Folks, facts are facts, Cleveland County Schools were mostly shut down for one full year. Especially the upper grades. Especially High Schools. Because of the CO.VID pandemic!!!
Another fact is, before the COVID, 46% of all graduating students could NOT Read, Write, do arithmetic or science at a proficient 9th grade level. Remember, that Was BEFORE COVID. Many graduating seniors could not sign their paychecks (could not write in cursive), even if they were fortunate enough to find jobs, BEFORE COVID. Many could NOT count to 100. BEFORE COVID.
High School Carpentry students DIDN’T know how to read a tape measure. Before COVID. History? Forget about History! Common Core and “Revisionist” History took care of REAL History. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are soiled property in the NEW History. To go along with the NEW Math, I suppose. It goes on and on. And all of that was BEFORE COVID. And 46% of graduating seniors were NOT proficient at the 9th Grade level. BEFORE COVID.
I keep saying BEFORE COVID! BEFORE COVID! BEFORE COVID! Because our Cleveland County Schools was failing to properly educate about half our students to begin with!!! What about all our students that graduated this past week??? Where do they stand with their education??? And, what about all the students in the CCS pipeline that missed so much time in the classroom this past year???.
My answer to that is “I don’t know!!!” And I don’t know because nobody at Cleveland County Schools will tell me. Or anybody else for that matter. Probably because THEY don’t know either.
For the past eight or nine YEARs I have attended or watched the videos for every CCS school board meeting. 100%!!! (By the way, where were you?) I paid attention and took lots of notes. Some of the school board meeting videos show me sitting up front taking notes. I can prove that I was there. (Again, what about you??)
After all this time, I have developed a “skill” in determining where the problems are at Cleveland County Schools, Commissioner’s Meetings, etc. All of them like to brag about how good they are. For instance, at every school board meeting, about the first third of the meeting time, often more time, is spent on recognizing this person for this, another person for that. And so on. The entire Shelby High School Football Team and pother teams on occasion fill the auditorium with the team and their parents. When all the cheerleading and picture takings are done, they all go home and often I am the only member of the public still there waiting for the School Board to get down to their business.
But, if there are problems, and there are always problems, the school board never gets down to business and talks about the problems. Except for school board member Danny Blanton. And, they work hard to shut him down as quickly as possible. Old School board as well as the new school board under Chairman Robert “Luke” Queen. All they want to do is shut down Danny Blanton from bringing up any problems. Even though you have to identify problems if you ever hope to fix problems.
What I have learned is this. The Cleveland County School Board will NOT discuss problems. It is not what they DO talk about, it is what they DON’T talk about in open session is where the problems are. Educational Problems especially.
I have never heard any school board member, except Blanton, talk about the 46% of graduating seniors NOT being able to do reading, writing, math and science proficiently at a 9th grade level. Before COVID, During COVID and after COVID. I stumbled upon that 46% record deep in school records while looking for something else. I mention it now and then in various articles, but the school boards-old and new-always ignores this fact. Sometimes Danny Blanton brings it up, but it gets shut-down quickly.
NOW, graduations are over and the partying is over too. What is NOT over is any discussion of test scores for the 2021 Graduating Seniors. Those discussions have never begun. So, WHAT has happened???
Did Cleveland County Schools just pass everybody in the senior classes and sent them on their merry way out into the real world without a proper education? What about the 8th, nineth, tenth and eleventh grade kids that misses a full year’s worth of education? How will that part of their education ever be made up.
OHhhh!! Some, like Superintendent Stephen Fisher, would say, they didn’t miss anything. They had computers and they did “virtual learning.” (Besides the Free Summer Schools for all that has been put into place without public discussion.)
Virtual Learning, Virtual learning, Virtual learning!!!. If Virtual learning is the way to go, just do away with all the teachers, school buses and school buildings too, for that matter. Let the computers do all the teaching right in the student’s own homes. (Forgetting, of course, that not all kids have access to the internet.) But you also have to forget that every teacher, and school administrator will tell you about how good their “virtual Learning” programs are. And then say, “virtual learning” can never replace in-place classroom (school teacher taught classroom) learning. If that is so, the “virtual learning” for the past full year was pretty much wasted to begin with. Has Cleveland County Schools “dumbed-down” the tests so they can hide their many educational failures for this past year, on top of their educational failures all along-before COVID and after COVID too.
And, what do our good and wonderful School Board say about all of this???
Nothing!!! They have better things to do that worry about the mis-education of our children. They have been busy trying to figure out ways to cut the number of School Board meetings in half, while at the same time raise their own salaries as School Board members. I bet you didn’t know about this new shenanigan coming out of Luke Queen and his NEW School Board.
Trusted sources report that Luke Queen, Chairman of the Cleveland County School Board, has sought permission from the Cleveland County Commissioners to raise school board pay to 75% of Cleveland County Commissioner’s pay. Which is around $20,000 per year per Commissioner. That would result in a School Board salary of $15,000 per year per school board member.
Since School Board member pay WAS $150 per meeting and there USED to be two school board meetings per month, NOW cut to ONE School Board meetings per month-I bet YOU didn’t know that (Ha! Ha! Ha!!!)-the School Board member pay would be increased by 588%. Or $1,250 per meeting. Or $833.33 per hour!!! PER MEMBER and there are 9 school board members. That is a $135,000 payroll for the entire school board per year. Enough to hire three or maybe four entry level teachers. Or, maybe 10 or 12 school bus drivers or teacher’s aides.
Trusted sources say the Cleveland County Commissioners shot down Luke Queen on this pay increase scheme. For himself and the other school board members. (Way to go, Commissioners!!!)
Since Luke Queen’s appointment to the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees runs out this year. And the Commissioners appointed him. My suspicions are the Commissioners are seriously questioning Luke Queen’s lack of judgement, as Luke’s reappointment to the CCC BoT would seriously question the Commissioner judgement. If the commissioners, especially those that are running for re-election in 2022, have any sense, they will be ALL be seriously searching for a replacement for Robert “Luke” Queen as a CCC BoT member appointment this year. And, the Republican Party had better be seeking a good batch of Cleveland County School Board candidates for both the 2022 and 2024 School Board elections. Luke and Company have screwed us over once. It won’t happen again!!!
PS: Folks, if it weren’t for trusted sources, we would know very little about the doings of our Cleveland County governmental agencies. Like the Commissioners. The School Board and the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees. I do my part in protecting their identity so they will NOT be retaliated against. We ALL must do our duty in taking this information and demanding better, honest, transparent and accountable services from those in charge of those agencies. Or, in getting rid of them at election times. Stay tuned and be ever ready to do your part. Inform yourself. Run for office. And vote at every election.