Thursday, April 18, 2024

Sounding Off About Education


Many stories or even jokes begin like this.:

“There are two kinds of people.” 

I’m tempted to provide a few humorous examples here but I don’t want the message of this post to be diluted.

There are two kinds of people in Howard County, for example: 

*Those who see the deep value of elementary school programs like GT CEUs and 3rd grade strings, most especially in Title I schools, and advocate to keep them there even if budget constraints dictate they be eliminated elsewhere, including their own schools.

*Those who are enraged by the thought that “the poors” will get something they won’t. 

Remember that story about King Solomon and the baby? While it’s hard for me to believe that any mother would say “cut the baby in half!”, it is not hard for me to believe that there are people who will go to extreme lengths, even if it causes harm, just to guarantee that they get their bit.

I raise this today because there’s been some pretty vocal pushback that those* who have advocated for the elementary GT courses and 3rd grade strings are way off base and that class size is where the focus should be. This pushback is coming from very smart people and people whom I admire. 

They are absolutely right that increasing class size will damage the learning environment, relationships between teachers and students, and diminish outcomes. 

There’s also this post from Jenny Solpietro on Howard County Progress Report suggesting we shouldn’t need to have these battles. She’s right, but that’s another story altogether.

So what am I sounding off about? 

The deep divide in Howard County between: 

*those who are willing to share, accommodate, accept new challenges, and grapple with change if it means that those who are more vulnerable have opportunities they might not have otherwise, and 

*those who will flood social media (in outrage!) and public meetings (in matching colored t-shirts!) to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Sally Brown is with us, still, with her clip board and neatly sharpened pencil and her list of demands. 

All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

The people who made preserving these elementary programs all about themselves are the kind of folks who are always going to make things all about themselves: in our schools, local government, even your HOA. 

Do I regret advocating that these programs should be preserved in Title I schools? Absolutely not. Am I kicking myself that this gave these folks an opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight again? 


Pro tip: if you really care about healthy and successful community building, don’t vote to put people like this in positions of power. Please.

Village Green/Town² Comments

*Yes, that would include me.

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