Reign of Error

We had two letters in the November 21 Leader-Tribune concerning the on-going dust-up over education matters, and my fellow columnist A.W. Dorsey even heard of this mess while “on the road.” What’s a sports columnist doing writing about the Board of Education? Why not, since it’s turned into tag-team wrestling?In keeping with the tone of Jody Usry’s letter, I’ll have a little fun at his expense. (I make no claim to knowing whether God is using me in this instance.) Usry writes of board member Kay Whitley’s “rein of terror.” I hope that the students of the Peach County schools have been taught well by their dedicated educators, and that they remember the horrors of the “Reign of Terror” following the French Revolution. I’m pretty sure the students wish to rein in the current Reign of Terror, whoever is actually carrying it out. The reins of our school system definitely need a gentler hand, and I pray the next person to reign over the schools as Superintendent will not rain on anybody’s parade (although we might wish the weather gods would loosen the reins on the clouds). My request: It is almost always counterproductive to mock people publically with personal attacks; if unity is truly what you desire, then please bring it about with a more civil tongue, lest that small member further fan the flames.

County Commissioner Martin Moseley Jr. used a more measured tone in his letter, which began by justifiably lamenting the departure of Superintendent Tommy Daniel. Moseley noted it “looks like” the BOE is “bent on the destruction of our school system and county as we know it.” I think “looks like,” is an important qualifier here, because I doubt that Whitley, Givens and Jamie Johnson are actually trying to destroy anything. What they are trying to do is hard to determine, since they have offered little public comment. However, people at each other’s throats seems like Peach County as we know it, at least at its worst moments.

Moseley echoes my own concern about who might replace Daniel. Will we get someone who just needs the job, or someone who can actually run the schools as an independent, competent professional? It is the superintedent’s job, after all, to run the schools; it is the Board’s job to keep an eye on the superintendent and monitor his or her performance, not to run the the show itself.

Moseley calls the reigning majority “indecisive and inactive,” but I think that’s a mistaken evaluation. Whitley, Givens and Johnson have been very decisive and active; it’s just that most observers have trouble comprehending to what end. If people in Fort Valley are indeed ready to get on the CFBE bandwagon, as Moseley suggests, this is a positive sign. It would mean that at least some of the people who voted in Whitley and Johnson (the new members) are dismayed by some of their actions. Since the people voted for the board to do their bidding, as A.W. cogently observed, then they have every right, and indeed the responsibility, to demand a change of course, if that is now their wish. Let the people speak.

It was distressing to read in A.W.’s column on Page B1 of the Nov. 21 edition that people outside the county are hearing about the BOE situation. Let’s hope our new friends from China don’t hear about it.

NEXT POST: Deconstructing “Beowulf”.

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