Education Commentary

I thought Marvin Edwards’s commentary on local education was dead on. He is right the problems we are facing aren’t knew but sadly neither is our response to them. We keep electing the same type of leaders over and over. Our school board is still dominated by members of the political machine. All to often it is used as a stepping-stone for politicians on the way up or on the way down.

Tommy Hazouri has a long record of mediocrity, Stan Jordan left to run for state senate before his term was up, W.C. Gentry only ran for the school bard after a failed run at the state senate and Brenda Priestly Jackson recently announced she was running for the city council. What do they all have in common? Well like Eric Smith and Fel Lee two long time politicians who are running for the school board, they have either never been in a classroom or they were in one a very long time ago. If these are the types of leaders we repeatedly put on the school board is it any wonder we have such horrendous results.

Mr. Waters had another point about the money that the city has spent that could have gone to education but my question is what about the money that is dedicated to our school district that could have gone to education. Out superintendent, makes a hundred thousand dollars more than the mayor and as much as the superintendents in both St. Johns and Clay counties. The district spent a million dollars on new cars this year for it’s fleet of 520 cars. Thirty-two other employees most of who are on the superintendents inner circle and don’t work directly with children make over a hundred thousand dollars and we go through licensing agreements like water. Every few years there is some new software, computer program or miraculous education cure that the district uses only to replace when it proves ineffective. Then don’t get me started about the 750-person middle management that the district thinks it needs to perform its functions. These aren’t support or maintenance staff either but the amount of administrators the district has and like the superintendents inner circle they to don’t work directly with children.

I could go on and on adding to Mr. Waters’s points but then again I am the choir he was preaching to. I believe what he is saying and have seen the hopelessness on students, teachers and parents faces alike. Though that brings me to one problem he didn’t mention and that is the sad fact he is preaching to a very small choir. Unfortunately most people either don’t care or just don’t get how important education is. Our city and our children are suffering because of this.

Chris Guerrieri

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