Comments about Perry School System
Monday, June 06, 2005
This was prepared as a letter to the editor for the Perry Daily Journal but they refused to print it:
I think it's time that the people of Perry take back control of our local school system. When I moved to Perry about 12 years ago, Perry was a nice quiet family town but it is now overrun with drugs, drinking and crime. When I quit my job at Ditch Witch about 8 years ago, I decided that I wanted to spend my time helping to build and improve our community. I decided to sign up as a substitute teacher and sure enough they called me right away. I had made an assumption that before I would be given a class to teach that the school would bring me in and provide training on school regulation, classroom rules, handling problems with students and so forth. What a surprise! My training consisted of pointing to a class room and saying there is your class. I soon found out that there was no pleasure or satisfaction in trying to help our young people prepare for their future because the school system didn't care whether they learned anything or not. I talked to the High School principal about the lack of direction and control and I was told not to worry about it and that I should just make sure that were no fights in the classrooms.
I suggested to the Principal that the school should choose responsible upperclassmen to assist substitute teachers in the classroom because this would give the students a chance to learn leadership and responsibility. A substitute teacher cannot even take roll in a classroom of new students because one student could answer "here" for several students who weren't in class and the teacher would never know. After 6 or 8 classes, I decided substitute teaching was not for me.
Then a couple of years later I came into contact with a Perry High School student who couldn't read, write or do basic simple math. This student could not read a sentence of simple three letter words and couldn't add 2 and 2 or divide by 4. The student had no idea what 10% or 50% or 75% meant. I was appalled! Then two years later this same student graduated from Perry High School and still couldn't read, write or do simple math. This student couldn't fill out a job application without help because the student couldn't read the questions and couldn't write the answers even if able to figure out the questions. Later the student had to have help to take a drivers test because again the student was unable to read the questions. A school system that graduates students who can't read, write or do basic math isn't worth having!
When I went to High School, we had one Superintendent and one Principal and they shared one secretary. In the Perry school system we have three principals, and one superintendent and there are usually from 2 to 5 secretaries in each of the four offices. Maybe if we got rid of about half of the administrative people in the school system, we could pay the teachers what they are worth and even add more teachers.
We have a good bunch of teachers in Perry but its the school system and government regulations and "politically correct philosophies" that prevent our teachers from being able to teach and develop leadership among our next generation.
Maybe it's time to shut down on some of the extra curricular activities and get back to teaching our kids the three R's. Football, baseball, wrestling and basketball programs should have enough money coming in from ticket sales and concessions to fund the athletic programs. Maybe the reason why they can't pay for themselves is because we think we have to have so many coaches and assistants for each of the major sports. Has anyone ever though about involving past players and community citizens on a voluntary basis?
A couple of years ago, I was asked if I would be willing to help coach the girls as they intended to form a girl's tennis team and I said sure. We had a couple of practices but not much interest from the girls. There were several boys that wanted to play but there was no boy's team. I asked the principal why they didn't have both a girl's and boy's team. I was told by the principal that the school had too many boys' athletic programs and needed more girls' athletic programs and so a couple of years later they finally got the girl's tennis team going.
We now have several boys who would like to play tennis on a school team but the school says they can't afford another coach or athletic program. We've had people around town offer to pay the coaches salary if the school would start a boy's team but they still refuse. The expense of a tennis team is very minimal. The school uses the city tennis courts and does no maintenance on the courts and the salary paid the coach is probably in the neighborhood of .25 cents an hour for all the time that the coach works with the team and providing transportation to games and tournaments.
We have a double standard in this country. If a girl wants to play football or baseball and there is no girl's team, then the law requires that the girl be allowed to try out for the boy's team and if she can compete, she has to be allowed to play. I suggest that if a boy wants to play tennis or volleyball and the school doesn't have a boy's team then the law requires that the boy be allowed to play on the girl's team. However this would be totally unacceptable because a boy would dominate the girls he played against and I'm sure that if even one boy signed up to play tennis that the school would immediately form a boy's tennis team. Wish someone would give it a try and force the school to act responsibly.
(Since I wrote this article the school has now decided to create a boys tennis team) (Wonder how much our talks with parents who wanted their boys to play effected the school board decision) I would also like to point out that many of these comments deal with people talking to individual school board members and not to the whole school board. If you were told by a school board member that they don't have the money or couldn't start a new program, there isn't much likelihood of parents taking an issue to the entire school board. (Comments added July 27, 2005)
Getting the school or the city to do maintenance on the tennis courts has been almost impossible. The cracks have opened up on the courts again at Lion's park to the point where it is dangerous to play on the courts. I recently fell and caught a finger in one of the cracks and lost much of the use and function of my little finger. Seems like in this world that we live in the only way to get something done is to get a lawyer and sue someone. Maybe that is what I should do!
Our political system in Perry seems to have a motto of "If at first you don't succeed try again." A bond issue to repair the roofs on the Perry schools was defeated by the voters. As usual the politicians and school board thought that they knew better what was good for Perry than the Perry citizens so they put it on the ballot again.
Then our public television station, which is supposed to be none partisan and not take sides in political issues started a campaign of pictures and comments that left no doubt as to their position on the issue and the people were misinformed and brainwashed into thinking that they should pay for the repairs to the Perry schools.
I suspect most people in Perry were like me and thought that if the schools had managed their money properly and made repairs regularly that they probably wouldn't have had to redo all the roofs. I'm a locksmith and I know how the schools have tried to cobble and patch up the old locks and they would never replace a lock. In fact most of the locks in the school system are so old that they can't be replaced because they are not made anymore.
Now I get to the real point of my letter. These last two items were told to me by friends who I consider to be reliable and I don't have first hand knowledge but from my prior experiences in dealing with school systems, I believe them to be reported correctly.
A lady in Perry was going around to the business people in Perry asking for donations for the Perry High School football program. She decided that since Budweiser was a new business in Perry that she would visit them and ask for a donation. They willing and eagerly agreed to make a sizeable contribution. The lady told a member of the school board about the sizeable contribution and she was told that they would make her life miserable in the Perry community if she accepted the contribution from Budweiser.
The issue wasn't taken to the school board and the money was not accepted. I wonder how many other businesses in Perry that made contributions also sell liquor. I think there were probably quite a few who sell beer who contributed, like grocery stores and gas stations. Maybe we should give them back their donations too!
Budweiser didn't ask to have the football field renamed Budweiser Field. They didn't ask for a neon sign advertising beer to be placed at the football field and they didn't ask for their name to be embroidered into the player's uniforms. Budweiser just wanted to contribute to the success and well-being of our citizens and to say thank you for letting them become a part of our community.
Next I was informed that Budweiser also offer to pay for the repair on the school roofs but again the self-righteous, bigoted, arrogant and pious school board member refused to allow Budweiser to contribute any money toward repairs at the school. Apparently they would rather the taxpayers pay for the repairs.
Wasn't too long ago that our school system also forced its students to watch a video promoting homosexuality and the gay life style. Yes, there was an uproar in the community because parents weren't notified in advance as required by law so they could be allowed to decide whether they wanted to remove their children from the class. No school personnel were ever held accountable for these actions. The school principal and superintendent should have been fired the next day.
The citizens of Perry need to take charge of their government and school board and make sure that we don't knuckle under and violate our moral beliefs every time some government agency or the ACLU blinks their eye and threatens a lawsuit.