNDED BY OVER SIX MILLION MATCHING DOLLARS,

NOT COUNTING OTHER POSSIBLE STATE APPROPRIATIONS. THE TRUTH IS THAT WHEN I ENTERED SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE GARNET AND BLUE MARCHING 101 IN THE FALL OF 1969, THE UNIVERSITY WAS UNDERFUNDED AND STRUGGLING, BUT THE FACULTY WAS COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE AND THE UNIVERSITY WAS STILL A BEACON OF LIGHT FOR BLACK STUDENTS WHO SOUGHT TO ADVANCE THEMSELVES AND WAS STILL A CRUCIBLE FOR PROGRESSIVE ACTION.

THE TRUTH IS THAT THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA HAS A SAD AND SORRY HISTORY OF ONLY GIVING SOUTH CAROLINA STATE ENOUGH TO “GET BY,” AND WE NEED TO SAY LOUD AND CLEAR TODAY THAT WE’RE TIRED OF JUST “GETTING BY.” SOUTH CAROLINA STATE DESERVES EQUAL TREATMENT WITH EVERY STATE INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING, BECAUSE THOSE STUDENTS WHO MAKE THEIR WAY THROUGH SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AREN’T SEEKING HANDOUTS – THEY’RE NOBLY PURSUING A HIGHER EDUCATION THAT AFFIRMS THE WORDS OF THE LATE, GREAT JAMES BROWN, “I DON’T WANT NOBODY TO GIVE ME NOTHING, JUST OPEN UP THE DOOR AND I’LL GET IT MYSELF.”

MUCH HAS ALSO BEEN SAID ABOUT THE FACT THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY’S GRADUATION RATE IS 14 PER CENT. THE TRUTH, HOWEVER, LIES IN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S 2013 DIGEST OF EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS. THOSE STATISTICS SHOW THAT THE FOUR YEAR GRADUATION RATE FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDENTS AT ALL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN THE UNITED STATES IS 17 PERCENT. THE SIX YEAR NATIONAL GRADUATION RATE FOR BLACK STUDENTS IS ACTUALLY 36 PER CENT – THE SAME AS SOUTH CAROLINA STATE’S SIX YEAR GRADUATION RATE. BY THAT MEASURE, THE TRUTH IS THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE IS ON PAR WITH MOST COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN OUR NATION PREDOMINANTLY BLACK AND PREDOMINANTLY WHITE.

THE TRUTH IS THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN TREATED LIKE THE PROVERBIAL “STEPCHILD,” BUT HAS ACTUALLY PERFORMED AS WELL AS OTHER INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN PRODUCING AFRICAN AMERICAN GRADUATES, BUT THE TRUTH DOESN’T END THERE.

THE TRUTH ALSO EXTENDS TO MANY OF US WHO ARE HERE TODAY AND TO MANY ALUMNI AND SUPPORTERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY. THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS HIGHER EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE’S ARROGANT, ILL-ADVISED, INFLAMMATORY AND OUTRAGEOUS RECOMMENDATION TO CLOSE THE UNIVERSITY FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS – AN ACTION THAT FURTHER DAMAGED THE REPUTATION OF THE UNIVERSITY AND WOULD ACTUALLY KILL THE UNIVERSITY – HAS A POSITIVE SIDE. THAT MEAN SPIRITED AND INSULTING RECOMMENDATION IGNITED THE SPARK THAT GOT US HERE, AND I’M GLAD WE’RE HERE. THE LEGISLATURE ISN’T IN SESSION TODAY, BUT THAT’S ALRIGHT. THEY WEREN’T IN SESSION ON THE FIRST KING DAY AT THE DOME MARCH AND RALLY THAT PROMPTED THOSE IN THE BUILDING BEHIND ME TO TAKE THE FLAG OF THE CONFEDERACY THAT STILL FLIES IN THE WRONG PLACE AT LEAST HALFWAY DOWN.

THE TRUTH IS THAT THE RECOMMENDATION TO CLOSE THE UNIVERSITY ENERGIZED THOSE OF US WHO HAVE SEEN MEDIA REPORTS OF PROBLEMS AT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE, BUT HAVE DONE NOTHING THUS FAR BUT SHAKE OUR HEADS AND MOVE ON. THAT RECOMMENDATION GOT US HERE, AND THE TRUTH IS THAT THOSE OF US WHO ARE HERE OUGHT TO TAKE ACTION WHEN WE LEAVE HERE.

