Dispatched today to William Thomas Barnes III, President of the Bibb County School Board:
My parents were teachers at a public high school in the inner city of Detroit. They could tell you stories about incompetent teachers, school-board politics, disengaged parents, and unprepared students that would make your toes curl. And yet, they inculcated in me a deep appreciation for public schools. I am a product of a public school education, and it never entered my mind to send my child to a private school—until we moved to Macon.
It was with profound displeasure that I learned last week that Dr. Dallemand’s plan to revitalize the Bibb County School system involved closing schools and eliminating teachers. I cannot fathom how this will result in anything other than larger class sizes, less individualized attention to students, and further academic decline.
I am, furthermore, mystified at the idea of shifting fourth- and fifth-graders into middle school and what were once middle-schoolers into high school.
What leaves me most stupefied is that Dr. Dallemand is unable to answer legitimate questions about how much his so-called “miracle” will cost in the short term. It is simple due diligence to know what the plan is likely to cost and make that information available.
While I agree that we must do something for the good of Bibb County Public Schools, we don’t have to do this! A bad idea doesn’t become a good one just because we have to do “something.” Dr. Dallemand is asking for the largest and most radical change in the history of Bibb County Schools since integration, and he is asking for this change to be approved after only seven days of consideration. At the very least, one would have thought he would take the time to sell his plan to the stakeholders—the parents—rather than ramrodding it through the board. That is what leaders do when they have a grand vision. Only the insecure try to rush a decision before all the details are known and explored.
Among some of my closest friends—who represent a wide array of political perspectives but who all possess advanced degrees in their fields and are more than knowledgeable and involved in their children’s education—I am not aware of any who support this morass of a plan.
Rest assured, I will be looking very carefully into private school options for my child should the school board fail to apply the brakes to Dr. Dallemand’s half-baked agenda. The board may be willing to experiment on my child, but I do not have to like it, and I certainly do not have to stand for it.
Darrell J. Pursiful, Ph. D.
UPDATE: Just learned about the petition at Change.org: “Stop the ‘Macon Miracle’ Plan.”