Roy Exum: Our New ‘Lack Of Trust’

Friday, August 16, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When I saw the first videos of School Superintendent Bryan Johnson unveiling the numbers on the Aquarium’s plaza  that “proved” educational promise and prosperity has returned to our county’s public education circus, I eagerly looked for the Newsweek team that accurately profiled our city as it took a huge backwards step in racial ignorance and human disdain. No … but, hey, there is a woman taking a picture of a black boy, maybe age 8, posing for a picture with two cute classmates … “Er, no, we are just here up from Dothan (Ala.) before our schools start Monday.”

Where are the TV cameras? Where is the national media for this “historic moment,” or so claimed the school’s press release.? Not a week ago the national news media took a big swipe at Chattanooga’s buffoonery when Dr.

Johnson and his misguideds allegedly spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to bring a sick soul in amongst us to preach about the madly-controversial hoax of “white privilege.”

This isn’t fair! Here we have these numbers … okay -- which no one can comprehend … and, yes while it is true we have over half of 44,000 children who cannot read at grade level, large numbers of this spring’s high school graduates who cannot pass a competency test that many of our third graders can – Surprised? They don’t drug-test children under 12 who are still in school.

Last Sunday I was interrupted as I read my Sunday paper and, as I laid it on the floor of my porch, both editorial pages were side-by-side. My favorite syndicate writers are Leonard Pitts, Walter Wiliams and Larry Elder. Believe me, each is a master and I adore all three. But not until I reached to fetch the paper, did it dawn on me all three are black. Really, I’d never thought about it and, because I’ve read them for so long, I could care less. I guess I knew subconsciously each was black but – so help me – I simply never think about stupid stuff as that.

Oh, after a half-century of printer’s ink I know Lenard hired on with the Herald in Miami as a music critic before he learned to really swim and earned a Pulitzer. Larry has a law degree, which I envy because of his ability to see both sides of any story, and Walter  - who is still sharing his uncanny common sense at age 83 – is the King Solomon of all those who try to write op-eds.

In Larry’s column last week, he quoted a UPenn research paper that found “On average, anti-black prejudice (has) dropped sharply … from two years before the 2016 election to … two years later … That marked the lowest level since the research team started in 2008.”

I believe that’s right, but other research consistently shows racial prejudice is lower in the South than anywhere else in the United States. I think that’s why I was so upset and disgusted when a black guy with a microphone in front of a required-attendance crowd made a horrible spectacle that reflected racism at its worst.

Most ludicrous is that on top of such a loathsome pile of manure is the over-riding threat that I am convinced is very real and definitely dangerous. What’s most lethal? These morons are entrusted with the education, and the knowledge, of 44,000 children.

Superintendent Bryan Johnson immediately went into hiding, as is his ‘privilege’ if you please, and it is more noticeable with each new day as far as the County Commission is concerned. The commission funds the schools, and therefore there is more evidence of blatant deception than can be found in Jeffery Epstein’s neck X rays.

When Johnson got caught trying to slide the hiring of “just 188” new employees instead of funding his teachers’ raises, I would probably have fired the guy right then and there. After all, Johnson, County Mayor Jim Coppinger, and all nine commissioners had quite boldly promised the raises were “in the budget” for nearly six months and the raises were.

But  Johnson’s ego took a real jolt when a tax increase predictably blew up in his greedy hands. He had already hired the majority of aides and non-classroom fluff in his pie-in-the-sky initial budget and then it became clear neither the School Board nor the County Commission had any warning about 188 new names on the payroll.

I believe his deception, which was quickly hatched, cost every teacher in our system a badly-needed five percent raise. “Planned?” the critics will laugh, but the last guy who laughed at such happenstance was Saddam Hussein when it was whispered there were 188 brand-new M-1 Abrams tanks, with the diesels idling, on the other side of the Iraq border.

I’m not sure where this new wave of doubt and lack-of-trust for the school system is going but allow me this: As the school year just began, it became known that Dr. Frank Fischel, the fourth principal at Ooltewah Elementary in a short time, had just resigned with some abruptness. Dr. Fischel was just hired six months ago, this rather hurriedly from Flanders, N.J.

Before that, according to sources, he was in Billings, Montana., and while the HCDE announcement gave no reason for Dr. Fischel’s resignation, it is curious the HCDE leadership, background checks notwithstanding, lured highly-regarded Karen Hollis out of retirement very quickly.

So, if you think things are happening fast at Ooltewah Elementary, wait until you tour the deck on the mother ship. May Lord have mercy.

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