WE OUGHT TO SAY THAT THE TIME IS OUT FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE TO IGNORE SELF SERVING PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE WHO MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE THEIR POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL “PLAYGROUNDS.” THE TIME IS OUT FOR US TO READ ABOUT THE FINANCIAL AND LEGAL WOES OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE AND DO NOTHING TO CALL THOSE WHO SET POLICY FOR THE UNIVERSITY INTO ACCOUNT. WE NEED TO STAND BY AND SUPPORT THE COMMITTED FACULTY AND DEDICATED STUDENTS WHO DO THEIR BEST TO BUILD UPON SOUTH CAROLINA STATE’S POWERFUL LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE AND PROGRESS. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT NOT ONLY WITH OUR VOICES, BUT ALSO WITH OUR DOLLARS, SO THAT WE CAN BUILD UP AN ENDOWMENT FOR SOUTH CAROLINA STATE THAT RIVALS THE ENDOWMENT OF OTHER STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING. WE CAN’T JUST “PARTY HEARTY” AND TAILGATE AT FOOTBALL GAMES, WE HAVE TO LEND OUR TIME, ENERGY, VOICES AND RESOURCES TO THE FIGHT FOR THE WELL BEING OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE EVERY DAY.

I’M GLAD THAT WE’RE ALL HERE TODAY, BUT WE CAN’T JUST RALLY AND GO HOME, WE HAVE TO STAY ON THE CASE AND DEMAND THAT OUR GOVERNOR AND THAT SOME OF OUR LEGISLATORS DO MORE THAN USE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY AS A “POLITICAL FOOTBALL” TO BE KICKED AROUND FOR POLITICAL GAIN, AND LET ME BE FRANK WITH THE REST OF THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH IS THAT SOME REASONABLE AND WELL INTENTIONED PEOPLE IN OUR STATE’S SENATE ARE ALREADY WORKING ON REASONABLE SOLUTIONS TO FIX WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY. SOME RESPONSIBLE VOICES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE DOING SO AS WELL, BUT TOO MANY OF THOSE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THINK THAT THEY CAN DO AS THEY PLEASE BECAUSE FEW SUPPORTERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY LIVE IN THEIR HOUSE DISTRICTS. THE TRUTH IS THAT WE GAVE THEM THE RIGHT TO FEEL THAT WAY IN THE LAST GENERAL ELECTION.

OF THE ROUGHLY 900,000 REGISTERED BLACK VOTERS IN OUR STATE, ONLY 300,000 WENT TO THE POLLS THIS PAST NOVEMBER. WE HAVE TO GET BUSY, GET OUT THE VOTE NEXT TIME AROUND AND SEND SOME MEAN-SPIRITED, BIGOTED AND SELF SERVING ELECTED OFFICIALS HOME IN 2016, BECAUSE NO LEGISLATIVE SEAT IS A “SAFE SEAT” IF THOSE WHO STAND FOR UNITY AND PROGRESS GO TO THE POLLS AND VOTE.

THREE OF THE FOUR MEMBERS OF THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE’S SUBCOMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION UNKNOWINGLY PICKED THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE A BAD PROPOSAL. THEY DID SO IN THE MIDST OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH, WHEN WE CELEBRATE PEOPLE LIKE DR. BENJAMIN ELIJAH MAYS, CONGRESSMAN JAMES E. CLYBURN, FEDERAL JUDGE MATTHEW J, PERRY, AND STATE SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE ERNEST FINNEY; PEOPLE LIKE STATE REPRESENTATIVE JUANITA GOGGINS, RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL ABRAHAM TURNER AND NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE GREATS DONNIE SHELL AND HARRY CARLSON – ALL GRADUATES OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY.

THREE OF THE FOUR MEMBERS OF THE STATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE’S SUBCOMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION MADE A BAD AND OUTRAGEOUS PROPOSAL ON THE WEEK AFTER WE REMEMBERED HENRY SMITH, WILLIAM HAMMOND AND DELANO MIDDLETON, WHO WERE MURDERED BY MEMBERS OF OUR STATE’S HIGHWAY PATROL ON FEBRUARY 8, 1968 DURING THE FIGHT FOR HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS.

