Note to Readers: This is the entire text of an upcoming editorial I have written for my local Newspaper. I had to cut a few sections due to space limitations. I reprint it here for two reasons. First, so our local citizens can see the entire piece and second because I think our local issues are probably the same in many communities all over the country.
Our local government schools are under academic watch while our Superintendant, a Willian Ayers wannabe, is squandering millions on diversity training for “middle aged white women”, who in his opinion aren’t qualifed to teach young African-American children because they lack cultural sensitivity. This, he believes, is why our schools are failing. I worte an earlier piece which I posted here back in early March and the paper pulished a response from the husband of one of our school board members, a local doctor.
Recently our Superintendant sent an assistant principal to a present a seminar on “othering” ( yeah I don’t know what that is either.) Did I mention that the seminar was for people of color only? This was at taxpayer expence under the guise of “professional development.”
Maybe you will see some of your commnity’s education issues in here.
I respect a guy like Dr. Will Andrew who sticks up for his wife. Being a “dedicated and hard-working stand-up comic” I also like a guy who knows his way around a sarcastic comment and doesn’t mind throwing a few insults even if they are aimed at me. I even find we agree on several issues. Let’s get to those issues that seem to concern us both.
Our government run schools are unacceptably bad. Can we agree on that? If you don’t agree you can stop reading right here because we have no basis for an intelligent discussion. More importantly, someone or something is responsible for our failing schools. Can we agree on that? If there is no cause for our schools being bad then there is no way for us to solve this problem. As citizens we have a responsibility to fix our schools. I know we already agree on that.
So what am I to take away from your rebuttal to my opinion piece? Who, in your opinion, is responsible for our failing schools? Uncontrolled children are part of the problem, especially at the middle and high school level. You seem to recoil from this idea. I know this concept doesn’t fit in with the current liberal zeitgeist in education but legally, in the State of Ohio, that’s the way it is. While we can feel sorry for your “22–year-old mother of three with no husband who has unruly children”, and offer her assistance through our religious and social institutions, that person has made life choices and now needs to bear the consequences of those actions. I will repeat what I said in my first article, schools are not a babysitting or social service. Their primary function must be academics.
This fictional person is still responsible for the behavior of her children and the fact that their behavior might impede the education of other children. To not hold her to this standard is a slap in the face to all single parents who, despite earlier mistakes or hardships, have gotten their lives on track and are holding up their end as parents and members of the community. If parents refuse to take responsibility for their children and their education we have a network of social services that are tasked by the government to assist these children.
Yes, I believe we have a responsibility as a society to provide an opportunity for all children to become educated. Equality of opportunity does not, however equal equality of result, another failing of current liberal thinking. When the behavior of one or two children begins to interfere with the education of twenty-six or twenty-seven others we have a responsibility to the many rather than the few. As to “No Child Left Behind” I believe that William Ayers and other educators of his ilk, like Dr. Price, have spoken against this act.
Schools are “imbued” with the power to take a student and his parents to task. They have the power to suspend, isolate or expel problem students. That is neither unconstitutional nor illegal in our state. I believe those methods would cost less to implement that Dr. Price’s diversity program. The fact we have a very liberal administration that refuses to use these powers only further underlines their failures.
While I believe parents have a great responsibility for the behavior and education of their children I do not blame them for the failure of our government run schools. If I wasn’t clear enough in my first article let me be perfectly clear, our failing schools are the result of grossly incompetent leadership and mismanagement by our superintendant.
I agree I may have dismissed Ms. Million’s scholarship too quickly. I judged it by the title and subject matter. Perhaps Dr. Price or Ms. Million would make a copy of her paper and presentation in its entirety available to me so I could read it, analyze its methodology and conclusions and share them with the taxpaying public. We may all be enriched by knowing what Dr. Price considers “professional development” these days.
I find the ideas promoted by Dr. Price as “cultural understanding” in his campaign to reeducate teachers to be laden with his personal liberal political agenda. To conclude that that a person’s culture can be somehow defined by their skin color is ignorant and racist. It assumes that all people of any color share a common culture. Ridiculous! If I am wrong about this program, again, let Dr. Price make the content of these training sessions available to the general public and the people of Middletown can decide if I am being “grossly unfair”
I will continue to vote against this administration and school board members who support it, who thought it appropriate to punish parents and the students it professes to care for so deeply, for voting down a levy. Dr Price, under the thin pretense of saving money, shortened the school day, a move which saved no money. Dr. Price also halted bus service which, while saving an estimated $200,000 was a punishment and burden for parents, especially those single parents of modest means with whom Dr. Andrew seems so concerned. This move showed me that Dr. Price is a man who believes the community works for him and not the other way around. I however, do not hold a grudge. I recently called a friend on the Cincinnati School Board and asked him to hire Dr. Price away from us. I understand he didn’t make the cut for that job. That’s too bad for our kids who will continue to suffer under his regime.
In Dr. Andrew’s rebuttal he also misrepresented the facts regarding the state constitution. He states, “The state constitution requires that a free and appropriate education be provided by the public school system.” I read the Ohio constitution and while I am no lawyer, like Mrs. Andrew, there seems to be no explicit right to education in our constitution. The only two references to the system of education in the constitution are as follows:
Article 1 Section 7….and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.
Article 6 Section 2 The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state;
While I am on the subject of constitutionality, I believe you could make a case that our city schools are unconstitutional since I find them to be neither thorough nor efficient.
I do not mean to imply that the government schools do nothing right. The two small programs Dr. Andrew mentions are good examples. Every day hundreds of dedicated professional educators take their positions in front of their classes without the proper support from Girard Street. The fact that these teachers continue the good fight is, to me, the brightest ray of hope for our children and our schools.
Dr. Andrew also challenged me to suggest a program that would improve our schools. Here is one that has been proved time and again. If you want parents to get involved let parents have the power to decide where their children go to school and who educates them. Let the government schools compete on a level playing field with private schools for the government dollars available for students. This idea worked so successfully in Cleveland and Washington D.C. that the NEA browbeat Congressional Democrats into attacking and attempting to end these programs.
Finally, Dr. Andrew seems to really like how the liberal political agenda has taken control of the education of our children and the resulting decline in public schools. I imagine he is equally excited about the pending government takeover of his profession.