Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

November 15, 2013

DCCS Board talks resource officer, Chinese visit

By Rob Cox Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — Decatur County Community Schools (DCCS) and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) will partner to hire a fulltime school resource officer for the corporation.

The soon-to-be-hired officer was among the agenda items at Wednesday night’s regular meeting of the DCCS Board.

DCCS Superintendent Johnny Budd told the Daily News that the district recently secured $50,000 to help hire a resource officer through a grant from Indiana’s School Safety Initiative Awards.

Fifty-percent of the grant will go toward the new officer’s salary, while the rest will go toward improving DCCS emergency action plans and general security.

“A resource officer fills a lot of different roles,” Budd said. “It’s one more thing we can do to improve security and make our environment much safer.”

The new officer, Budd noted, will be a full-time sheriff’s deputy with DCSD, with the full authority of a police officer, but will spend his days during the school year working exclusively with DCCS buildings, personnel and students. The officer will play an integral part in continually reviewing and revising safety plans and in helping train DCCS staff, too.

On weekends and during the summer months, the officer’s assignments will be at the discretion of DCSD, Budd said.

Also at Wednesday night’s meeting, Budd reported on a visit this past Monday to DCCS by representatives from two schools from the Chinese city of Suichang, Greensburg’s sister city.

Principal Chen Zhangeng and English teacher Lin Junqing Jingning High School, along with Principal Du Zitong and English Teacher Ma Caiqiu from Jingyun Experimental Middle School, accompanied Budd on a visit to all four of the district’s schools.

“We visited classrooms and introduced them to our educational system,” Budd said.

The superintendent noted several differences between China’s education system and America’s. For one, the American system offers students far more choices and electives than its Chinese counterpart.

“The school day is much different over there in regards to time,” Budd said. “They spend much more time each day in school.”

Another major difference, the superintendent added, is that Chinese high-school students must pass a qualifying test to gain admission. Those who are accepted are required to live in dorms, something unheard of in American public education.

“If they don’t get into high school [in China],” Budd added, “they either go to vocational school, or they’re just done.”

To Budd, the fact that, for Chinese students, high school is neither compulsory nor guaranteed, makes constant media comparisons between Chinese and American students highly skewed and unfair. Those comparisons, Budd said, unfairly make it seem like American students lag far behind, when the reality is far different.

“When people compare scores [between American and Chinese students],” Budd said, “they’re comparing China’s top students – only those students that can qualify for high school – with ALL American students. This is not an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison. People need to understand what they’re comparing.”

He continued, “When you compare our top students with their top students, we’re on par with them, if not better. I’ve known this for years and most other educators know, too, but the media and the public generally don’t realize it.”

Budd characterized such unfair comparisons – which make it seem as if American students don’t “measure up” – as “funny” in light of the fact Chinese educators are highly interested in learning about how America runs its education system.

“If we’re so far behind them,” the superintendent said, “you wouldn’t think they’d be so interested in how the American education system works, but they’re constantly trying to learn about it. The main goal in China is for their high school students to come to our universities. It’s highly competitive, too, because everyone wants to be educated here.”

The superintendent and his Chinese counterparts, working in conjunction with Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert, are currently in talks about a possible “teacher swap” sometime in the near future. Such an exchange would involve a DCCS teacher teaching in China for 30 days and a Chinese teacher spending 30 days here.

“Their teachers are very interested in doing an exchange,” Budd said. “They’re competing for slots to come.”

Budd anticipates that such an exchange would likely happen in the next “year or two,” and believes it would be beneficial to both parties.

“There’s definitely some things we can learn from each other,” he said.

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011