|Fist Dap: Crooks and Liars|
The conversation about the future of education for thousands of Huntsville students has been hijacked by staged protests and inflammatory public rhetoric on one side, and staged rallies of support and blunt dismissals of the opposing view on the other.The J.O. Johnson Alumni Association and it's supporters did indeed stage a protest march after BOE members and the Superintendent ignored a petition with over 1300 signatures, and pleas by the James Oliver Johnson Family to keep the name. As a matter of fact, after the staged protestt, the BOE violated their own rules and renamed J.O.Johnson High School Mae Jemison High School.
For several months now, culminating in the past few weeks, this little war pitting local government officials against Huntsville school officials has been escalating: County Commissioner Bob Harrison and City Councilman Richard Showers versus Superintendent Casey Wardynski and the Huntsville school board.Uh, FYI, Harrison and Showers are members of the local government, and it's not County Commissioner Bob Harrison and City Councilman Richard Showers versus Superintendent Casey Wardynski and the Huntsville school board, it's the constituents Harrison and Showers represent against the Superintendent and the School Board, which is also supposed to represent the people, but I digress.
It's not about Harrison and Showers, it's about the taxpayers. This little war could have been avoided if Casey WARdynski hadn't been hell-bent on wiping out the legacy of J.O.Johnson student's and alumni. Every school in this city was allowed to keep its name after moving into a new building except J.O.Johnson High School.
This BOE has told so many lies I don't know where to start. First, they said J.O.Johnson was being renovated, then they said it was closing, then they said someone from the community suggested a name change, then they said all new schools get a new name, then they said the community would have input, then they violated their own policies and renamed the school.In one corner, Harrison has publicly accused Wardynski and the board of lying and deceit in their attempts to win favor for the rezoning plan that consolidates Butler High School, which will close, with what is now Johnson High and renames it for astronaut Mae Jemison.
Now let's move on to the rezoning lies, first they said they were under a gag order, then they said they were confused. They said the NAACP and Dr. Sonnie Wellington Hereford did not oppose the plan, then they submitted a sign in sheet as proof Black elected officials and community leaders did not oppose the plan. I'm pretty sure I haven't covered all the lies, but you get my drift. Harrison's public accusations are not unfounded.
Backing up Harrison is Showers, who has proposed pulling $20 million in city funding from the school system over the issue (though the threat has no support on the council).Of course, Showers doesn't have support on the council. It's north Huntsville, who cares? Mind you this same council made it known to WARdynski he would be making a gargantuan mistake if he tried to change the name of Lee High School. The President of the Huntsville City Council was a very vocal opponent of an active rock quarry operating within two miles of schools in nearby Gurley/New Hope, AL.
In the other corner, school board president David Blair fired back at Harrison with a news release, and then at Showers with an op-ed piece on AL.com, calling Showers' threat "repugnant.Way to go, David Blair, attack the messenger because you can't attack the facts. David Blair has his nerve calling anyone repugnant, and that's all I'm going to say about him.
Wardynski, until recently, had expressed no desire to meet further with the black elected officials that have been his chief critics.Laurie McCaulley was ostracized from the black elected official's group for siding with WARdynski against her constituents, you know, the people she was elected to represent.
Wardynski said his job is to report to the school board and that northwest Huntsville board member Laurie McCaulley (since ostracized from the black elected officials group for siding with Wardynski) was the person elected to represent north Huntsville on education issues.
This has turned into a childish game, but the effect is far from child’s play. The city desperately wants to get out from under a 1970 desegregation court order that forces the school board to get federal approval before building a new school or shifting zone lines to balance student population.If the city really wanted to get out from under a 1970 desegregation order they would desegregate the schools. Out of 40 public schools, only three are considered desegregated. The reason the city has to get approval before building a new school or shifting zone lines is that HCS continues to ignore the Brown v. Board decision.
That lack of local control -- and the stigma that comes with a 44-year desegregation order -- is a constant negative in the city’s quest to recruit new jobs and new people here.What part of it's not the lack of local control, it's the sad, sorry state of public education in Huntsville City Schools that is a constant negative in the city's quest to recruit new jobs and people here don't you understand? If the BOE spent as much time ensuring every child had equal access to quality public education as they do trying to scheme their way out from under the court order, new jobs and new people would flock here.
