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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

More from the Hillsborough County School Board



If you like politics and fireworks, Thursday night's Hillsborough County School Board meeting was not to be missed.

Candidates for school board lined up to speak or, in the case of Henry Ballard, Jr. and Robert McElheny, sat quietly in the audience.

Fired bus driver "Captain Carl" Kosierowski, now running for Carol Kurdell's districtwide seat, delivered a somewhat emotional address. He said he had two words to the children who used to ride his bus: "I'm sorry." Although he contends he did not know it was against district policy to hand out campaign bookmarks on school grounds, he apologized for being a less-than-perfect role model and not being there to wish them a good summer.

To the people who hired and then fired him, he said he also had two words. Wait for it... wait for it .... "Thank you." He wished everyone good luck and Godspeed.

Not to be outdone, "Joe" Jordan-Robinson spoke about this week's announcement of a federal complaint by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which says African-American students are disciplined disproportionately in the public schools. Hillsborough County was not included. 

Jordan-Robinson also suggested Gov. Rick Scott hire superintendent MaryEllen Elia as the next state education commissioner.

The discussion about parental notification of guest speakers capped things off. Tempers were short. Terry Kemple, also running against Kurdell and Kosierowski, did not like Susan Valdes' idea to give parents a heads-up about all speakers, not just the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR executive director Hassan Shibly wasn't crazy about it either, although he was confident he could pass any vetting or security screening.

He wondered if it made sense to give parents veto power over their children's lessons. What about lessons on evolution? he wondered. "Passing such a policy demonstrates that we have no trust in our teachers and we believe our children are so foolish that they can be brainwashed by a 30 minute guest speaker," he said.

And Shibly might have been the only one to notice the irony of the date when the board will vote on the matter.

It's scheduled for Sept. 11.



[Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 11:57am]


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