June 3, 2019Special to City-County Observer From Ann M. EnnisIn response to the City-County Observer’s request for a written comment about the content of the May 26, 2019, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation Board of Trustees meeting, I offer five statements.The EVSC Board of School Trustees is a member of the Indiana School Boards Association and through that membership, EVSC Trustees receive training. In two sessions of New Board Training (totaling 5.5 hours plus two trips to Jasper, IN) and in a recent webinar titled “Open Door Law” the ISBA highly recommends that school boards avoid Executive Sessions as a matter of routine.According to the ISBA webinar, which all school trustees throughout Indiana have been provided as part of continuing education training, “Courts will look at Executive Session very closely in determining if it is lawful Executive Session… (the) opportunity to have an Executive Session is limited and (a board) cannot expand on these instances to have an Executive Session.” Since my election, the EVSC Board of School Trustees has had 2-hour Executive Sessions prior to every Regular School Board meeting. This is public knowledge, as the occurrence of Executive Session is posted to the public prior to each session.I am impressed by the breadth, depth, passion and striving for excellence I see in the EVSC as a citizen, taxpayer, former EVSC student, former EVSC parent and now as an EVSC Trustee. It is no small thing to be an open admission, welcoming all comers, unified school system with more than 22,500 students, thousands of employees and scores of facilities. Educating National Merit Scholars, national award-winning academic honors students, and also educating profoundly physically and mentally handicapped students, with every step in between – as well as providing a host of services to private and parochial schools that cannot provide the expected level of service — is a challenge. The EVSC staff from top to bottom is working honestly, diligently and consistently to meet and exceed goals.Holding Executive Sessions that are longer than Regular School Board meetings on a routine basis hurts the credibility of the EVSC and invites distrust. People do not see the work that is taking place: They should see the work the schools do. A community-supported school system needs to engage the community. I will continue to support the EVSC’s adherence to Open Door and Freedom of Information laws to benefit all students, staff, parents, and residents. By engaging the community in the work, wisdom, and even the worries we have, our schools will accomplish even more.By the way, I also wish that our many voucher and Scholarship Granting Organization-funded private and parochial schools would adhere to Open Door Laws – but the state does not require that. This is an entirely different conversation for another day.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
National Football League quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, celebrated the United States Independence Day, July 4th, tracing his ancestral roots to Ghana.While many Americans were attending celebrations with endless food and music, the American football athlete visited the Municipal Hospital in Keita, a village in Atito, President Kwame Nkrumah’s Memorial, and toured Cape Coast Castle.Kaepernick shared his experience on social media to present the documented journey he and his partner, Nessa Diab, embarked on. He was pleased with the love he received. “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?” – Frederick Douglass. In a quest to find my personal independence, I had to find out where my ancestors came from. I set out tracing my African ancestral roots, and it lead me to Ghana. Upon finding out this information, I wanted to visit the sites responsible for myself (and many other Black folks in the African Diaspora) for being forced into the hells of the middle passage. I wanted to see a fraction of what they saw before reaching the point of no return. I spent time with the/my Ghanaian people, from visiting the local hospital in Keta and the village of Atito, to eating banku in the homes of local friends, and paying my respects to Kwame Nkrumah’s Memorial Park. I felt their love, and truly I hope that they felt mine in return.A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on Jul 4, 2017 at 11:10am PDTAmerican born Kaepernick quoted Black social reformer, Frederick Douglass, as he pondered the meaning, or lack thereof, of independence as a Black man in America. “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?”The NFL football star was born to a White mother and Black father, yet, he never met his father but has been determined to learn more about his paternal history. The adopted Kaepernick was raised by two White parents in Wisconsin.Colin Kaepernick spent the 2016 NFL football season on the bench and in controversy. The San Francisco 49er quarterback was once a Super Bowl champion in 2013 but his political view on violence towards African Americans inspired him to sit during many National Anthems before games, turning fans into foes.He was released from the 49ers after a decline in performance while the team finished the season with a 2-14 record.Kaepernick has yet to sign with another NFL team and remains a free agent. Preseason games begin August 9.