Saturday, March 14, 2009

Majoring In Minors At Shelby County Schools

From the “we’re supposed to believe this is a coincidence” department:

Faced with the pressing business of hiring a new superintendent, with addressing the concerns of a federal judge that it’s engaged in separate but equal decisions and with the glaring priority to improve a very average school district, Shelby County School board is spending its time renaming the February holiday for its students.

Like many public agencies, local governments and state governments, Shelby County Schools has been calling the holiday “Presidents’ Day,” but suddenly less than one month after an African-American Democrat took office, the county school district is obsessed with a newfound passion to call the holiday Washington’s Birthday.

Majoring In Minors

Shelby County Schools Board Chairman David Pickler is of course leading the fight for the honor of the father of our country. It’s just so characteristic of his persistent efforts at political cleverness and self-righteous manipulations that even if his motivations are pure, it’s just so hard to believe it.

That alone says volumes.

Mr. Pickler says that he was surprised to learn that the official name of the holiday isn’t Presidents Day, and after researching the issue, he’s learned that officially, the federal and state governments still call it Washington’s Birthday.

Left unsaid is why he devoted this much effort to this distraction and why it’s not acceptable for Shelby County Schools to call the holiday whatever it desires.

Left unmistakable are the political factors that fuel the change.

Being Inclusive

Over the years, because various states wanted to honor their own favorite sons in the White House and individuals wanted to honor the presidents that meant most to them personally, the widely-used term, Presidents Day, has gained common usage.

Meanwhile, the day was still officially named for the first president, but Presidents Day became so widely used that it’s even listed on the State of Tennessee website as the name of the holiday on the third Monday in February.

In other words, in a big tent country that feels more inclusive now than in recent history, it would seem that Shelby County Schools would want to err on the side of inclusivity. But that’s never been it’s strong suit.

The Beltone Board

There’s one condition that never changes for the county board -- tone deafness.

Once again, given a chance to show that it’s not some weirdly parochial parallel university and that it wants to educate young people who are prepared for a world where diversity is a fact and tolerance is a virtue, it engages in the kind of partisan, my way or the highway posturing that in the end is nothing short of silly.

In an age when public agencies talk a good game about transparency, the only thing transparent in Shelby County Schools is the way that the interests of the kids is always secondary to using them for personal political gain.

So, instead, the games continue, and as usual, the folks playing them aren’t on school basketball courts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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thanks for this information ,,

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