The Justice Department, which has opposed Huntsville’s recent rezoning plan in federal court, has been watching these dueling protests/rallies I’m sure, and thinking, ‘This doesn’t look like a unified community.’ Let’s hope the federal judge hearing the rezoning motions hasn’t seen the clippings as well.I hope I'm reading this wrong, but it sounds like Haskins is hoping the federal judge hearing the rezoning motions doesn't know what the heck is going on, and that he'll believe whatever the school district tells him. Which would be a gargantuan miscarriage of justice IMHO.
In an unscientific poll on AL.com this week, nearly 53 percent of more than 1,300 readers voting said they approved of the financial and academic/technological turnaround Wardynski orchestrated by taking charge like the retired Army colonel that he is.An unscientific poll on AL.com this week is right, all you have to do is read the comment section to find out who the nearly 53% of more than 1300 represent. Here are some samples:
Casey you have to break the mold and prove you're not afraid of minorities, democrats, liberals, aclu types and the entire entitlement crowd! Do that, and you'll be doing the job you were hired to do! Oh yeah, not to mention striking down all racial transfers. And that includes allowing not allowing whites to racially transfer either. If you don't like where your child goes to school, move to where they can be zoned into a school of your preference, that's what I had to do!
People like Harrison and Showers, need to take a good look at their districts and fix the problems that they control. Like roads, the boarded up buildings and shops. Fix your areas, then complain about something you have no control over. I can't believe these two elected officials so concern over a school name. They are more concern over that than the people that they are suppose to serve as an elected official. But then again, the same fools keep voting them in.
Yeah they should be allow to destroy Huntsville like Birmingham's black leaders have destroyed Birmingham!
"Who cares what the name of a schoolis. Sounds like someone throwing a tantrum. If you're cutting funding for something so asinine, do you really care about proper education?" - JA
Bob Harrison is a big-lipped embarrassment to the people of Northwest Huntsville. He needs to be removed and a reasonable, clear-minded democrat needs to take his place.
All the AL.com unscientific poll proved is they have done a good job of misinforming the uninformed."Blacks misbehave on average more frequently than whites do," McInnish said. "(Brown) hasn't shown any evidence to the contrary."McInnish went so far as to include in his letter a chart that purports to show the "black crime rate as (a) multiple of (the) white crime rate." The chart indicates that black people commit more than six times the violent crime of white people overall; it has them committing about eight times as many murders as white people and more than 14 times as many robberies.
Though it may be too late to mend fences, Wardynski did send a registered letter, received last week, to this debate's key players, offering to host a meeting with Harrison, Showers, Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, and McCaulley on Tuesday, April 1.I agree, it's too late to mend fences, what good is a meeting after the fact? What are they going to say, I'm sorry but we are still going to change the name and build the new school less than half a mile from an active rock quarry without adequate air quality level testing and an environmental health risk assessment?
I hope, for the community’s sake, these elected officials and Dr. Wardynski can set all pettiness aside and just sit down and talk and listen to each other respectfully.Thanks but no thanks! You have already said you don't want the federal judge hearing the case to have all the facts, so forgive me when I say I can't trust you to make sure no ones' message is garbled by a one-sided (yours) telling of it. Sorry.
AL.com has offered to be there to chronicle the meeting and make sure no one’s message is garbled by a one-sided retelling of it.
It may be too late to find a consensus, but a meeting done in the right spirit by all could set the tone for future discussions, and set an example for the students they all claim to represent.It's too late to find a consensus, and it's going to be hard to have a meeting with people who disrespect your constituents, unfortunately, the example for the students has already been set by the people who claim they represent them.
City school board members Topper Birney, Jennie Robinson and David Blair need a lecture on the state's open meetings law. Honesty and public trust should be part of that lesson.You think?
On Friday the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released the latest data on minority students in our nation’s public schools. More than a decade into the 21st century and six decades after Brown v. Board we find black students underrepresented in calculus and chemistry, and overrepresented in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. They face harsher discipline, less access to college-prep courses, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers.
It is stupefying to me that so many people who seem to genuinely care about children in public schools and work tirelessly to improve their educational outcomes manage to skirt responsibility for helping to eliminate racial disparities in education. When racial inequities are evident in all other areas of black life – housing, jobs, pay, health services, transportation, access to food, even life expectancy – you will need to explain to me like I’m five how you hold the belief that schools are an oasis of colorblindness.RedEye tiptoeing away from the computer to go pray for the children who are the future of our republic.