Photos and words by Ygal Kaufman
“I move that Mr. Fryman’s appeal of the administration’s resolution of his complaint of February 17, 2014 be denied on the grounds that the allegation that Kevin Bogatin intentionally made false or misleading statements to the press has not been proven,” said board member Chris Rochester, and that’s all that can be shared of the experience, as the rest is protected by Oregon law as part of the “executive session.”
This past Monday brought the Corvallis school board’s final hearing on Josh Fryman’s complaint against assistant superintendent Kevin Bogatin, a complaint that had been denied previously by the administration and that has now been denied by the board too. Fryman options would now rest outside the district.
Later in a phone interview, Fryman said, “Welcome to the CSD school district, is all I can say… I just cannot believe the things they do and get away with.”
In short, Fryman alleged that Bogatin misled or outright lied to the public when, in an interview with Patrick Fancher here in the Advocate’s pages of January 23rd 2014, he said “We have not heard any of these families come and testify. The testifying and concerns are coming from our families who haven’t implemented the technology into their schools,” regarding misgivings parents have about the iPad program, known as 1:World, which is giving iPads to kids in the Corvallis School District.
Fryman made the case that he had frequently testified before the CSD509J school board, as had several other parents who also have children in the iPad program, and further that he had tried on many different occasions to engage several different administration figures on the issue. Thus Fryman alleges Bogatin was being untruthful in his statements to this paper.
“It’s essentially saying, ‘There’s no purpose for a complaint procedure, no one has to follow it, there’s no purpose in trying to pay attention to what anybody says in the media, or anywhere else, because they’re not required to be honest,’” Fryman said of the decision.
Bogatin maintained his innocence throughout, and insisted that he never intentionally misled anyone with his statements. “I value the voice of every parent in the District. At times we may have differing viewpoints or opinions, but if we listen to each other, hopefully we can find solutions or outcomes that are in the best interest of the children of Corvallis,” he said via email.
Josh Fryman contends that he has consistently sought answers from the school board for months about the 1:World iPad program, about what homework they had really done before adopting such a technology program, and then specifically choosing iPads, and about what measures they are taking to protect students now that the devices have been rolled out.
It should be pointed out that Josh Fryman is not unfamiliar with this type of technology. He’s got a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Florida and Ph.D. in Microprocessor Architecture from Georgia Tech. So he’s got some expertise on the subject of computing.
The decision to introduce tablets, and to specifically use iPads, came after much deliberation, and several “fact finding trips” by the school board, to Canby, Eugene and Tillamook here in Oregon, as well as Vancouver, WA and Cupertino, CA. Part of the contentious debate centers on the fact that parents were not involved in this process, and in fact were unaware of the initiative until its adoption was announced. The program was rolled out to understandably mixed reactions.
The hearing on Monday was the end result of Mr. Fryman’s many attempts to get answers, or give advice, regarding the direction of the iPad program, which he feels have fallen on deaf ears.
The school board maintains that they have been open and transparent in their decision making process, and have reached out to parents frequently, including at information sessions, which Fryman has attended.
It does not seem likely at this point that the issue is over, and Fryman is still reviewing his options. One of them is to launch a complaint with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the state Teachers Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).
“The school board just set a precedent that there’s no requirement for honesty and integrity from district personnel,” said Fryman, with a thick tone of disappointment, but not a lot of surprise.