Archive for the ‘Bessemer Academy’ Category

>I am embarrassed

September 8, 2009

>I am embarrassed for our country.

The fact that school administrators are not allowing their pupils to hear an inspiring, non-partisan message about the importance of education is bewildering. Oh, I’ve heard the right wingers saying he’s trying to deliver a subliminal message to indoctrinate our kids and all, sure – that’s to be expected from those folks. But I would think administrators in schools would have better judgement than to be swayed by the birther/deather/pro-dropouters.

By “pro-dropouters” I mean…well, wouldn’t it be ironic if the president’s speech did influence kids to stay in school, so that as the years go by, the number of kids who heard the president and stayed in school and went on to have productive lives is higher, and of the kids who did not hear the president a greater number drop out and become a burden on society?

Is it so bad that the kids might hear this? (from the President’s prepared remarks):

And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

That’s what it’s all about. Promoting education, promoting a learning attitude, to create a desire to better oneself through education.

Here is more from the prepared remarks the president will give.

Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

I decided to see what the area schools were doing so I made some phone calls this morning. This is what I heard from the person in the office of each school who answered the phone. The answers may or may not be official policy.

In Bessemer I called the superintendent’s office, but could get no further than answering machines. So I called each school.

At Jess Lanier, all students will watch the president.

Davis Middle School – They don’t have access in all the rooms, but some will watch and some will not. The administrator I spoke with then said “I don’t know anything about it.” (3 hours before the speech)

Abrams Elementary School – They are recording the speech to show later. They are going on with their regular instructional program during the day.

Hard Elementary – The person who answered the phone hung up on me.

Greenwood Elementary – They have not decided (3 hours before the speech). Referred me to the central office (where I had already tried but got a recording, I will try again.)

Jonesboro Elementary – I was referred to the librarian who said a decision had not been made, and when I asked when it might be since the speech was in 2-1/2 hours, she said goodbye and hung up on me.

Westhills Elementary – Will be set up so that teachers can show it if they choose to.

McAdory Elementary – No, and when I asked why, I was told “Because the principal said so.”

McAdory Middle School – It’s up to the teachers. They can show it but they cannot make any assignments about it.

McAdory High School – It’s the teacher’s option, and also the student’s option.

Bessemer Academy – Not showing. Then hesitatingly said that only the government class might show it, then said if other teachers want to show it they can.

Let me just add right here that the Bessemer school system needs to have some mandatory telephone skills and etiquette training for their employees, especially at Jonesboro elementary and Hard elementary.

On Fox News yesterday Newt Gingrich and others agreed that the speech is a good thing and that students should be allowed to watch it and then discuss it.

I have read the speech. There is nothing controversial, no policy promotion or anything like that. But even if there was, is it not good for students to hear different views on subjects and then discuss their viewpoints? Is that not what school and education is about?

Then there is this (don’t take it seriously).

Bessemer Academy

July 8, 2008

Here in Bessemer, for those who do not read the sports page, is an assertion that Mark Freeman, the former football coach at Bessemer Academy, was fired not because of financial matters but rather due to racial problems. Former players said white parents were upset because Freeman recruited too many black players and gave them too much playing time. As reported in The Birmingham News .

Brandon Heavens, a player who is transferring to Jess Lanier and who is committed to Auburn, also said his family was concerned about racial attitudes among some people, presumably authorities, at the school.

Harris Gaston, a former player who is committed to Auburn said he thinks it was about the black players that Freeman was bringing to the school.

Tavon Arrington, a player who is transferring to Hueytown said he believes that racial considerations played a role in the decision (along with money).

Julie Kelley, headmaster at the school, said race is not an issue at the school.

But Julie Kelley is not the school board, and they are the ones that answer to parents.

From what I know Bessemer Academy is a fine school and provides a quality education for students without regard to race. Former students speak highly of the school and instructors.

But let’s not forget that Bessemer Academy was founded in 1970. Without question, race played a role in the decision of those involved in creating the school. In 1970, schools and parents in Alabama were reacting to busing of students and integration. I remember it well, because I was a student at Berry High School and students were being bused in from the Shannon area. And parents of Berry kids who lived in Vestavia started a whole new school system. Regardless of what anyone says, race played a role in the creation of that school system, Bessemer Academy and all the other private schools that sprung up around then.

I have no reason to believe that race still plays a role in Bessemer Academy’s mission.

But it is entirely possible that some “old attitudes” could still be present among certain parents, who, when disappointed about their son’s lack of PT, fall back on blaming blaming black players. If so, they forget that the goal is to win games. As a team. If these parents were, say, big donors to the program or such, the board certainly might yield to their pressure to get rid of Freeman.

This is crazy, though, because a move that decreases the chances of a media grabbing successful season (because the program is not likely to be as successful) does nothing to increase their kids chances of getting noticed by college recruiters. Let’s see, what did mom used to say, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face?”

At any rate, Freeman got screwed. The players got screwed. The reputation of Bessemer Acedemy takes a hit. The football program takes a hit. Let’s hope the kids, the students, learn from this.

>Bessemer Academy

July 8, 2008

>Here in Bessemer, for those who do not read the sports page, is an assertion that Mark Freeman, the former football coach at Bessemer Academy, was fired not because of financial matters but rather due to racial problems. Former players said white parents were upset because Freeman recruited too many black players and gave them too much playing time. As reported in The Birmingham News .

Brandon Heavens, a player who is transferring to Jess Lanier and who is committed to Auburn, also said his family was concerned about racial attitudes among some people, presumably authorities, at the school.

Harris Gaston, a former player who is committed to Auburn said he thinks it was about the black players that Freeman was bringing to the school.

Tavon Arrington, a player who is transferring to Hueytown said he believes that racial considerations played a role in the decision (along with money).

Julie Kelley, headmaster at the school, said race is not an issue at the school.

But Julie Kelley is not the school board, and they are the ones that answer to parents.

From what I know Bessemer Academy is a fine school and provides a quality education for students without regard to race. Former students speak highly of the school and instructors.

But let’s not forget that Bessemer Academy was founded in 1970. Without question, race played a role in the decision of those involved in creating the school. In 1970, schools and parents in Alabama were reacting to busing of students and integration. I remember it well, because I was a student at Berry High School and students were being bused in from the Shannon area. And parents of Berry kids who lived in Vestavia started a whole new school system. Regardless of what anyone says, race played a role in the creation of that school system, Bessemer Academy and all the other private schools that sprung up around then.

I have no reason to believe that race still plays a role in Bessemer Academy’s mission.

But it is entirely possible that some “old attitudes” could still be present among certain parents, who, when disappointed about their son’s lack of PT, fall back on blaming blaming black players. If so, they forget that the goal is to win games. As a team. If these parents were, say, big donors to the program or such, the board certainly might yield to their pressure to get rid of Freeman.

This is crazy, though, because a move that decreases the chances of a media grabbing successful season (because the program is not likely to be as successful) does nothing to increase their kids chances of getting noticed by college recruiters. Let’s see, what did mom used to say, “Cutting off your nose to spite your face?”

At any rate, Freeman got screwed. The players got screwed. The reputation of Bessemer Acedemy takes a hit. The football program takes a hit. Let’s hope the kids, the students, learn from this.