More Consultancy Fees for the Shredder. Separate and Unequal. A 3-Minute Tour.

Update, October 29:

Well, what a coincidence. I posted this on Friday, and today, Monday, there was some news on Butler’s “News” page and some more content on its homepage. Two of the events are for Tuesday, the 30th and one for the 31st. Not much notice then, but better than none.

Money for the Shredder.

With all the news about the beatings at the Pinnacle Schools and the propaganda regarding the digital initiative, you may have missed this article in the Huntsville Times by Challen Stephens: “Alabama leads nation in desegregation cases; Huntsville looks to shed 42-year-old order.” Stephens notes that Huntsville City Schools “remain under judicial order to erase signs of a dual system based on race,” but have “now decided that ending the order should be a top priority and has made that a performance goal for new Superintendent Casey Wardynski.”

Will the Board achieve this goal by obeying the law, doing the right thing, and eliminating the numerous disparities between predominantly white and predominantly black schools?

Not exactly. No, their strategy instead is — surprise — to hire a consultant: “Wardynski this summer brought in Maree Sneed, a Maryland educator turned Washington lawyer and desegregation specialist.” As of October 12, 2012, “Huntsville has paid Sneed for two days of work, $2,448 for July 31 and $2,076.75 for Sept. 14.”

Might as well have sent that $5524.75 through the shredder because Huntsville is nowhere near achieving even a separate and equal school system.

The 3-Minute Tour.

I can show you this in 3 minutes. Open a new tab and go to the HCS site. Now open 2 more tabs, one for Butler High, and one for Grissom. Some consultant (I’m willing to bet) got paid well over the summer to standardize the schools’ websites. Only they aren’t. Compare the Butler and Grissom home pages you just opened. Sure looks to me like a lot more is happening at one school than at the other.

Go a little deeper. Let’s try Guidance. Butler’s page is blank. Grissom’s says it is still under construction, but directs you to link tabs at top of that page, all of which lead to pages full of information and additional links.

Try Latest News. There are 6 subject links at Grissom. At Butler, there is no news [on 10/26; 3 items on 10/29].

How about School Publications? Grissom: 3 links. Butler: 0.

And so on.

How Can This Be Blamed on Students or Parents?

This is my favorite aspect of our short little tour. I simply can’t imagine how Wardynski, his enablers, or even the most rabid comment posters can blame this very public, very obvious display of inequality on the Butler student body or their parents. The students aren’t responsible for the website, and neither are the parents. I don’t know who is, but I can tell you that it doesn’t take a $2500 a day consultant to see that there’s a problem here.

If Consultant Sneed has any professional integrity, she’ll tell the Colonel to save his money because she can’t convince the Justice Department that Huntsville deserves unitary status.

She can’t because it doesn’t.

Dear Board:

Really guys, just how stupid do you think the US Department of Justice is?

“I don’t want us just to get unitary status, I want us to deserve it,” said McCaulley. I’ll clue you in, Ms. McC — you aren’t getting it any time soon.

McCaulley thinks that “the new digital initiative, awarding laptops to each student, helped standardize the curriculum between schools in different parts of Huntsville,” and that this will make a difference.

Malarky. The curriculum has always been standardized because the same textbooks have been adapted for all schools in the system. Geez, lady, think about it.

David Blair believes it is “way past time” to be getting out from under the deseg order: “It’s the right thing for the kids, right thing for the community and the right thing for the city.” Way past time — agreed. But the order isn’t going away just ’cause you are tired of having it hanging over your head, man.

Here’s a suggestion: instead of talking about digital initiatives, spend a few minutes online visiting the websites of the schools in the system. You might see what is obvious to the rest of us.

And while you are at it, type “Pinnacle” in the search box of the HCS main site.Why, oh why, is there nothing about the system’s alternative school on the system’s site?

One might conclude that the Supe, the Board, and the whole of Merts aren’t proud of their association with this train wreck.

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7 thoughts on “More Consultancy Fees for the Shredder. Separate and Unequal. A 3-Minute Tour.

  1. I don’t disagree, there is a huge disparity between the two web sites and I don’t agree with the payment of “consultants” BUT, “The students aren’t responsible for the website, and neither are the parents. I don’t know who is…” so maybe the parents are? You can’t make that statement because you don’t know.

    • You are correct, curiousone, and I will try to discover who is. I doubt that anyone unofficial can modify the site: consider the possibilities if any parent or student could add content to the News section, for example.

      The sites each have a copyright notice on bottom right [ex: Copyright © 2011-2012 Butler High School] and the school sites, as well as HCS’s, are the products of a company called School In Sites.

      Searching “webmaster” on the district’s site, I found David Grimes, Jr., Finance / Lead Accounting Clerk / Webmaster. No results were found for “webmaster” on school sites. So I will email Mr. Grimes.

      I have also emailed Keith Ward, Media Relations.

      • A week has passed and my question to Ward and Grimes about why some schools’ websites have so much more info than others remains unanswered and ignored. No response. Even a “drop dead” would be appreciated. I really don’t like being ignored.

  2. They might as well be released from the desegregation order, they gave ignored it for almost 46 years. Maybe they have greased the right(pun intended) palm this time.

  3. Yes indeed Smiley: all I gave you was the 3-minute tour. My poor mind boggles at paying a consultant $5524 for two days’ impossible work. May as well hire alchemists.

  4. Just think Merts Monitor you just scratched the surface. They selected a CFO to lead the system to Unitary status that was the first sign Huntsville City did not want to resolve the real problems to start. As usual sweep everything under the rug and pretent there is not a problem. Yes, they think the DOJ is just that gullible. We are shredding money so fast we might find ourselves back where we were in 2010.

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