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BRIDGE Merit Pay Grant: “Send It Back!” 1/27 - 5:15pm

on Thu, 01/16/2014 - 18:17

We need your support at a Charleston County school board meeting on Monday, Jan. 27th at 5:15pm at 75 Calhoun St., Charleston.

Attendance is critical.  We also need speakers & signs.  If you bring a sign, I can almost promise you it will be on TV.  Cameras go straight to signs.


Email lets policymakers know that you care.  The question for them is, "How much?"

Do you care for as long as it takes to send an email, or do you care enough to leave the house and come downtown on a Monday night?

We're asking for something very disruptive.  It involves embarassment and inconvenience for a number of people.  It's also the right thing to do for teachers and kids.

We have to prove that the costs of staying the course are higher than the cost of doing the right thing.


Here's how this will work:

1) Just showing up will make a HUGE impact

I am in a position to promise the media a good show.  They know me.  They'll come. 

I've been working on my speech for 4 years.  In front of a crowd, it will kill.  Our story will lead the broadcast.  Polite applause from a small group will bump it to a 15 second spot after the weather.

I've done both kinds of media events.  Turnout is the critical factor.


1) If you would like to speak, arrive before 5:15pm.  There will be a sign-up sheet near the door, along with a parking validation stamp).

If you know what you want to say, have at it.  They need to hear you, and it's long overdue.  I can also give you lots of great material that I won't have time to use.

If you'd like to coordinate our presentations, email or call 843-852-9094.


PLEASE NOTE: You will have, at most, two minutes.  You can do alot with it.  If we get lots of speakers, the board may try to limit each to one minute.  They are within their rights to do this.  I have seen a very vocal crowd get that decision reversed.  Just sayin'.

Have an idea of what you'll do if you only get one minute.  Don't be distressed.  It isn't really about persuasion.

Standing up and speaking out is a demonstration of your committment.  That's what makes the difference.


3) The meeting will come to order sometime around 5:15pm.  There can be delays.  There will be a bunch of procedural items and public recognitions. 

The earliest the public comments would begin would be around 5:40pm (but you need to be signed up by 5:15 if you want to speak). 

It could be as late as 6:15pm before we start.  With a good turnout, we should be able to hold the podium for at least twenty minutes.

It's possible (but in no way certain) that BRIDGE will also be an agenda item for Board discussion.  If so, that could come as early as 6:00 or as late as 8:30.  Agendas will be posted at the door, so you will have an idea of how much time is involved in staying for that.

4) By all means, show enthusiasm and emotion.  Stay away from name-calling or accusations you can't prove.

District employees have a legally-protected right to express their opinions on policy issues.  They do not have a protected right to be abusive.

Every single person on the other side of this issue is working hard and thinks they're doing the right thing. 


5) I have absolutely no idea what you'll find when you walk in.

It could be standing room only, I could be alone.  If that happens, I'll know I did everything I could (and I'll be SUPER excited to see you!).

In the happiest of circumstance, if the crowd is large, it is worth hanging out in the lobby.  You'll see and hear the meeting on TV's overhead, the media will be able to photograph you, and the board will be able to hear you (I hope...let's not be shy!).


It probably won't all happen in one night. 

BRIDGE has been in the planning for years.  Nobody wants to send back $23 million.  The consultants and staffers being paid with that money will not be happy about a reversal. 

But the District is very sensitive to public pressure.  We've already dealt serious long-term damage to this program's credibility.

But when a former US Assistant Secretary of Education calls you out, it’s time to do more than, “slow down”.


I hope to see you there on Monday, January 27th at 5:15 pm.

Come say "Hi" ! Look for a man with a big forehead and some little notecards.

Best regards,

Patrick Hayes