April 14, 2013

Letter: A clumsy effort?

— Our school board’s statement concerning the recent appointment of our county school superintendent presented several interesting points. They have made a most worthy selection;  Dr. Gilreath is highly qualified and has earned the highest respect of parents and associates.  Nevertheless, some saw a clumsy effort by the school board to make political hay from the impending resignation of Mr. Hayes; therefore, it is proper to ask what else did the board’s letter say?

Pointing out that board members are long-term community residents is encouraging. It implies that our area has people with talent. This indicates a lesser need for hiring costly out-of-area consultants to tell us what we need. Acknowledging the sole mission of public schools is to educate is encouraging only if the real difference between “education” and “politically correct indoctrination” is understood. A “System Report Card?” Hopefully it isn’t a Schlechty WOW! What, who and how will be measured? Will citizens and parents participate or will the educational system grade itself? Most importantly, will this report card improve education for the individual student?

“What are primary drivers of the quality of education?” and “What creates the best possible learning environment ...?” Both are excellent questions, but questions without action solve very little. An obvious action is to actually create and maintain ongoing parental involvement in highly disciplined classrooms where parents of students who are disruptive suffer personal inconveniences for actions of their undisciplined child. Board support for the classroom teacher must be real. It is not supporting to make rules for discipline, dress codes, etc., and then allow school principals to chastise teachers who enforce these rules on every student.

Lofty writings are nice; they make us feel good, but real education — American history, reading, math and science — is what will preserve America. Can we do it? Yes, but only with involved parents, qualified teachers and elected officials who are not self-serving either in word nor deed.

Frank Barnes