Letter: Escaping mediocrity

A school librarian recently made an accusation that all folks like state Sen. Bodi White don’t “really care” about improving our school system because they support the proposed new city of St. George. If they did care about improving the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, then they would work to do so, according to the librarian.

Here are a couple of points that supporters of the EBR school system as it might be should consider when looking at the future.

The parish school system presently is ranked 51st out of 93 school districts in our state, not even in the top half. And this is after years and years of money, new plans, new administrations and buckets full of promises. If a parent truly wants their child (children) to get a very good public education, then they need to move to another jurisdiction because the likelihood of EBR becoming even a top 25 system in the foreseeable future is slim.

The core of the EBR problem is the same core for all weak and poor school districts … the parents don’t care. When enough parents want good education for their children and are willing to participate to make that happen, good education almost always comes about. There aren’t enough parents in the parish who care a great deal about high-standard, high-quality education. So, the students suffer.

Twelve years is all a student has for preliminary education, and the first few years are so critical. For example, two of my children did the first grade twice. … not because they failed but because I knew they had not learned enough nor had they matured enough. They are adults now and both became teachers. When the first few grades are poorly done, very few will achieve good things in their future.

So a caring parent might think, “For quite a few years there has been no significant improvement in EBR schools in spite of money, plans and effort. Therefore, I’ll arrange to get my kid(s) in a better system.” And so are born new cities that have better school systems.

It’s not about money … it’s not about plans … it’s not about grading or measuring; it’s about huge numbers of parents who will not stand for mediocre results. They need to swarm on meetings; they need to cast out “magicians and charlatans.” They should know just what their kids are doing, and they impose high standards of their own. It works every time.

Good luck, St. George. Maybe if you come into existence, the “don’t care” parents of EBR will get the message and march in the streets for better EBR education.

Bill Fontaine

retired retailer