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SG-W:/ Unwise env ed budget cut proposed for AA Public Schools
- Subject: SG-W:/ Unwise env ed budget cut proposed for AA Public Schools
- From: Dan Ezekiel <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 13:40:12 -0500
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
Here is a copy of an email I sent to some of my fellow A2 teachers.
I believe this is also of concern to all A2 residents who care about the
environmental attitudes and awareness of the next generation of citizens:
See below a message from David Szczygiel, the Ann Arbor Public
Schools' outstanding Environmental Education Specialist, about his position
being cut for next school year! This must not be allowed to happen.
We need to take quick action to prevent this unwise cut. Our model
should be the 5th grade music program, which was also slated to be cut next
year, a plan the Board of Education abandoned after encountering a stone
wall of community opposition.
Please note that the administration's position that cutting Dave's
job does not hurt the environmental ed. program; they expect Joe Riley and
Janet Kahan to somehow take up the slack (and also keep butterfly
chrysalises, anoles, crawfish, etc., supplied to the classrooms). This is
absurd and will not work, but when teachers and parents complain next year,
the administration can claim that the science dept. did a poor job of doing
'less with more'. Dave fears that if we complain about his position being
cut, the administration will offer to cut Janet's instead.
Our message needs to be simple: "LEAVE THE SCIENCE AND
ENVIRONMENTAL ED. DEPARTMENTS ALONE!" The environmental ed field trips
have been running in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for almost 40 years.
They were started by Bill Stapp, who went on to become a world-famous
environmental educator, chair of the United Nations Environmental Ed
Program, founder of the global river monitoring program GREEN. He is now
gravely ill. This cut dishonors him and his lifetime work. It is also
ironic that the board will take input about cutting environmental ed during
the week of Earth Day!
The time is short; the board will probably take action on this
proposal May 9th. Here are four actions you can take to help prevent this
unwise cut and save environmental ed. in Ann Arbor for many years to come:
1. Attend a meeting at the Ecology Center, moderated by the
Center's Rebecca Kanner, to plan the campaign. The meeting will be held
from 7:30-9:00 p.m. on Monday, April 23. The Ecology Center is at 117 N.
Division, near E. Huron. You can park in the Ann Arbor News parking lot.
The meeting will be in the basement meeting room.
2. Forward this email to other concerned staff members you know.
3. Publicize this situation. Write letters to the editor of the
AA News, talk to your students and their parents and make them aware of
what they stand to lose (see below). Encourage supportive parents to email
or (especially) call school board members (see list below). Judging by the
5th grade music campaign, parent contacts with board members are the most
effective in influencing a board decision. Board members who we
particularly need to sway include Karen Cross, Bob Rasmussen, and Henry
McQueen. It is also important to forward emails to the Superintendent
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and Assistant Superintendent Fornero
4. Reserve time to speak at the April 25 board meeting. Call
Karen Mimikos at 994-2232 and tell your name. You will have 4 minutes to
speak during the public commentary, early in the meeting. If we can get
parents and students to speak at the board meetings about what they have
gained from the work of the sci and env ed specialists, this will be
especially effective. I believe that the students who spoke at BOE
meetings about 5th grade music were particularly effective.
Thank you for your help. Time is short, and defeat is not an option.
Dan Ezekiel, Forsythe Middle School teacher, Pioneer and Bach
parent, Bach, Slauson, Tappan, and Pioneer alumnus.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAM CUTS--UPDATE
Based on the board meeting last Wednesday, the administration's proposed
plan is to cut my position and send me back to a classroom without cutting
the entire EE program. (The loss of my position would severely impact the
Trustee Browning made it clear that this would cut directly into student
experience and that he was opposed to directly cutting student programing.
Bill mentioned my name and Janet Kahan's name to make it clear who's face
it was to get cut and who would attempt to carry on the EE program. (The
administration initially only provided numbers and not names).
Trustee Browning also stated that the program could not be carried by one
person alone. He continued to express his opposition to cutting even part
student connect/curriculum connect program.
If you could send a letter supporting the EE program to the superintendent
and BOE members, I think it would be helpful. Below is a list of what you
can do, important points to make, and the addresses of key decision making
Thanks again for all the support you give this program. I think we have
served the community well in EE's 40 year history:)
Hopefully this BOE will allow us to continue educating all children about
Here is what you can do
1. Speak at a Board meeting.
To be a speaker at the Board of Education meetings, call Karen Mimikos at
994-2232 and tell your name. You will have 4 minutes to speak during the
public commentary (EARLY in the meeting.)
Next Board meetings: April 25, May 9.
2. Write a letter to the board; mail it to each board member (addresses
enclosed), cc it George Fornero, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, at
Balas, Dr. Fornero is our administrator.
3. Speak to parents.
Your own voice and concerns are most important to express. Also, here are
some points that could be made:
o serves all students
o curriculum is articulated, coordinated and written down. We use
nationally recognized units whenever possible.
o provides a common base of experience for all students
o K-8 has a rich, activity based program, with multiple opportunities
for reading, writing activities that also serve Language Arts goals.
Centrally coordinated live animals spark interest at many grade levels.
o the high schools have a coordinated curriculum, with common
objectives, based on the state framework
provides focused inservice for teachers. New to grade level
teachers have opportunities each year to learn their units. On-going
inservice for all teachers helps teachers build an understanding of science
concepts and effective strategies for engaging students. Teachers can get
help when they need it.
o district has high achievement, well above the state average.
5th grade Science MEAP District 54.8% proficient State 43 %
8th gr. Science MEAP District 45% State 24.2%
HS Science MEAP among top in the state
o serves all students K - 6
o develops an ethic of environmental stewardship and appreciation
o provides a common base of experience for all students
o tied to the curriculum and based on the state framework
o uses local resources such as Pioneer, Thurston and Scarlett Woods;
teaches about local infrastructure such as drinking water and waste disposal
o highly engaging for students, and builds community support for schools
o has an excellent track record for safety, smooth operation for more
than 40 years
o takes only 1 and 1/2 people to serve whole district K-6
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