Wilson: Offering educational solutionsWritten by Brian Wilson | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately, not everyone listens to WSPD or reads Toledo Free Press. If they did, we would be well on the road to solving the embarrassing, expensive and dysfunctional problem that is the Toledo Public Schools (TPS)system. Instead, due to contagious apathy, low standards of schools and parents, unfunded government mandates, fiscal irresponsibility benefiting contractors, and gold-plated union contracts courtesy of parasitic interests (see union tyrants and so-called “officials”), we have those who see “transformational change” as re-arranging the Titanic’s deck chairs.
While TPS President Bob Vasquez and TPS Superintendent Jerome Pecko both have graced WSPD airwaves (when they weren’t trying to get the FCC to yank our license), like most any TPS student, you won’t learn much listening to their erudite comments (podcasted at www.wspd.com). Instead, you’ll get the usual tap dancing, glittering generalities, grandiose but vague promises of “transformational change” that might produce results in two to three or five years. Meanwhile, some TPS students are forced to endure their formative years at schools that have been on scholastic probation longer than they have been alive.
Of course, if we had just passed that levy … despite the fact Toledo Public Schools is currently paying $3,000 to $4,000 per pupil higher than the Ohio average of $10,000. The new TPS motto should be, “We get what you pay for.” Take a look at the perks and bennies Toledo Federation of Teachers (TFT) members have compared to yours. And you’re paying for them. Happy? They sure are.
At bottom (no pun intended but appropriate), when it comes to TPS and its primary constituency, TFT, aka “teachers union,” the worn-out cliché “for the children” should be rewritten, “before the children.”
Speaking of clichés, right about now the Usual Suspects are mouthing, “All WSPD does is complain. Why don’t you come up with some solutions if you’re so smart?”
For the record, “coming up with solutions” is not our job. Lots of taxpayer dollars are being squandered on “leaders” responsible for that. But, indeed, we are “so smart” — because we haven’t been blinded by the prejudice of aggressive ignorance, infected with contagious apathy nor are we addicted to instant gratification. It’s called objective analysis.
But we do offer solutions. On March 2 at 6 p.m. at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, WSPD will host the premiere of “Kids Aren’t Cars.” Like “Waiting For Superman,” some people will not be happy with the message. You can see a trailer at www.wspd.com/pages/hotbutton.html to see if you can handle it. Let’s see how many TPS board members and TPS teachers show up without requiring a personal invitation or a private showing. The filmmaker, Kyle Olson, will speak at the event. Theater capacity is 300, so come early. Admission is $5.
More solutions: Check out www.stepupforstudents.org. Here is an idea working well in Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa and a fistful of other states showing how businesses can reduce their tax liabilities and cut the cost of getting lower-income/inner-city kids out of their failing “public schools” into learning institutions where the quality of “education” definitely is “higher.”
WSPD continues to have on-air conversations with those who are actually out front on real “transformational change,” not just yapping about their good intentions.
Hear my conversation with “Kids Aren’t Cars” filmmaker Kyle Olson and Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson, director for the Center for Educational Freedom at www.wspd.com/pages/brianstop10.html.
Watch the “Reason TV” interview with Coulson as he discusses a new and tax-deductable way for parents to get children into private, parochial or charter schools at reason.com/blog/2011/01/28/reasontv-expanding-choice-thro.
WSPD sent Superintendent Pecko a copy of the Reason TV interview with Andrew Coulson discussing the programs mentioned above. He was advised of moring host Fred LeFebvre’s intention to ask about the program when he appeared Feb 10. It seems “Super” Pecko doesn’t set a very good example when it comes to homework. When LeFebvre questioned him about it, Pecko had to admit he hadn’t bothered to watch it.
Rather than complain about WSPD not having any solutions (which isn’t really our job), maybe Vasquez and Pecko, when they get past “intending,” will actually do something to improve the quality of education at TPS, which really is their job. Or are they still spending their time and your money on TPS attorneys to get the FCC to yank our license?
Even more solutions: We have podcasts of interviews with Chad Aldis of School Choice Ohio; Steven Flagg of the Urban Coalition; John Jones of the Greater Toledo Urban League; and Ron Adler, president of Ohio Coalition for Quality Education. All are talking about new ideas and new solutions. And that’s in just the past two months, which doesn’t even include hourlong “Eye on Education” programs on WSPD at 6 p.m., hosted by Fritz Wenzel.
Of course, when the solution to the problem threatens to expose one’s incompetence, indifference, hypocrisy or skullduggery, it is only natural to hear the plaintive wail of the Red Herring, the “shiny thing” to distract the audience from learning the truth. And, of course, the predictable ad hominems from the intellectually bankrupt, which will surely follow this column.
No problem. Good old Ben Franklin addresses that quite eloquently: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.”
Brian Wilson is news director and program director of 1370 WSPD. E-mail him at Brian@wspd.com.