Ok, we weren’t going to post today, given the amount of football begging to be watched and the recovery the crack editorial staff’s alcohol-besotted bodies are desperately crying out for, but this one almost made me spew my Diet Coke (with Splenda) out onto the keyboard.
The ABH is editorializing about the big issues of 2006 on a local level. Issue number one is education. We’d agree with that, or maybe number two after the rampant poverty in ACC, but that’s academic, and we believe the two go hand-in-hand.
Anyway, your humble author was glancing over the editorial, and generally liking what I read. The ABH decries that lack of parental involvement while pointing out that it’s not likely to get any better, and calling for the community at large to take up the slack. Good stuff, there. The editorial makes a few pointed comments about how district administrators are better at creating excuses than results. No argument here. Then we get to this beverage-spewing passage:
“We'd also suggest that school officials consider some radical approaches to instilling discipline in students, including implementation of a strict district-wide school uniform policy. Beyond that, it might be wise for the district to consider single-sex classrooms, or even single-sex schools, as a way of removing social distractions that can keep older students from focusing on their studies.”
Huh? Hang on. Students are failing because they’re too busy checking out the cheerleader in the next row to concentrate on the Hawley-Smoot Tariff? Hoo boy.
Ok, we’ll admit that there’s room to argue on the uniform thing. Uniform policies have spawned good results in other schools across the nation. We don’t agree with mandatory uniforms, personally, because we’re all about letting students express their individuality (within reason), but we’re not going to out-and-out dismiss the notion. We’re convincible.
We are not, however, convincible on the single-sex classroom notion, or even worse, single-sex schools, for several reasons. First of all, if you want your kid to go to an all-girls school or an all-boys school, you’ve got that right, if you can shell out the bread to do so. To organize the public schools in that way kind of smacks of segregation, and creates a slippery slope that we’re not super comfortable with.
Also, every time there’s a good idea, somebody brings up the budget, which we are happy to do now. We don’t know what the transition costs on a program like this would be, but it’s too expensive. The money could be better used for other purposes, like hiring more teachers, for instance.
Finally, there’s this. In our opinion, public schools are about more than reading, writing, math, and history. They’re about socialization, teaching kids to thrive in a society where not everyone looks like you, acts like you, talks like you, or goes to the same church as you. Whether that should be the case or not is academic; it is what it is, and the XX’s and the XY’s should learn together.
Hey, we’re all in favor of radical solutions to the mess that is the Clarke County School District. Remember this post? But radical solutions also have to be solutions that will solve old problems, rather than create new ones.
We would also mention, based on our past experiences as teenagers that not looking at girls is not going to stop teenage boys from being distracted by them.
Finally, let’s take a look at reality. This is a silly suggestion floated out by the local newspaper’s editorial board on a slow news day. These suggestions won’t become reality, especially given the CCSD’s slavish devotion to the status quo. But still. Hoo boy, those are bad ideas.
While we’re on the topic of the ABH editorial, we would mention briefly that TDRs are not going to be happening anytime soon, and we’re slightly irked by the ABH’s promotion of censorship for ACC Commission meetings. We believe that it is the job of our local elected officials to listen to their constituents and be damn glad that our community is still small enough that they can. It’s their job. You don’t want to sit through five hours of listening to the community? Don’t run for office. Guess what? Sometimes we don’t like listening to our bosses either.
Oh, and while we’re at it, we couldn’t agree more with what they said about downtown Athens and ordinances.