Dear Mrs. Wingert's Class,
Thank you so much for taking an interest in the issues affecting our schools and city.
Sincerely, Ines Segert
How does the School Board help decide what curriculum students learn in school?
Curriculum decisions are the most important ones that a school board can make. Bad curricula carry a very heavy educational, as well as financial, cost to our students and community.
I think the way the math curriculum is chosen is a good example of how the process currently works. There is an Math Department within the Columbia Public School Administration that is primarily responsible for deciding which curriculum is used in all schools. There are separate Task Forces for Elementary( K-5) and Secondary (6-12) Decisions. The task forces select the textbooks and organize the training that will be given to help teachers use the textbooks. Members of the task force also periodically present data on student achievement to school board members.
Currently, the school board has simply accepted recommendations of the task forces, despite evidence that performance of our students is significantly hurt by the current curricula and complaints from hundreds of students, parents and teachers.
Given a demonstrably unsuccessful and unpopular curricula, it is the obligation of school board members to intervene. School board members ultimately have the final say by voting to accept or reject task force proposals.
How will you ALL work together to improve Columbia and Boone County?
I think that it is very important for school board members to work as partners with other city and county organizations such as the Columbia City Council, Pednet, The mayor's office, Planning and Zoning Boards , and The Boone County Commissioner's Office. We are all part of the same community and have a lot to share and learn from each other. I would like to institute regular meeting between members of those organizations to improve the way we plan for such things as new schools and developments.
JOHN G. CLARK FOR CITY COUNCIL (CONT).
How does the city and county decide what streets get salted/plowed during bad weather?
The City Council recently adopted a new three-tiered plan to decide which streets to work on first. Critical streets get attention first, then secondary streets, and then the rest of the streets. What is done depends on whether there is snow or ice and on how much snow or ice. I think the City Council has made good start on deciding which streets get attention first.
What is the City Council doing to positively promote ideas for building a better downtown?
The City Council is considering a proposal to create a Downtown Leadership Council to guide a planning process for building a better downtown. This a good idea. In part it came out of the Visioning Project and in part from the Sasaki and Avenue of the Elms Planning projects, both of which suggested that the next step in building a better downtown was to plan how to build a better downtown for the whole downtown.
The Downtown Leadership Council is supposed to be a non-governmental and non-institutional) body. Unfortunately, the city staff has proposed creation of a Downtown Leadership Council that is dominated by governmental and institutional players. I will support a different composition for the Downtown Leadership Council.