Harassment Incident in Vermont School Soccer: MAYBE The Children Will Show Us the Way

October 15, 2021 Comments off

I have an op ed submission I titled “The Bullies Are Winning” that included a recent incident at a Vermont HS Women’s Soccer game between Hartford (VT) HS and Fair Haven as an example of how January 6 “insurrection” emboldened bullies in their public efforts of intimidation. As reported in detail in a recent local newspaper article, The incident involved taunting from the Fair Haven student section directed at particular members of the Hartford soccer team, taunts that were crude, misogynistic, and cruel… taunts that were so bad they led one of the players on the Hartford team left the field at which point the Hartford Coach pulled all of his players from the field and took them home.

The result of his action, as described in today’s headline article, was an outpouring of support from HS students in the school and across the state as Student Governments respond with resolutions forbidding the taunting of individual players in an effort to maintain a healthy environment at athletic events. This is very heartening, for it indicates that MAYBE students will be able to lead the way in anti-bullying efforts in the same way young black students in the South in the 1960s led the way in the civil rights movement. MAYBE the children can lead us out the spiral our country seems to be in when it comes to taking vaccines, wearing masks, respecting the rule of law, and being kind and courteous to each other. These “basic skills” are far more important than those measured by standardized achievement tests.

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NYTimes Headline Misses the Point: Virginia Governor’s Race Is Not Being Shaped by “Schools”. It IS Being Shaped by Billionaires Who Seek to Privatize Public Services… Beginning with Education

October 13, 2021 Comments off

Lisa Lerer’s article on the Virginia Governor’s race focuses on the issues GOP candidate Glenn Younkin is raising about public education and mostly ignores the issues Terry McAuliffe focuses on. And, alas, Ms. Lerer’s article does NOT follow the money! Earlier this month the Washington Post published an article by Isaac Stanley Becker tracing the roots of the anti-vaxx, anti-mask, and anti-CRT rhetoric spouted by Mr. Youngkin to the usual group of mega-billionaires who want to privatize public services. Do the names Koch, DeVos, Walton ring any bells?

Moreover, buried in the article is the main difference between the candidates when it comes to public education: McAuliffe wants to “invest $2 billion in education, raise teacher pay, expand pre-K programs and invest in broadband access for students.” Mr. Youngkin doesn’t want to talk about those substantive issues. Instead he’d rather talk about bogus topics like “banning CRT”, the “freedom” to infect classmates and teachers by not wearing masks, and the “freedom” for parents to choose what teachers teach.

Should Mr. Youngkin get elected, expect endless debates over book-banning, mask-wearing… and budget cuts… the privatizers can hardly wait!

Heroic Eastern Shore Superintendent’s Dr. Andrea Kane’s Words About “Evil Noise” Race Ring True: “Give It Some Time; Evil Will Consume Itself”. I Hope She Is Right!

October 11, 2021 Comments off

Of late I have been limiting posts to this blog on public education and preparing to launch a new one that tackles broader subjects… but an article by Erica Green in today’s NYTimes warrants a post. In “Black Lives Matter, She Wrote. Then ‘Everything Just Imploded'”, Ms. Green describes the heart-wrenching experience of Queen Anne’s County (MD) Superintendent Andrea Kane after she sent an e-mail in June 2020 offering her support for those protesting the George Floyd demonstrations and indicating that systemic racism was a problem in her district as much as it was across the country. After a few weeks, the blowback was horrific. You see, Ms. Kane was the first African-American Superintendent hired in that county and the county included a stronghold of Trump supporters who became activated by the email and eventually ran a slate of candidates who sought to have Dr. Kane removed from office. The article recounted all that happened in Queen Anne’s County since Dr. Kane arrived: the “welcome” she got from some of the white school board members, her efforts to increase the awareness of the community about the effects of systemic racism on the student body, and her decision to fire a central office staff member for racist comments he made. 

In the end, the so-called “Patriot” slate won the three seats needed to dismiss Dr. Kane and, despite her accomplishments, she was dismissed. Near the end of the article, Ms. Green describes Dr. Kane’s farewell speech at a newly created community center:

One day in June, almost exactly a year after Dr. Kane had written the email, her voice rose above a rumble of thunder as she addressed a crowd outside the Kennard African American Cultural Heritage Center, named for Lucretia Kennard, the county’s first “supervisor of colored schools.”

One of the first events held at the center, which had educated the county’s Black students during segregation, had been to welcome Dr. Kane. On this day, she was saying goodbye.

There’s some noise out there, and it’s an evil noise,” Dr. Kane told the group. “Give it some time; evil will consume itself. Any time we let children express who they are, and set examples for them about what is right, we can’t go wrong.”

The children are always watching us. We need to set examples of the kind of world we want to leave for them… and it isn’t the world Dr. Kane experienced in Queen Anne’s County. 

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