Rabble-Rouser from Wall Unconvinced by General that San Angelo ISD Bond NeededOpinion
OPINION — I am greatly consoled to know I shall be judged by a true and just God rather than by General Hawkins (see Should Uninformed Rabble-Rouser from Wall Dictate How San Angelo Should Vote on School Bond). According to the general, not only have I misrepresented facts and stuck my nose where I have no right to put it, but I would willingly, even happily, condemn innocent children to perdition. I’ve been insulted before, and no doubt will be again, but I have to admit that is a new low.
General, if you had done thorough research, you would know that our property falls in both the San Angelo and the Wall school districts. It’s also true we can vote in only one. We chose Wall because our granddaughter was living with us at the time, and we wanted her to go to the better school district. But we pay property taxes to both. We also pay a lot of other taxes willingly here in San Angelo
As for your quote about Joseph and his brothers, I have to admit I didn’t realize I was mentioned by name in the Bible. I missed that.
Now about the grading systems. If you check, you’ll find I quote the Star system when it was in place, so my points are valid. Frankly, I don’t know where you got your contention that the 5-star system was based on the socio-economic status of the students or their parents rather than scholastic performance. Whether Johnny knows how to read has nothing to do with socio-economic factors. He can either read to grade level or he can’t. It doesn’t make any difference whether he is wearing $10 Walmart jeans or $100 Levi’s.
I stand corrected that the elementary school’s “only” job is the 3R’s. I should have said their “primary” job. And I stand by that. But your statement that “Society and academics have moved way past that archaic level of curriculum and pedagogy” stuns me. Kids don’t have to know how to read and write anymore? Newsflash: if they can’t read or write they aren’t going anywhere.
About the condition of schools. My point, which I’m sure you understood but have conveniently chosen to ignore (fortunately other readers get it) is that San Angelo schools are not unsafe. They don’t lack for essential supplies. They are not all pretty. Some of them are rundown and tired looking, but they are adequate to the job at hand. Whether the corridors are wainscoted with chipped and marred archaic yellow tiles or the pier-and-bean floors squeak have no impact on the quality of learning that takes place. Should some of those facilities be torn down and replaced, yes. But we don’t need a $145 million debt to do it. And we don’t need a new 3,000-seat auditorium. It seems to me the responsible thing to do would be to schedule new construction as old bonds are paid off, so that increases in property taxes are not required. The people most affected by property tax increases are those at the low- and middle-income brackets. Keeping our debt on an even keel is vitally important to them.
Now to the question of whether I have a right to speak up about the educational system in San Angelo. Yes, I do, and your name calling and insults aren’t going to change that. I am an American. I have the right of free speech and I intend to use it. Your innuendo that I go to the back of the bus and shut up ain’t going to happen.
Whether you want to admit it or not, the San Angelo school system is in bad shape. The United States once had the best public-school system in the world, but it’s been going downhill since the establishment of the Department of Education and the unionizing of teachers under President Carter in the late 1970s, even though we spend more money per student than any other country.
In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s San Angelo was one of the top school systems in the entire state. It isn’t anymore. I believe it is the job of all of us to help bring it back. For some it’s taking action because of their positions. For others it’s pointing out problem areas, as we see them. We all have work to do, but the mission won’t be accomplished if we waste our time parsing sentences, exchanging insults and denying reality. That’s not what this country is all about.