Mt Pleasant News
http://mt-pleasant-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1183927

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Save Our Schools?

May 16, 2014

To the editor,

A writer to the News and a loosely knit group of citizens oddly named SOS, “Save Our Schools” continues an attack on the credibility of Superintendent Mike Wells. Not surprising.

This is the second of five tactics commonly used by opponents of bond referendums. The purpose is to divert attention from the facts — meaning the condition of our schools and plans for the future.

A bond referendum is not even on the table. This bunch wants to kill any such initiative before it is even proposed by the School Board.

The first tactic was to discredit the process. To the contrary, the facts show more citizens participated in much needed strategic planning than has been done in many years.

A few years ago when our district found itself on lists of sub-par performing schools three well publicized meetings were held for public comment. Despite the critical nature of the problem — attendance was horrid! I was one of only six non-school personnel to show-up at the first and second meeting. I skipped the third as it was evident folks were little interested in bad news about academic performance.

This should tell us Wells is not going too fast....but that we have not been paying attention.

Tactic two is getting silly. In politics we call it “character assassination.” Dr. Wells is highly qualified, fully credentialed, vetted by a top-notch national search firm and he underwent intense scrutiny by all seven members of our very able school board.

Did Wells take a lead in strategic planning? I should hope so! It is his job to lead us in planning for the future and the board directed him to do exactly that.

Tactics three and four are yet to come. Three would be to drag a referendum date out as long as possible so it dies a slow death.

Four is the age old “divide and conquer” strategy. This pits the union and staff against management, Salem folks against Van Allen folks and performing arts advocates against sports enthusiasts in hopes of whittling the thing down to nothing.

Tactic five is ongoing. Ignore, distort or deal in half-truths about the facts.

Those citizens who attended one of the five in-depth community discussions led by Dr. Wells and Finance Director Ed Chabal are in pretty good position to know the facts. Those who have not are vulnerable to tactics one through five.

Perhaps, it is time we question the motives of SOS. It certainly can’t be economic development or academic achievement. SOS should know communities all across Iowa and the nation are adopting many of the proposed initiatives to improve the quality of education.

What is SOS up to? Good question. “Sell-out Our Schools” might be a better name.

 

Dave Helman,

Salem

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