“Old guard” incumbents on County school board face challengers

Marianne Slade-Troutman, who has served on the Nevada County Board of Education for 34 years, and Jack Meeks, who has served on the board for 20 years, will get some needed competition on November 4.

The County School Board has become a shining example of “good old boy/girl”politics in our community, with undercurrents of tea-party politics, and it’s time for a shakeup.

The new challengers include Larry Meek, a retired educator who has served as principal of Nevada Union  High School in the ’80s. He also has been president of the 49er Breakfast Rotary Club of Nevada City.

John Givens, of Nevada City, also is running for the County school board. He has been a member of the Friends of Nevada City Elementary School.

Michelle Sexton, of Penn Valley, also is running. Michelle has been a local educator in the County schools.

Slade-Troutman, incumbent Bob Alteri, Meek and Givens are running for Nevada County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1. Two slots are open. Meeks and Sexton are running for Trustee Area 2. One slot is open. (See screen grab below). Let’s hope voters don’t confuse the names Meek and Meeks.

Our schools are the latest target of the hard right, with the Common Core standards being used at a battering ram. The schools also have been subject to political antics, such as micromanaging the expense account of the Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen.

Examining “which condiments she used on her hamburger”

Hermansen won re-election, defeating Paul Haas, who was supported by the tea-party contingent in our community. Hermansen is a Democrat, but she won support from GOPers, including Nate Beason and Ed Scofield on the County Board of Supervisors.

“It would seem board members Slade-Troutmann and Meeks will not be content until the superintendent accounts for which condiments she used on her hamburger or until they learn the identities, backgrounds, and political affiliations of those with whom she may have had contact at education conferences,” as a resident wrote in a letter to The Union.

“The election’s over, but both board members seem unable to accept the results. Hint: your candidate lost. Deal with it and stop the petty behavior you seem so adept at exhibiting.” This week Hermansen voluntarily submitted her monthly expense account to the board.

As reported previously, a tea party-backed group called “Americans for Good Government” is seeking to fill nonpartisan posts in our community with like-minded candidates.

“Americans for Good Government” plans to fill 60 open seats on boards and commissions throughout the County with like-minded candidates to “build a strong farm team for elevation to local office, while affecting local policy and fiscal matters,” with support from the tea party, McClintock supporters and others.

The background is here.

This November is a good opportunity for the “silent majority” in our community to “Take Back Our Schools” (to borrow a tea-party term) from the political shenanigans that has been going on.

I am not active in politics, having only donated to one local campaign: Clerk-recorder Greg Diaz when he was challenged by a less qualified candidate, Barry Pruett, whose backers had politicized the race beyond belief.

Like Hermansen, Diaz was being targeted for being a Democrat (or “left-wing” in the words of Congressman Tom McClintock).

In our family we’d rather donate to the nonprofits than political campaigns — and do. But when our schools become subject to a similar vein of politics as the Clerk-Recorder’s race, I’d consider jumping back into the game with a contribution or endorsement. Parents are like that. And I’m batting 1-for-1.

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 10.43.11 AM

CABPRO: It’s baack! And full of hateful rhetoric

Here’s the April cover of the CABPRO newsletter. (The NS-Frauen-Warte, pictured below, was the Nazi magazine for women. Also be sure to check out page 11, where the newsletter mocks the crash of Malaysian Flight 370, which has disappeared with 227 passengers from 14 nations. The image is a picture of the plane and the crew from TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, with the caption “The plot thickens,” shown at the bottom of this post).

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 10.29.27 PM

EDITOR’S LETTER Melinda Monaghan

“You won’t be getting this copy of the CABPRO News on April 1st, so you can rest assured it’s not an April Fool’s issue!

“Kirk (Pharis), Kim (Janousek) and I would like to thank all of the members who showed up at the March 17th Special Membership meeting to support us. Well over a quorum came out and voted to continue with CABPRO as an organization, and voted unanimously to have Kirk, Kim and I continue our leadership as the Board of Directors.

