A Berkeleyside reader who attended last night’s Berkeley High PTSA meeting with BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett and other school board members emailed some of her impressions:

I thought tonight’s meeting was very good.
It really got complicated; then we all realized that is part of the problem –
the system as it is now is just TOO complicated. And this kind of thing is
really complex in the first place.
Then it was explained that
–laws change,
–BSEP was another factor to adjust for (legalistically)
–and Mr. Huyett finally said, “Look, we are looking for a way to move
forward.” And someone said “Yes, but we have to understand where we are coming
from.” And he agreed, and we slogged onward, and it all got clearer. I thought
it was very productive. A lot of VERY smart and involved parents, no easy
answers but a need for clarity and better structures. I think Huyett, Issel
and Selawsky were all interested to hear from everyone and basically all the
questions were good ones.
So the big question of the night was…where was Jim Slemp? This meeting was
scheduled around HIM. He was nowhere to be seen.
Also Huyett alluded to the fact that something has been worked out around
science labs and a letter would go out soon. And that was also told to me by a
science teacher. Just happened today. So let’s wait for the letter.
BTW – it was great with no Slemp. I think parents were freer to just speak,
which they did, often articulately but also sometimes in a kind of befuddled
way and that was fine too. It felt safe to be befuddled, or whatever, because
it is hard to figure this stuff out. And some people were really really smart
or insightful; you could tell because Huyett would really nod (not just the
public servant nod.)
It was satisfying the way good hard work should be satisfying.
And it is about trust – because we have to trust that they (the Policy Cmte.
and the school board)  will fix this mess.
Good night!

I thought tonight’s meeting was very good.

It really got complicated; then we all realized that is part of the problem — the system as it is now is just TOO complicated. And this kind of thing is really complex in the first place.

Then it was explained that laws change, that BSEP was another factor to adjust for (legalistically), and Mr. Huyett finally said, “Look, we are looking for a way to move forward.” And someone said, “Yes, but we have to understand where we are coming from.” And he agreed, and we slogged onward, and it all got clearer.

I thought it was very productive. A lot of VERY smart and involved parents, no easy answers but a need for clarity and better structures. I think Huyett, Issel and Selawsky were all interested to hear from everyone and basically all the questions were good ones.

Also Huyett alluded to the fact that something has been worked out around science labs and a letter would go out soon. And that was also told to me by a science teacher. Just happened today. So let’s wait for the letter.

So the big question of the night was… where was Jim Slemp? This meeting was scheduled around HIM. He was nowhere to be seen.

BTW — it was great with no Slemp. I think parents were freer to just speak, which they did, often articulately but also sometimes in a kind of befuddled way and that was fine too. It felt safe to be befuddled, or whatever, because it is hard to figure this stuff out. And some people were really really smart or insightful; you could tell because Huyett would really nod (not just the public servant nod).

It was satisfying the way good hard work should be satisfying.

And it is about trust — because we have to trust that they (the Policy Committee and the school board)  will fix this mess.

That’s one of the most encouraging reports I’ve heard since the start of the whole science/equity mess last month.

Catch up on the story so far with Berkeleyside’s coverage:
Endangered science at Berkeley High School [12.11.09]
Science at BHS: An open letter [12.14.09]
Science and equity: BHS parents weigh in [12.16.09]
BHS Board meeting dominated by science issue [12.17.09]
The BHS science flap — the ripples are spreading [12.30.09]
BHS science/equity debate: The latest [1.06.10]
Next on the BHS agenda: Meeting with superintendent [1.11.10]
Listen live now to BHS science flap on KQED [1.13.10]

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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