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Project-based learning draws reaction at Mecklenburg trustees’ meeting
SoVaNow.com / May 22, 2013The Mecklenburg County School Board and the school system staff heard from speakers on both sides of the project-based learning controversy, among other citizen comment, at their May meeting.
Park View middle school students MaKenna Todd and Morgan Young shared the reasons they do not like project-based learning. The two said that it does not teach students to be leaders. In addition, students are more focused on “doing projects” instead of being focused on the subject that is being taught. They also did not approve of the new class schedule, claiming that it required SOL subjects to be learned in half the time. Todd ended the presentation telling Trustees, “Maybe you should be more concerned with students learning and understanding rather than the method.”
Leroy Malsbury, a member of the custodial staff at Chase City Elementary School shared a number of problems he and others have faced since the school board outsourced its janitorial work to Service Solutions.
Malsbury, who has nine years of experience with the custodial staff, said “In my opinion they [Service Solutions] haven’t fulfilled their obligations.”
Malsbury said the company failed to have sufficient chemicals or equipment needed to ready the schools for opening at the start of the school year, ran out of cleaning supplies on “numerous occasions” during the school year, and even allowed Chase City Elementary School to run out of toilet paper on more than one occasion.
Malsbury said Services Solutions ignored promises made to custodial staff, including that their pay and work hours would remain unchanged. He said, “Hours are changed, sometimes with same-day notice, and my salary will go down to $6,000 next year.” He previously made nearly $16,000.
Malsbury chastised the school board for its “voting to hire Service Solutions after acknowledging that most failed to read the contract and for their lack of follow-up and checking” to see if the company was performing according to the contract.
Ellen Royster said she was “disappointed with school board” for several reasons. “You were put there by the voters with high expectations to look out for the best interest of our children and school system. How can you sit there and feel good?”
She shared her daughter’s concern with material on one of her ninth grade SOL tests. Royster claimed the material was never covered in class. She also speculated that perhaps the students would have been better prepared had they had a certified science teacher.
Earlier in the evening, Mecklenburg County Schools head personnel, Nan Alga, answering questions from Trustee Sandra Tanner, explained that the reason so many teachers were being shifted between positions and schools was to address the very issue raised by Royster. The school system was attempting to place teachers in positions consistent with their certifications.
Finally, Royster criticized Trustee Thomas Bullock and Dora Garner for attending the national school board meeting in California. Royster said, “I hope you learned something that could help the county and school system. I don’t know who paid for that trip, but certainly hope it wasn’t me.”
Teresa Ligon was the one speaker who spoke positively about many of the changes implemented in the past year. She said, “My son spoke earlier this evening with the FFA group. It is encouraging to see him passionate about something. He doesn’t do well with academics and this is great to see him passionate.”
She also thanked Trustee Dale Sturdifen for his work with the newly started archery program. This program has been most beneficial for another of her sons who has special needs.
To all those who object to project-based learning, Ligon said, “There is a lot of controversy about the program. I don’t know about you, but the things I remember the most from school had a project involved with them. She thanked the school for the improvements and challenged those involved with project-based learning to find a way to get more creative.
CommentsProject Based Learning has segregated teachers and students at Parkview Middle School. They have their own sets of rules, go on endless field trips while the kids in the other classes have gone on none. HAd their own separate awards ceremony...a split in the school. Another overrated program. And what about PBL's SOL scores? Let's see them in comparison to the other students.
- By Disgusted Citizen on 05 / 22 / 13
CommentsThe field trips these kids went on were funded by a grant written by the teachers. Maybe you should ask why the other teachers didn't care enough to write a grant. SOL scores will come back higher, that's a guarantee.
- By Maybe research before you comment on 05 / 27 / 13
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