Category: Letter to the Editor

So it’s come to this….. Attacking the parents???

May 13, 2022

Note from Indian River News: The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are NOT reflective of Indian River News as an organization, along with its Owner(s) and any other employees it may have. The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor, including endorsements, are the author’s, not our own.

A local weekly rag recently managed to use the changing demographics of students in our local schools to write a hit piece on parents of students in our school district. The lengths they will go to bash parents and conservatives is amazing, but par for the course.

First, it might be more informative when talking about the minority makeup of individual schools to note that the district offers a ‘school choice’ program to parents. Some students can choose to attend a school out of their geographic area if it offers special programs of interest.

Charter schools cannot cherry pick the students who attend; all students in the district can apply to attend a charter school. If more students request a seat than seats available, the charter accepts students through a lottery system. When more students want to attend a charter than can, doesn’t it say something about the schools they’re assigned to? All of this gets down to parent involvement – something we thought the district wanted more of.

Many parents and residents in the district also support the state sending funding for each student directly to the school where they attend and not the district as a whole. The idea that the ‘money follows the student’ is being implemented in states across the country. We’ve also pushed for more flexible scholarship programs here in Florida so more students can choose and afford private or religious schools.

At the end of the day, transportation becomes a major factor in the selection of a school. If parents can’t drive their children to a school outside their assigned area and bus route, then it’s harder for students to attend other schools. That’s also why it’s important every school is the best it can be.

And then there’s this from board member Brian Barefoot, “But who wants to be a teacher these days when you’re being accused of indoctrinating and grooming and teaching CRT?” “The way public education has been politicized – the lack of respect shown to teachers…”

Let’s be very clear! No one that I know has ever criticized a teacher in our school district! We’ve criticized the Education Industry Elite and we’ve criticized the administration and board members who’ve marched to the Elitists’ drums. From the plan to hire a Senior Officer for Diversity Equity Inclusion to selecting ELA curriculum rife with CRT and age-inappropriate discussion topics, we have identified the misuse of taxpayer dollars and the blatant left-wing agendas of the national experts, and we’ve said NO – NOT IN OUR SCHOOLS!

In fact, I’ve heard about more than one teacher who left the profession because of student behavior and lack of support from administration (some in other districts.) This column from TC Palm may explain why some teachers are leaving… Martin County School Board member Tony Anderson is leaving teaching behind

Who does Mr. Barefoot think has politicized public education? When a Berkley professor advising a curriculum publisher extolls the virtues of the BLM movement or when the American Library Association and Teachers Union crow about electing an avowed Marxist to lead the organization, then we will respond. Does Mr. Barefoot need a primer on the curriculum problems and the tenor throughout the universities and teaching establishment? He, himself, said he doesn’t know how to evaluate curriculum, so he defers to the experts on the board and administration; he thinks they aren’t political or steeped in the industry? We’ve spent our own time reviewing curriculum packages and identifying problems.

The column’s author also takes a shot at parents who care about their kids’ schools and education. Calling them a small “fringe group”, he says they’ve “deluded themselves into believing they speak for a majority of parents.” How would he know how many parents’ attitudes they represent; has he taken a poll; how many parents does he know? Has he seen the throngs of parents supporting Governor DeSantis’ laws and the DOE math curriculum approvals and disapprovals?

The bigger question is why the author and board member Barefoot go out of their way to demean and demonize parents of school kids and everyone paying taxes to the district with an opinion? Demonizing the opposition is a ploy of the Left, so what exactly does the columnist and, better still, a sitting school board member get by lying about and insulting parents? Talk about politicizing – is Barefoot that desperate to get rid of another school board member, he uses a media buddy to trash parents who support the board member? Is the white knight who rode in to save the day finding out he has to work far harder than expected? This was supposed to be a retirement lark, another feather is his cap, but his understanding of the terrain and tenor in the country were off the mark and now he needs some malleable board members to make his life easier. If it weren’t so important and so sad, it would be laughable.

I still support Jackie Rosario, Thomas Kenny and Dr. Gene Posca for the three school board seats to be voted on in August. I also support any parent or taxpayer who has a concern about our school district – speak up and don’t be intimidated by these bullies.

Susan Mehiel

Supporting Dr. Karen Hiltz for the FL House

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