Posted by Roxanne Sitler
Dear Mr. Meyer;
If those who consider the term “government schools” to be divisive would step back from their posture of taking offense for a moment, they might realize that the term “government,” whether used divisively or not, is the descriptor that most accurately reflects the nature of the thing being discussed. Should “reasonable people” resent accuracy in rhetoric? Spare all other things that should be considered, the centralization of governance alone over that last ten years makes the term “public” an inaccurate descriptor of this nation’s education system and one that couldn’t possibly be used in good conscience.
Concerning taxation and representation, Mr. Meyer in another recent post said,
“For example, although the budget of the Moscow School district is a concern, it reprehensible for anyone connected with Christ Church or Logos School to be overly concerned. When Logos didn’t have a gym, they used the Moscow Junior High. When Christ Church didn’t have a big enough facility, they used the Moscow High School. Yes, they paid rent, but instead of saying thanks, a small but vocal number of supporters of these two groups have gone out of their way to be negative about the public school system. They use negative buzzwords and offer continuous negative comments.”
As a lurker on this list (and yes, an outsider for now), I have watched the “education” discussion with interest. What Mr. Meyers fails to grapple with in his comments is that all of Moscow’s citizens who own property *are* paying their hard earned dollars to support the system and by doing so *do* have something to say not only about the budget, but every other policy as well. It appears that Mr. Meyers is suggesting that certain citizens who pay their property tax bill, and then also pay to have their children privately educated, should be excluded from public input — especially if there is anything negative about that input. Do all citizens, especially those who actually pay the tax, have the right to enter into public discourse or not? Is it really “reprehensible” for anyone connected with Christ Church or Logos to be “overly concerned”? I would suggest that it’s even more reprehensible for someone to expect a man to support something with his purse that he is not allowed to criticize.
I also find it incredible that Christ Church and Logos are being singled out here. To assume that there aren’t other segments of Moscow’s population who are opposed to certain policies and practices of government schools, and even to their existence, is, I believe, short-sighted. This is a debate and discussion that is taking place on forums all across the nation.
“They whine about taxes but offer no productive solutions. Without pitching in and working to help the entire community, it is obvious that some group members are only concerned for themselves. To be blunt, until Logos accepts all students, including those with serious mental, physical, and behavioral handicaps, then those vocal group members have absolutely nothing to say worth hearing about the cost of public education.”
The above statement about pitching in and working to help the entire community begs this question, “Do those who support government schools and not also private institutions have a concern for only *part* of their community? What solutions have been offered to those who do not believe A government system is a national blessing? Aren’t they part of the community? It seems to me that those who are being condemned here have provided themselves a productive solution — an alternative system that they fund sacrificially while still funding the government system. It’s hard to imagine that they consider themselves as having a legitimate voice, one worthy of being heard.
Lastly, if simply having a say about the cost of public education is dependent on private schools practicing the same folly as government schools, then perhaps closed mouths ought to be followed by closed purses.
Our current system of education is not untouchable. The wisdom, legitimacy, and effectiveness of the government schools is a growing part of our national debate. Those who believe only and wholly in the status quo need to realize that the subject is far from being settled — and, not everyone who questions it ought to be looked upon as if he/she or they had ten heads. As the great statesman Patrick Henry once said, “but different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I should speak forth my sentiments freely, and without reserve.” Debate is a great tool for improvement but it is, by its very nature, divisive. It seems silly to get ourselves in such a dither when debate and disagreements happen because, surely they will.
Devisiveness Must Stop
by Jim Meyer
A few thoughts:
Divisiveness Must Stop
It is shocking that anyone would vandalize a downtown business. The reason people feel driven to resort to such behavior is because they feel threatened and impotent. In this case, the main reason people feel threatened is because a small but vocal part of a certain group of people has painted their group as clearly intolerant to those who don’t belong to the group. They use buzzwords like “heathen” and “government school” in a sanctimonious way that can only be view as divisive. They make it entirely clear that they are only concerned with themselves, and not (at all) with the members of the community outside themselves. They do things like talk about slavery in a way that anyone outside the group would consider, if not racist, then interpretable as racist in modern society. They run for the public office of school board but have obviously no intent of improving the education of students outside the group. In fact, to those outside the group, they make the whole group appear downright mean-hearted, selfish, and now, as subtle racists.
For example, although the budget of the Moscow School district is a concern, it reprehensible for anyone connected with Christ Church or Logos School to be overly concerned. When Logos didn’t have a gym, they used the Moscow Junior High. When Christ Church didn’t have a big enough facility, they used the Moscow High School. Yes, they paid rent, but instead of saying thanks, a small but vocal number of supporters of these two groups have gone out of their way to be negative about the public school system. They use negative buzzwords and offer continuous negative comments. They whine about taxes but offer no productive solutions. Without pitching in and working to help the entire community, it is obvious that some group members are only concerned for themselves. To be blunt, until Logos accepts all students, including those with serious mental, physical, and behavioral handicaps, then those vocal group members have absolutely nothing to say worth hearing about the cost of public education.
As I write this, I truly believe that almost nobody in Moscow has anything against religious schools or private schools or vigorous church groups, but what almost EVERYONE objects to is a group trying to recreate Moscow in it’s own selfish image — based clearly on intolerance — and at the expense of non-group members. AND IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER WHETHER THIS IS TRUE OR NOT, BECAUSE IT IS THE APPEARANCE OF IT BEING TRUE THAT COUNTS.
As I see it, there is only one solution to the problem of divisiveness in Moscow, and that is for Christ Church, Logos, and New St. Andrews to remove from any position of importance, any persons who would apologize for slavery or who coin such divisive terms as “government school.” That is, of course, if they want to have any respect at all from the greater community of Moscow.
Perhaps, however, a week or two should charitably be given to the divisive person to decide for himself if his place in the community and his job security wasn’t worth reexamining his more strident views. If, for instance, there is a clear repudiation of the co-mingling of religion and politics and a clear repudiation of a certain pamphlet on slavery, and an end to divisive rhetoric, then perhaps that person should stay. Everyone makes mistakes, after all.