In response to a second guesser, Abraham Lincoln said “Be assured, dear sir, there are men who think you are performing your part as poorly as you think I am performing mine”. Today he would have said “men and women and others” to be politically correct.
CY, the Cynic, was asked, “Does it bother you to be called a cynic”? “No way,” CY replied. “The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by people who lack it.” Anyway, I’m an Optimist. I even belong to the Noon Optimist Club that meets every Tuesday around 11:30 at Barracks Catering located on Pioneer Parkway. Our motto is “Friends of Youth”, and as program chair this month, I invited Peoria School District 150 newest seated board member, Mary Spangler, to be our speaker. Her subject was “Moving Forward.” Bob Carruthers, was Mary’s guest. Bob has returned to Dist 150 as Head of Student Affairs and he also addressed us. Both speakers sincerity left us optimistic about the future of our cities public schools. On Tuesday, September 28, “Chuck” Fabish, Interim Superintendent will be our speaker and his topic will be “Education First in District 150.” Our meetings are open to the public and potential members have their delicious buffet paid for by the club on their initial visit.
A lot of decision makers at District 150 appear to be “working on the same page.” This is refreshing. My experience with Chuck & Ken and the majority of the Board members, makes me believe that Principals will be given more authority and the voices of good teachers will be heard. Better discipline and more parental involvement are some of their major goals. They believe that all kids should be given the same opportunity, and the tools they need to achieve, but acknowledge that not all kids are going to go to college and hold white collar jobs. I believe that they will be putting a greater emphasis on developing skills that will make more kids hirable and, when ready for parenthood, better parents
Quoting from an article written by Rod Paige, Secretary of Education and appearing in the 7/15/04 edition of the Wall Street Journal, “Millions of children have been pushed through the school system in years past with little regard as to whether they have learned.” None of my friends believe in social promotion. I believe most board members and Regional Superintendent Dr. Jerry Brookhart, do not agree with “social promotion”. Secretary Paige, a lifelong member of the NAACP further states “Sadly, the current NAACP leadership has managed to take a proud, effective organization in a totally new direction: naked partisan politics, pure and simple.” He could be speaking about the direction of the local organization leadership. Fortunately, my African-American friends say that the local NAACP seldom speaks from their viewpoint.
Maybe under new leadership and more diversity training, everyone responsible will get on the same page and the perception of Peoria Public Schools will be such that newcomers will want to reside in urban Peoria.
I leave this site with this thought – “self esteem isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, as a brief recounting of Ex-Senator Bob Torricelli’s career would usefully illustrate, it can be a huge part of the problem.” “Time Magazine 10/14/02.)” I mention this because the “modern educator” went overboard on this subject, setting Peoria and the whole country a large step backwards. I was always taught “self esteem” was something you earned and not just given. I hope the new and old District 150 School System administration agrees!!