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Archive for Friday, March 23, 2007

Morgan taps parental experience

March 23, 2007

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Lawrence school board candidate Scott Morgan said the board needs to encourage parents to become more involved in their child's school.

"Being a parent, I know that we can be a royal pain - and to some it's an art form," Morgan said.

But parents need to be encouraged and welcomed by Lawrence's school board, administrators and teachers, said Morgan, who is among eight candidates running in the April 3 election for four seats on the board.

"I think it's important that parents are viewed as partners," he said.

Morgan, 49, and his wife, Kathleen, have an inside track on local schools - their three children are spread among elementary, junior high and high schools. They also have a high school exchange student from Norway living with them this year.

Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press, a local publishing company, also has four years of experience on the school board, having served from 1999 to 2003.

He lost a re-election attempt in 2003, following a board decision to close several elementary schools where enrollments had steeply declined.

"I am running for a very simple reason, and that is I have a deep commitment to the community and to its kids," he said. "We have 10,000 kids in our school district, and each one of them deserves an absolutely stellar education. We have the ability to give it to them, if we want to.

"There's no great glory for being on the school board," he said. "But it's a job where I think I bring the passion, the dedication, the independence and the support necessary."

Morgan also said teachers need to have the resources to succeed.

He recently went to a few parent-teacher conferences and said he was struck by the professionalism of local teachers.

Attracting and retaining quality teachers involves more than just salary, he said.

"Money is a big part of it," he said. "But I do know, when it comes to keeping a job, we're in competition with more than just other schools. We're in competition with other professions."

The district needs to make sure that quality teachers know they are appreciated and wanted, he said.

In terms of the district offering all-day kindergarten, Morgan said the Kansas Legislature controls most of the revenue that comes to the district.

"It has to be in place before we can take money away from things such as teachers' salaries, classified (salaries), activities and other programs that we offer to many of the other kids," he said.

He said some of the district's elementary buildings don't have room for all-day kindergarten programs, so more space would be needed in those buildings. He said the district could look at offering it at some schools.

However, if all-day kindergarten is made available, he said he would support it being optional so parents could continue sending their child only half days.

Comments

kramdorf 7 years, 9 months ago

The school board ever saying they "encourage" parental involvement is similar to the thin veneer of "southern hospitality" that hides the deeply imbedded prejudice that exists in most of the deep south. The words are all right, but there are just so many actions that contradict the words. In the case of our educators, these are actions that go back to their Union roots, (NEA), and their belief that they are the "experts" and parents are just a necessary evil they must smile at and be toleratd. This opinion comes from years of experience at all levels of our school system, including both formal interactions and the more informal, or friend to friend conversations with local educators at all levels. I know and have personally experienced the exceptions to this rule throughout my years, but these have truly been the exception. Mr. Morgan, I applaud your optimism, and I am certain you will get much support for this issue, on the surface, while at the same time there will be those who will do whatever possible to prevent you from being elected; especially if you are serious about putting teeth to your words.

costello 7 years, 9 months ago

kramdorf:

I actually had an administrator at my son's school say those exact words to me: "You come down here telling us how to do our job, and we're the experts."

Schools and teachers have little interest in treating parents as partners. They hold any parent who doesn't agree 100% with their methods in contempt.

Baille 7 years, 9 months ago

Scott Morgan was on the school board a few years back during a time that I had a specific interest in a couple of issues under consideration. I know that there were some contentious issues before the board at that time, but during those meetings Scott Morgan appeared to me to be very disinterested in hearing what the people had to say.

Both he and Sue Morgan (no relation) seemed to be to be very dismissive of several people who had come to make comments and at times appeared to be visibly annoyed with some of the speakers.

Maybe I caught him at a (few) bad time(s), but Scott is going to have to do a lot more than just say he cares about parents and their concerns for me to start believing it.

avoice 7 years, 9 months ago

Educators (teachers and administrators alike), listen up! These posters are dead-on!! There is a nationwide exodus from public schools to charter, private and {gasp} homeschooling. No need to wonder why. Parents are customers, schools are businesses. A business that doesn't care about its customer loses its customer.

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