Big Crowd at Olympic Heights for School District Forum

crowd2
An estimated 400 people showed up to the school district’s event at Olympic Heights High School on Lyons Road north of Glades. The meeting was for discussing the school board’s Resolution on Accountability. Slides from the presentation are at the bottom of this article.
school-forum1
The resolution has mysteriously disappeared from the school district website, and of course they ran out of English language copies of it. Plenty of Spanish language ones were available. However we were able to find a copy of it online at Diane Ravitch’s blog.
The resolution is lengthy but basically it seeks to limit the impact of testing on education. We give credit to the school district staff for keeping their presentation reasonably brief, and then allowing the audience members to speak.
crowd1
Many of the audience commenters were teachers, though there were also students and parents. The group below spoke toward the end of the event.
students2
An Olympic Heights junior, below, spoke early on.
oh-high-student
And this 5th grader spoke well about the pressure of testing and the uncomfortable experience it has been for her.
5th-grader
There were other kids in the audience:
kids
One of the teachers who spoke identified himself as the chair of West Boca High’s Language Arts Department, Noel Levin.
wbhs-lang-arts-chair
Generally the speakers read from prepared statements and were well received by the audience. The main complaints seemed to be about testing, curricula, and teacher pay. The “Common Core” buzzword came up repeatedly.
teacher-comment1
It seemed that a couple of things were missing. First, while the complaints were coherent, there did not seem to be a clear solution. Second, the resolution and much of the comments addressed federal and state issues beyond the power of the school board, but there was virtually no presence from state and federal officials.
There was one exception to that, as State Rep. Irving Slosberg took the microphone and gave a rousing speech encouraging people to vote out Rick Scott and the Republicans in Tallahassee and “change the management” in state government.

Irving Slosberg (far left); School Board candidate Tom Sutterfield 2nd from right
Irving Slosberg (far left); Board candidate Sutterfield 2nd from right

We spoke with Slosberg outside. We asked whether the problems people are complaining about (testing, curricula, common core, etc.) were brought about by both parties and he didn’t answer that directly. He focused on teacher pay, blaming Republicans for it being so low. We also asked about Charlie Crist’s role in the FCAT and Slosberg said that was in the past. He clearly did not like our questions and stuck to his partisan message. Regardless, we appreciate that he showed up and so did the audience.
A few other state and federal elected officials live close by but didn’t come. Early on we “tweeted” to Ted Deutch and Kevin Rader on Twitter but they did not respond.
oh-rader-deutch-twitter
Slides from the presentation are below:
[gview file=”http://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/slides.pdf”]