At a recent meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, board member Connie Dietz affirmed the district’s policy of always putting kids first. At least in words, that is.
Scolding a member of the Kansas State Board of Education, she said “This board always, always puts children first. And don’t you ever come back to us again and say we don’t, because we always put kids first.”
(The video is at Wichita school board video shows why members should not be re-elected.)
Ms. Dietz’s indignation might be a little more convincing if the board’s actions and policies actually backed up her words.
A look at the credit card records of past superintendent Winston Brooks, so beloved by Dietz, shows that it’s really not all about the kids. Not when you can dine at taxpayer expense in restaurants like the Capital Grille, among the swankiest and most expensive steakhouses around. Or stay in expensive hotels like the Raphael in Kansas City, described on its website as “Kansas City’s Original Boutique Hotel.”
(See Credit Card Records Give Insight to Wichita School District Management and Priorities for more.)
Its seems to a be a systemic problem. We elect people to do certain things and they immediately forget what those things were when they take office. We need to rid ourselves of these parasites and find the ones out there who truly get it. No east task not in Wichita and not in Florida where I live.
Dietz is quite possibly the most obvious liar on the School Board, claiming that “This board always, always puts children first.” If that were the case, Wichita wouldn’t have the poorest-performing major school system in the entire State of Kansas. Whether you’re talking about per-capita student funding, classroom size, or simply the wretched graduation (dropout) rate, Wichita’s public schools are an embarrassment to the rest of Kansas, and to public education everywhere.
In addition to attending Wichita public schools at every level (Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior High, High School & College) — I’ve also attended public institutions, at every level, in other states. With the sole exception of public university in Arkansas, every one of those schools surpassed the corresponding public school offering in stingy, shallow Wichita. Even tiny-town RURAL KANSAS provided a better public school!
I’ve attended a public school system where they really DID “put students first” — Palo Alto, California, in the 1960s. There, I had the choice of SIX foreign languages (Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin or Mandarin Chinese), my math teacher had a Master’s degree (before it was fashionable for teachers), my science teacher was a Ph.D. candidate (he got his Ph.D. the year after I left), and half of the science department already had theirs. That’s right, a science DEPARTMENT — with its own building, complete with college-level laboratory equipment, even overhead-projection microscopes (in the 1960s!). The MUSIC DEPARTMENT had its own building — one half for the chorus, and one half for the orchestra (yes, a real ORCHESTRA) and band. The Gymnasiums (one for boys and one for girls) had only one common area — the Olympic-sized pool. The A/V department, with its own manager and volunteers had a wealth of top-notch equipment always at teachers’ disposals.
And that was SEVENTH GRADE !!!
What did they have to show for all that effort? Look on the map of California, sometime, and see where Palo Alto is. It is the center of the universe for the computer industry. It is the main hub town of “Silicon Valley.” The kids I went to class with, in Palo Alto, came of age in the 1970s and 1980s, and began the computer revolution.
At the same time, the kids I went to school with in Wichita were looking for work, as the aviation industry convulsed time and again, regurgitating them ungratefully — and Wichita’s manufacturers (and not just aircraft manufacturers) steadily lost “market share” — across the board — notoriously unable to compete in the growing global marketplace.
It’s not just a question of economics, it’s a question of education. Something Dietz and her colleagues on the Board (and every USD board before them for generations) refuse to acknowledge.