“During that same meeting, a number of the members also signed a petition requesting another Special Meeting to be held in order for the membership to vote on completely severing all ties between Mr. Chuck Shea and CABPRO. That meeting date is still to be determined. There will be no April General Membership meeting.

“As we’ve said before, we are dedicated to moving CABPRO forward and continuing its mission of education and activism on local issues of concern.

“This month CABPRO has pledged its support to Jan Collins of Common Core Concerns, who has put together a Common Core Community Town Hall on April 29th at the Grass Valley Elks Lodge.

“We urge all of you to attend, even if you have no children in public schools at this time. Common Core is NOT a state-sponsored education initiative; it was developed by three NGO’s at the federal level, and states were seduced into accepting it as their education model by monies granted to them under the now-infamous TARP bailout.

“I can’t stress enough how important this issue is. Our system of public education has been going downhill for years; we are even scoring below some Third World countries, which is appalling, and Common Core will only make it worse. It is nothing more than a systematic brain-washing of our children so they will meekly accept government control over their lives. It is frightening that this could be acceptable in this country.”


BTW, for needed balance, an article titled, “Understanding Common Core State Standards,” by Shar Johns and Kathleen Kiefer of the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office is here:

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Enter the Common Core State Standards. In 2009, after years of declining student achievement, rising high school and college dropout rates, and students entering but unable to compete in the global job market, these new, national standards were offered to states as a way to place our students on an equal path toward academic success and college and career readiness.

“The standards were informed by: the best state standards already in existence, the experience of teachers, content experts, states, and leading thinkers, and feedback from the public. On August 2, 2010, the California State Board of Education adopted the standards after lengthy discussion and public input.

“These new standards differ from the California Standards we’ve known for the past 17 years because they ask us to focus on evidence of student learning, helping students raise their literacy levels, teaching higher level thinking skills, fostering learning confidence and independence, and teaching fewer concepts more deeply at each grade level.

“As educators, we hear from parents and community members every day, and everyone wants the same thing for their children: to learn the skills necessary to be prepared for college or career, to be competitive in a 21st Century global market , and to become competent thinkers and contributing members of our society. This is exciting, since this is exactly what the Common Core State Standards emphasize.

“What are the Common Core Standards? They are a set of expectations that students are expected to learn at each grade level. The standards are NOT a curriculum. In a recent Union article Jan Collins was quoted as saying, ‘The curriculum should be under local control because nobody knows our children and our students more than the teachers that teach them every day.’ We could not agree more.

“Lucky for us, the Common Core Standards establish what students need to learn, but do not dictate the curriculum used or how teachers should teach. Those decisions are determined solely by our local districts.

“How will our students benefit from a national set of standards? For decades, students in every state have been held to vastly different sets of expectations, some states more rigorous than others.

“As a child who moved to five different states during my K-12 education, as many in our military are required to do, I can tell you that it has a profound impact on a student’s ability to transition successfully into new learning environments.

“Parents have concerns that our students are not entering the work force or college prepared to compete globally, and yet we have not held our students to the same set of real world expectations across our United States. These standards unite our states with a common set of expectations, but leave the curriculum and how those standards are taught to local control.

“Are the Common Core Standards abandoning classical literature and basic arithmetic? Absolutely not. In fact, the English Language Arts standards require analysis of rich literature, as well as developing skills in critical thinking, reading, writing and speaking across the curricular areas.

“The emphasis of teaching literacy does not fall solely to English teachers. In math, the Common Core Standards focus on procedural and problem solving strategies, while demanding mastery and automaticity with basic facts, algorithms, and the understanding of critical arithmetic skills. By focusing on fewer topics in a more in depth way, students learn to think, not just memorize and regurgitate facts.

“Our job is to educate our children for tomorrow’s challenges. To quote an unknown author, ‘You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.’

“The Common Core Standards are an example of a transformative and powerful change for our students. As Benjamin Franklin and our Founding Fathers discovered, great change can bring a peak of unease, frustration and resistance, but is often tempered by the promise of amazing possibilities on the other side: the possibilities for ‘improvement, achievement, and success.'”

Source: Page 11, CABPRO April newsletter
Source: Page 11, CABPRO April newsletter