by David Safier
Where do I start with Cap'n Al Melvin's op ed in the Star? From start to finish, it's a hodgepodge of talking points without connections. There are so many ways to go after what he says, it's hard to know where to start. My overall statement about the piece is, Huh?
I guess I'll just start from the beginning and work my way through.
Melvin is upset about a letter in the Star that said Republican legislators are out to destroy public education. So how does he defend himself? He calls the letter a political attack.
Fair enough. So tell us, Al, why is it unfair to say Republicans want to destroy public education?
It's unfair because Republicans wanted to wait until June 15 to tell teachers their jobs might be cut, a fact that he discusses for the next 8 paragraphs.
In MelvinWorld (You can find it right next to FantasyLand), if you don't tell teachers they might be out in the street in September, they won't fuss and fret about it. Instead of districts saying to some teachers, "Here's a pink slip we have to give you, but we hope we'll be able to tear it up," they'd be able to say, "We won't know if we can rehire you until the budget passes, so we'll tell you then." And that would somehow ease teachers' minds.
Pushing back the notification date until school is out, of course, has nothing to do with waiting until summer vacation scatters teachers and parents so they can't mount any effective protests to pressure the legislature when they get the bad news. In MelvinWorld, its sole purpose is to make life pleasant for teachers so they'll keep teaching with smiles on their lips and songs in their hearts.
Let's see who are the good guys who want to hold off on notifying teachers, and who are the bad guys who want the teachers to have early notification.
Wide support from educators. And that would be who, exactly? Melvin doesn't say.
Now that he's effectively demonstrated that Republicans aren't out to destroy public schools (Huh?), Melvin talks about how much he and other Republicans love public education.
Huh? Republicans have made efforts to increase funding? I guess that's true if you consider how much money they want to put into private schools in the form of education tax credits and, if they could, vouchers. That's increased funding, right? Not for public schools, but it's increased funding.
I'll give the Cap'n the final word in this post. The only thing I would say about the way he concludes the op ed is, "You can't make this stuff up." So what's the point?
Our children deserve it, and I would call on those who seek to score cheap political points to join with us and contribute in a meaningful way to the debate over how to best improve and protect our schools.
You can't make this stuff up. (Sorry, I don't have as much self control as I thought I did.)