AS ANOTHER SCRIPTURE OF MY FAITH TRADITION SAYS, “THIS IS THE DAY THAT LET LORD HAS MADE, LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.” THIS IS THE DAY WHEN ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL, REGARDLESS OF SKIN COLOR OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, NEED TO STAND UP, DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND AND TELL THOSE WHO WOULD MESS OVER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE THAT WE WON’T STAND FOR IT, WE WON’T BACK UP AND WE WON’T TURN AROUND. THIS IS THE DAY WHEN THOSE OF US WHO LOVE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY SHOULD RESOLVE TO STAND BY THE INSTITUTION’S STUDENTS AND FACULTY, SO THAT THEY’LL KNOW THAT THEY DON’T FIGHT ALONE AND THAT THE “BULLDOG SPIRIT” STILL LIVES. THIS IS THE DAY TO LET THOSE WHO THINK THAT THEY CAN ARBITRARILY MESS OVER A VENERABLE INSTITUTION KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT JIM CROW SOUTH CAROLINA OF FIFTY YEARS AGO AND THAT EVEN IN THE YEAR 2015, THE OLD SAYING OF MY ANCESTORS IN THE FAITH IS STILL TRUE, “GOD STILL HAS ALL POWER, AND THE LORD DOES NOT LIKE UGLY.” THIS IS THE DAY FOR US TO RESOLVE TO STABILIZE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE, TO SEND THOSE WITH A “CONFEDERACY OF THE MIND” HOME ON ELECTION DAY IN 2016 AND TO SEE THAT FREEDOM AND JUSTICE ROLL LIKE MIGHTY RIVERS IN OUR STATE.

LET’S STAY ON THE CASE, LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE, LET’S SEE THAT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY IS ALIVE, WELL, ON TASK AND FAITHFUL TO HER MISSION. LET US DO SO AFFIRMING THE WORDS OF JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, “FACING THE RISING SUN OF A NEW DAY BEGUN, LET US MARCH ON TILL VICTORY IS WON,” AND LET US DO SO AFFIRMING THE WORDS THAT ARE DEAR TO ALL OF THOSE WHO LOVE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE, “HAIL, HAIL, DEAR ALMA MATER; HAIL, HAIL, DEAR S.C.C.; WE’LL DEFEND AND HONOR, LOVE AND CHERISH THEE!”

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State Supt. Molly Spearman doing a lot of good

Watch her four minute report on her first 30 days as State Superintendent of Education.

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Your Brain and Music Processing

For a long time scientists have known that music and academics are correlated. They are now tracking down how it is that music and other things (like words, emotions, movement, sights) are processed in the brain, and why and how hearing and performing and understanding music works in and affects the brain.

Here is a link to an article telling about music and vocal sounds (not words, but “dramatic screams, chuckles, sobs etc “) being processed in the same part of the brain. It was published, appropriately, on Friday the 13th!

Brain invasion: why music can frighten us

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Need your input-Rock Hill Schools Late Start Days

LateStartThe Rock Hill School District is administering a simple nine question survey regarding Late-Start days. Your name and contact information are not required. Parents and employees will take the survey, and all taxpayers, especially employers, need to be heard, so please click the link and take the survey. A short explanation follows the link.

Late Start Day Survey, Rock Hill Schools

Explanation of Late Start Days and survey:

PewFor some years, the Rock Hill Schools have begun school two hours later than usual on six or eight days throughout the school year. Though I have seen staff members using the time effectively for training, planning and collaboration, the value of these days has been questioned by students, parents, staff and employers of parents. And though schools are supposed to provide supervision for students who need to be dropped off at the usual time, some principals routinely deny that service to parents. There is a clear correlation between teacher collaboration and student achievement, but it is not clear that training needs to occur at a time which inconveniences the entire community. What’s more, communication about staff late start activities has been minimal, so most people have no idea what is going on and thus doubt its effectiveness. Superintendent Kelly Pew is surveying the community about Late-Start Days. You pay school taxes, so please click the link above and voice your opinion.

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Technology and Facilities, Possible Bond for Schools?

Jim Vining

Jim Vining

Yesterday Jim Vining was on Straight Talk with Andrew Kiel discussing long-term school maintenance and upgrades, student and technology needs for meeting state technology education requirements, and possible funding bonds and a May 5 referendum which would not raise taxes. Thanks to WRHI for school news. Click below to hear the half-hour interview.

 

Andrew Kiel

Andrew Kiel

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