Talking Schools

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a trip made by several people affiliated with our local system and took issue with the cost-$14,000- and what I saw as a lack of communication about the trip. Apparently, others had similar and maybe stronger feelings. An administrator with the Elizabeth City Pasquotank schools has felt the need to launch a defense. I’m not sure if her defense relates more to the trip or the local system in general.

The administrator in question is Linda F Ward. She is the director of federal programs and elementary education for the local system. She wrote quite  a lengthy response in our local paper on April 29 entitled, “Cost of Fla trip justified by local education needs.” Some might even call her article a bit of a diatribe as she calls out the local paper for attacking and degrading the local schools and longs for the day when the paper “really supports our  school system.”

I read her article carefully and have reread much of its content. I did not learn much about the trip itself, the rationale for partnering with the Schlechty Center and nothing about the partnership itself. I actually learned about Schlechty by going to their website. Ms Ward defends school system employees with gusto. Out of the 1,079 who work for the system she says that most  are committed to the system. Isn’t that a comfort? That statement was just one of several things she wrote that actually raised more questions than it answered. Try this quote. “My parents taught me long ago to stand up for what is right and what I believe in.” While that is admirable, she failed to explain what she meant in the context of  our school system. What exactly did she mean by what is right ? Nor did she identify in what she believes.

She talks much about the system’s improvement after years of struggle, saying that it is finally on track with” strong leadership, a clear direction and a focus on students.” Naturally I am going to ask some questions. Has the leadership been lacking  and why has the focus not always been on students? By her own admission she has been in the system for 25 years. Has  she just now become part of the strengthened leadership?  I don’t really know.

I don’t necessarily mean to be to critical of Ms Ward. I t’s good that someone  finally made an attempt to justify the trip. But it leaves with the same feeling that I have had many times before with a number of school systems with which we have interacted as parents. The systems are  quite lacking at communicating with the public . They invariably fall   short of explaining what they do and why they do it. And let us not forget  to mention the  large sums of money that flow through our educational systems. We as a society spend a  lot  of money on education. A little more transparency from the recipients would be nice. By the way, a little less jargon would help. Thanks.


May 8, 2010 - Posted by | education | , , , ,

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