To the editor:
The 2016 election is over but the result presages a dystopian nation. It ripped the Band-Aid off massive national polarization and hypocrisy — economic disparities, whites versus blacks/Latinos, the ‘thinking’ versus many millions of delusional fact-deniers.
Might work if you’re living in a cave, communicating with grunts. It doesn’t work now, nor will it function to secure America’s future decades.
The reality is that most rural communities are still insulated from Federal venues Constitutionally tasked to policy and execution not reserved to the states. This got meaningful local teeth in Congress’ passage of ESEA (Every Child Succeeds Act), successor to “No Child Left Behind.” Local public schools were handed back some power to manage more of their mission.
The good news; the bad news is many rural systems are lame in recognizing opportunity, or lack courage to reform, or are oblivious to what that entails. The reasons aren’t mysterious — to tackle better learning performances means rejecting the status quo, resisted by BOE and superintendents protecting embedded human resources, policies, spending, and classroom methods, or themselves from critique for educational underachievement or worse.
The above accurately describes this century’s history of New Bremen’s and St. Marys’ public systems and respective BOE, along with too many in Ohio. You can feel the denial erupting, but resist.
A second reality is that the next few decades will not be your granddaddy’s world: Public schools threatened extinction; the technology genie out of the bottle and won’t return; and failing ‘civilization’ in much of the Middle East. Whether it’s AI (artificial intelligence), or quantum computing, or energy sourcing, or more political demagoguery, your generation and that of your children will need to live with disruption. That means developing sufficient grasp of both hard and social sciences to stay ahead of the curve and retain a republic with individual freedoms. Lip service won’t cut it.
Conventional wisdom is hire a smarter or more ethical superintendent, pass another levy, applaud and hype ‘grit’ and ‘joy.’ The third reality is that no less than total replacement of that alleged wisdom — fully obsolete — may save your progeny. It will take reformulating what primary and secondary education should be.
Borrowing a theme from an earlier meme about child rearing, it will take a village to get there promptly. The ‘future jumpstart’ is electing competent BOE; the ‘now’ is demanding resignations and replacing present BOE members who can’t honor sworn responsibilities.
Dr. Ronald Willett