Words Have Meaning - And Response (2)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Much has been said regarding UnifiEd and APEX . Words mean a lot in an information- and data -driven society. Let’s be sure we understand what is meant before putting it into print, especially with so much at stake.

Jamie Petty in a post on May 13 supplied a link: www.ApexProjectReport.com
 

. Buried deep in the rhetoric it states a survey was conducted of over 2,500 people in Hamilton County yielding results used in formulating UnifiEd’s attempt to set school policy in regard to their APEX Project.

Wednesday, Steve Slater, who says he served on the APEX Steering Committee, stated the survey gathered information from approximately 4,000 people. Obviously a larger number than the one in the official link. I’m not sure which number is accurate or if the number is growing since I recently raised the concern that a sampling as small as a couple of thousand would not yield valid results in a county of 350,000 people.

And yes, Mr Slater as you said, change will come. I have in my career in education dealt with change agents whose sole purpose was change for change’s sake although they would never admit it. From the 1980’s on the Consultant Industry has churned out agents of change in the field of public education whether needed or not. And foundations have seemingly had unlimited resources to fund those changes.

But in a June 1, 2016 piece in the LA Times by the editorial board, the point was raised for consideration about the Gates’ Foundation attempts to radically change schools. It was the conclusion of the editorial board, not one person’s opinion, that philanthropists shouldn’t be setting America’s public school agenda. In fact that’s the elected school board’s responsibility. Hence the PAC support of board candidates here as Ken Myer addresses.

So in contemplating a “knocking the walls down” approach to local public schools, let’s look carefully at what Unifi-Ed is saying as well as their motives. If Unifi-ed really wants to know the community’s  thinking, why was there no county wide mail-out since it’s implementation will affect everyone in the county? Instead small groups, which often have an agenda, was chosen as the form of sampling “public opinion.”

Now in an election flyer, according to Charlie Hunt’s post,  School Board members Rhonda Thurman and Joe Smith were described to potential voters as “unacceptable, dangerous and hateful.” These are not words to be taken lightly. Words like this seem inconsistent with a group who claims they want students to learn, grow and prosper in a good school.

Regardless of liberal or conservative, out of concern for who is trying to control the schools in Hamilton County, people should speak up.  Every parent and community member should ask your elected officials running for office if they can explain the APEX Project and then state if they support it.

Ralph Miller 

* * * 

Mr. Miller,  I feel a reply is needed to try to set the record straight.  First and foremost, I never said change is coming.  I only recommend some conversations. Secondly, on page 51 you will see that over 4,000 people had input to the questionnaires.  I agree that number should be more, but when I tried to have folks fill out the survey, I was met quite often with apathy (which is sad). Thirdly, if you read my letter and not skimmed over it, you would have read I am very conservative.  You and I probably have a lot more in common than you think.  Fourthly, my last paragraph states how much I appreciate the current board for their hard work and service, and that includes Joe and Rhonda. They may be the two hardest workers.

Again, let me state what our job was:  gather as much information as possible, publish the results.  Please read what I personally believe in that letter and tell me where I am totally off base. 

Honestly, I appreciate your concern for the schools and as I said before, we probably agree more with each other than you think.

Steve Slater

* * * 

Mr. Miller, 

Thank you for your frank and thoughtful opinions on the different issues that affect us all.   

I know Steve Slater, and know him well, he’s my neighbor and consider him a close friend, he’s very conservative, and definitely not a liberal.  In his letter he does not advocate change, his committee was just reporting the facts they had gathered. 

We have had several discussions about this ongoing matter along with school board problems and other issues.   He has recently retired from the insurance industry and was my personal agent.  I have set in his office over the years and have had several discussions about the educational systems problems.

I think Mr. Slater and the other committee members have been hoodwinked by a PAC that their ultimate goal is different than their mission statement, and the board members not only owe Rhonda Thurman and Joe Smith an apology, but also the residents and leaders of Hamilton County. 

Charlie Hunt


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