Like many Patch readers, I will be voting YES on May 8th, 2012. Positions are now firmly established so I only urge everyone to mark the date and get to the polls. I also urge Patch readers to begin anticipating what happens after May 8th.
I have been very frustrated at times with the mode of argument adopted by some no voters and members of 20/20 in particular. But, as far as I can tell, most members of 20/20 are interested, like many of us, in the reform of public education. Public education itself is under severe attack – not by those who want reform but by those who want it abolished completely. This is not hyperbole.
On May 1st, when many of us were wrangling over how we could afford to renovate Andover to help with high school consolidation, the Michigan Legislature – lead by our local own representatives – were pushing for $200 million in state money to go to for profit “Cyber Schools.” While I think they are dead wrong about May 8th, I have yet to hear a 20/20 supporter say they didn’t want ANY high school. I urge all voters to consider this almost uncanny political disconnect.
Many of us are writing like crazy, putting up signs, worrying on one side or another about how to create a new single high school. At the same time, however, our elected representatives are pushing in a direction that could make the whole argument a moot point. It is critical, I think, the vote go YES on May 8th – yet if we don’t respond positively and in full to the larger problems that victory could be slowly undermined.
This is no rant from a wildly partisan teacher union supporter. In another district, my daughter just spent a year trapped with a teacher who should not be near a classroom. Those horrible situations are the result primarily of union excesses and a reliance on careerist administrators. So: I will be voting an enthusiastic YES on May 8th. But my enthusiasm stems not (potentially) from being on a winning side. It stems from being able to participate in a process where a whole community has debated, worked, struggled and looked forward. After May 8th let’s continue to take a look at the whole picture and continue to work to reform public education.