Minutes for MPJC Meeting of September 28, 2020

Present: Peter, Glenda Rae, Reynaldo, Wanda, Lois, Ellyn (Zoom meeting).

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for July 20: The minutes were approved as corrected.

Lois commented that people who take children out of public school don't know what this is doing to our democracy. One of her favorite quotes is "Till truth shall make love's message clear." She had noticed a beautiful anthill in the middle of her church parking lot which reminded her of the role of prophets. Jesus said "Look to the ant, thou sluggard." Why are so-called christians misleading us. Lois was raised as a conservative, but has seen the truth of liberal values.

    2. Progress Reports:

        a. Topic of the Month: Public vs Private Education. Ellyn had annotated the draft with yellow marked questions and suggestions. We worked through the first two paragraphs, but ran out of time due to Zoom problems with Lois at the start of the meeting. We will pick up the discussion at the next meeting.

We decided to put the first sentence about MPJC's position both at the start and the end of the document. We also added some wording about recommending that the state find other funds to experiment with charter, religious and private schools instead of taking these funds from the public school budget. Reynaldo clarified that public schools do not have equitable funding - depending on where the school is located. Inner city schools have a lower property tax base and thus less funding. Education has been further complicated by the corona virus since low income families do not have internet connection. This is partially handled by placing school busses around the city. It is possible to make hot spots out of cell phones, but that is expensive and might not be powerful enough for the internet needs of the whole family. We clarified that the vouchers that follow students who transfer to private schools are the same as scholarships from the Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program. Glenda Rae mentioned that private schools get bright advantaged kids. Private schools tend not to take children with physical or mental handicaps. Reynaldo said that even if poor kids get vouchers so they can attend private schools, they are often not encouraged to learn and feel isolated at these schools, so they return to public schools. In this case, the voucher money should be returned to the public school. Some teachers do encourage these children to take advantage of the private school education and they succeed.

        b. Book of the Month report: Lois has recently received four books all by Marcus Borg. They are "The First Paul;" "Putting Away Childish Things: A Tale of Modern Faith;" "Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning--and how they can be restored;" and "The Last Week." She observed that conservatism is stuck in the past and the progressive wing is well grounded in christian values. As we grow in our clothing size, we grow in our mind and our faith grows in understanding. A new reformation is happening. Wanda wished that evangelicals could read these books.

Reynaldo had read "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," by Isabel Wilkerson. He found it very perceptive in comparing the American caste system to the India one. Most people have no awareness of how the caste system operates in the United States. Wanda was reading "Ruth Bader Ginsberg," by Jane Sherron Vehart.

       c. Immigration Coalition Report: There has been no meeting of the Coalition since our last meeting. We will discontinue this report for future meetings.

       d. International Day of Prayer for Peace (September 21): We held a sign at the Monday vigil to call attention to this day. The URC did not hold a service in the plaza adjoining our vigil. They just mentioned the day at their annual meeting on Zoom.

3. Treasurer's Report: $97.14 with $20 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We will continue with the Public vs Private Education topic.

    3. Indigenous Peoples' Day (October 12): This is a Monday and we will hold a sign calling attention to this day in an attempt to counter the celebration of Columbus day.

    4. Other Topics and Issues:

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    5. Next meeting: Monday, October 26, at 2:30pm by Zoom. Ellyn will initiate the meeting.