Monday, May 29, 2006

A Study in Contrast

[I]t's a cheap heart tugging trick to say "it's for the children" .... [The] whole "education is the most important thing" motto was way wrong and arrogant, to boot. How many people could look face to face with a firefighter or policeman and tell THEM that education was more important than protecting life and limb?

- - Substitute Metro School Board member Kay Brooks reflecting on the September 13, 2005 sales tax referendum

Educating children is the most important thing that we as a people can do, and I think that the long term solution to crime reduction and abatement is education. So I am all for education .... This referendum is something I am very in favor of ... to give education opportunities to children is something that I believe in.

- - Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas reflecting on the September 13, 2005 sales tax referendum


  1. There is no trick cheaper than asserting that those who say they "do it for the children" are merely heart-tugging and not sincere.

    It is an empty cliche at this point.

  2. And as if public school teachers cannot have multiple interests, including for the children in general and for their own children, without being accused of trickery by a school board candidate who now says that her self-interest in her own children will actually help her activities on the school board "for the children" in general. Why can't union members have the same interests and be as good as Kay Brooks? One of her prevailing blogging tactics is to engage in a perpetual dualistic litany of teachers' union=greedily bad versus home-schooling pioneers=selflessly good. I see a lot more gray there than she does.

  3. Even if "Education is the most important thing we do", it isn't the ONLY thing we do. Budgets are always about establishing priorities and the relatively merits of different programs. The blog from Kay Brooks you linked to has a more relavent excerpt - "Educating our children is very important. I don't think anyone in Nashville disagrees. We disagree on how it's being done. There are too many other programs and systems that are doing a better job for lots less money so we know that a larger budget isn't necessarily the answer. If the current restructuring means less fluff and a focus on the fundamentals and no more 'pre-literate teens', fewer remedial college courses, and higher TCAP scores it will become clear that the voters were right. But it doesn't really matter if they're right or not. It's their money. They do have a voice in how it's spent. If they won't hand it over for pet projects those pet project proponents will have to fund them from other sources."

    And one last bit of irony...Chief Serpas who supported the sales tax referendum has his child in private school. So maybe he shouldnt have even voted, given your premise that a home schooler has no business on the Board?

  4. given your premise that a home schooler has no business on the Board?

    If you've been reading Enclave for longer than this post, you should know that his complaints about the appointment of Brooks are wide and varied, the majority of them having nothing to do with her being a homeschooling educator. That is hardly "his premise."

  5. As I've said before, my bigger concern is not that we have a home-schooler on the board. It's that we have a home-schooler with little or no past connections with public schools and who has demonstrated through her blog downright animosity toward public schooling. I do respect those who think that a home-schooler should never serve, but I don't necessarily agree with them. My biggest concern is that the appointment of this home-schooler was a railroad road job and Michael Craddock was the engineer and the Republican Party went along for the ride. Kay Brooks is just the latest symptom of what's wrong with Metro Council, and I've written on how they've done us wrong over and over before Kay Brooks happened on the scene.

    Kay Brooks claimed to speak for police officers even in the face of the paradox that the very same week a "policeman," Chief Serpas, said that public education is the most important thing that we do to fight crime. That strained the credibility of her claim about asking police officers about education.

    As for Chief Serpas having a child in private school: he's not now acting as summer seat-filler as Kay Brooks is. And if he was, I would use the same argument: if he had little or no connection to public schools, then I would take issue with the appointment. More importantly, if yea votes were put together behind closed doors and traded for back alleys, then I would most strenuously object to his placement by Council.

    I think it's admirable that someone with a child in private school or a home-schooler would still see it as their civic duty to raise revenues to support public schools (even though I opposed the September sales tax). I actually have a lot more respect for Serpas's condition of having a child in private school and voting in favor of a sales tax increase than I do for Brooks' condition, home-schooling her children, eschewing any relationships public with school-related organizations, and rejecting all new revenues out of hand.