Bonnie Henthorn, who last month appeared at the Tyler County Board of Education meeting with other parents and the Constitutional Advocate group that is against common core, was present at the board meeting Monday to once again address the board.
At last month's meeting Henthorn expressed her concerns with the quality of education being taught to her children and also her displeasure with the math and reading curriculum being used. She mentioned math in particular as being "fuzzy math" and spoke of her concern about the lack of notification she had received about her child being taken on a field trip. She also spoke against common core when she mentioned certain reading material that she was afraid could soon be entering the school system.
She appeared alone Monday, she said by choice. She said a lot of parents are taking heat from what was said at the last meeting, "so I agreed to take the heat for that delegation, that's why I'm here by myself. I come to you tonight to clarify some issues that apparently were not clear when I was here a few weeks ago. As I said that night, I don't believe I'm a great speaker and I tend to be a little blunt about things, but I'm very passionate about my kid's and their future."
Henthorn said that over these past few weeks there appear to be some misrepresentations and inaccurate statements presented by a host of people. "I hate that there are hurt feelings all around, from various people who either attended the last meeting I spoke at or who did not attend yet heard about it," she said. "It was never the intention of any parent, including myself, to offend anyone with the comments, as I repeatedly tried to direct the narrative fact to common core and not to the school board or the teachers. I, along with the other parents, came to the board last month to express concern over common core and not just the curriculum standards, but with everything it encompasses, including loss of local control, privacy, et cetera. The purpose of my talk that night was to let the board know that there is opposition within the county, and not just from me, but a lot of others."
She went on to say that her daughter struggles in school and she tells that story so the board can understand her perspective as a parent. She said that the teachers in school see events from an academic perspective, but with some personal stuff mixed in. She told the board, "There is no way for you to understand what my family has been through unless I tell you. I have never questioned the teachers' dedication or the fact they so do much for our children in the school. I saw these things firsthand over the past six years while I volunteered as boosters president. Although I'm not a teacher, I have seen everything that the school and the teachers do. And while I am not a school teacher, I do teach Sunday School regularly at my church, and I also put much effort into that. So I understand the reasons they do what they do and the extra efforts they provide, as I do that as well for my Sunday school class.
"With that being said, the teachers see much inside the classrooms, what they do not see is my child crying in the evenings as we work through homework that she doesn't understand. That is emotional to me because no mother wants to see her child cry. The same as my comments to the board were apparently emotional to some of those who heard them. My child is the reason I got involved in researching common core about three years ago," said Henthorn. "It's also why I felt qualified the last time to speak on this issue on behalf of myself and other parents, whose children struggle in much the same way as mine. Many children struggle and it's no fault of anyone, but in this particular case, I have personally identified the problem as being a common core curriculum. Once again not the teachers and not the school.
"My purpose for being here tonight is two-fold. Number one, I want to make it very clear once again that I nor any parent that I have spoken to have any desire to fight against you, we would much rather fight with you. Perhaps my appearance on social media has given some a different impression, but that is simply not the case. Some of you have access to my facebook page and you can see that I have not posted anything derogatory about our teachers, our schools, or our administration. Everything that I have posted has been in opposition to common core itself. All of these things have been posted as resources for other parents whose kids might be struggling and for those in the community who wonder what it's all about."
She said a second point that was probably the most important was that she wants to make it clear that the parents in the community do not want the state or federal government taking over our school or our school board. "We believe that local control and individual teachers should be the ones in charge," said Henthorn. "I grew up in this school system along with four brothers and sisters and I have always believed that we have superior schools. The public is willing to help you, the board, push back against government intervention, if that is what you want to do. If you do not, we want to raise awareness in the community that action needs to be taken at the legislative level. I hope this clarifies any confusion over the gossip and hurt feelings all around and I look forward to working with you, rather than against you, for the betterment of our kids."
Board President Linda Hoover thanked her for coming.
Superintendent Robin Daquilante spoke about a recent meeting of school superintendents. She said that she just wanted to let the board know the superintendents got into a conversation about board meetings and it appeared that a lot of local boards only have one meeting in December because of the holiday season. Discussion followed and it was decided if there is not a lot of business or something urgent does not need addressed, they may consider one meeting in December.
Under staff reports: The monthly attendance report showed that attendance was down in most of the county schools.
Approval of requests: Don Stokes was given approval for the Elks Lodge #333 to use the Sistersville Elementary School gym and cafeteria areas to hold the Elks youth hoop shoot on Dec. 1. Erin Blosser's request for her daughter, Addison Blosser to attend Tyler County Schools for the 2013-2014 school year was granted, pending release from Wetzel County Board of Education. Marjorie Wilcox's request for her son, Jason Wilcox, to be released from Tyler County Schools in order to attend Wetzel County Schools for the 2013-2014 school year was granted. James E. Mason was granted permission for the Tycon Knights Youth League to use the commons area and auditorium to hold an awards ceremony on Nov. 10.
Trip requests: Krista DeVaughn, SES Principal, was granted permission to take grades preschool through fifth to TCMS/HS for a band and choir Christmas concert on Dec. 19. Brian Bailey, SES music teacher, was granted his request to take the fourth and fifth grade choirs to the Parkersburg Mall to perform on Dec. 14.
Personnel requests: Lisa Bowen was granted her request for a 60-day extension to her unpaid leave of absence for medical reasons. Jeff Davis, treasurer, was granted his request to be paid his travel expenses to attend SASBO (South Eastern Association of School Business Officials) Leadership Summit in Savannah, Ga., in January.
Resignations, Eric McKeever, head wrestling coach, Tyler Consolidated Middle School effective immediately, was granted.
Employments or transfers: Katrina Byers, Nicole Hendershot, Miranda Nichols, Margie Shepherd, and Sarah Tallman, substitute aides, countywide, effective Nov. 6; Tracy Koontz, Cook II, to fill a temporary position resulting from an approved leave of absence, effective Nov. 5; Tony Wince, substitute mechanic, transportation department, effective Nov. 5. All the above were approved.
All board members were present with the exception of Larry Thomas. The minutes of the Oct. 21 meeting were approved.
Motion was made and approved to pay all bills. The next regular meeting will be held on Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tyler County Board of Education Office located at Tyler Consolidated High School.