By Jeff Winter
It is with regret, and no small degree of sorrow, that I respond to Mr. Clark Palmer’s brilliantly-conceived condemnation of, in his words, “the character and attitude of the School District’s entrenched administration toward its true purpose: educating the children of this District (or not).”
Mr. Clark has certainly and expertly demonstrated his acumen in matters involving educational administration, and shared that on numerous occasions with the community. I do not doubt for a minute that holds a degree of expertise in these matters that many of us do not. And for that, his words are quite worthy of consideration, something for which he should be applauded.
My regret however, along with the sorrow, stem from what it is that he is truly trying to accomplish. His repeated condemnations of others who are attempting to accomplish the same thing that he claims to be seeking (educating the children of the District) immediately call his aim into question. And do so in a manner that is, well, inarguable. No matter who poses the argument or what argument they posit. I can guarantee that – something that Mr. Palmer will find he is unable to do.
There is an old adage which applies to us all, stating that the moment we point a finger elsewhere directing blame or responsibility for circumstances, three more are pointing directly back at ourselves. Now, if we are honest, we all must admit to throwing that adage up recklessly. Perhaps we have a friend who is struggling with a situation, and for sake of avoiding telling him/her that he or she “can’t see the forest for the trees’”, instead whip out the old adage in hopes of encouraging them to change their behavior towards better resolving the fix they are in.
We find that approach perhaps more “polite” and maybe even a bit “adroit” on our part. And we walk away feeling pretty good about what we’ve done. Sadly however, missing the “meat” of the adage – that it is directed at us all at all times, not at someone else. No matter the person, no matter the situation. Both here and now…and unto the ages of ages.
That is inarguable, uncontestable – anyone “bold” enough to contest it will find their boldness dissolved because that truth (which so many of us, whether it be Mr. Palmer, school board members, or you and I, hold above and beyond the “truths” of all others) is the REAL thing. Not a or our version of it, no matter how justified those versions may seem, no matter the religious or spiritual or educational or whatever merits lay at its foundation. Those merits are all found lacking, hollow, and empty.
How in heaven’s name does this apply to Mr. Palmer, our school board, and our educational system?
Very, very simply…and at the same time, very, very accurately…and I might add, very, very applicably.
We are fortunate to have at hand, many very intelligent, very dedicated, very expert people working at what will best serve the educational needs of children in our community. And they face roadblocks from outside our jurisdiction that would well, “make a saint swear.” Nonetheless, they push on: Mr. Palmer, school board members, and all others who’ve done their best to ensure the best for our kids.
It might very well be time for all of us to put down the swords and work together.
Impossible? No one can win that argument either. Trying to would only saddle one with a responsibility that they’d be humiliated to bear.
I can guarantee that too.
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