News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Mayor shooting from hip in squabble with schools

Mayor Don Kyle's response this week to school funding wasn't one of his better moments, and not necessarily because he said no to more education money.

The mayor, apparently feeling himself having to justify why he's not for a $1.8 appropriation that includes money for the International Baccalaureate program, felt it necessary to cast doubt on the city's educators without justifying his comments.

His Tuesday comment that, "You take the litany of new programs over the years and you don't see much in the way of results," one might have thought, was the mayor's informed insight into local education.

But when asked to be specific, the mayor responded, "They (educators) should decide which (programs) work and use the money for those programs."

That meant, of course, the mayor had no informed basis for leveling such an accusation. Nor does he seem to get it as to why the school board wants to put in place the IB program. The reason is not because the existing ones don't work, but because they were successful in building the foundation for what some experts say is the "gold standard" for local schools.

It's true that the city has a tight budget; that, perhaps, is why the mayor and City Council need to become willing partners with the school board rather than be adversaries.

Schools are not sacred cows and not above criticism, but in this case it appears the mayor is either reluctant to share information or he doesn't know what he's talking about.

A good education system is an asset for a community to cherish and protect. Ambiguous statements such as his, unfortunately, erode public support.

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