McMaster’s outrageous kick in the face to public education

McMaster

I keep putting off writing about this because I haven’t had time to sit down and fully vent about it. But I might as well post something to get the conversation started.

This guy that you my fellow citizens elected governor had $48.5 million at his disposal in the governor’s discretionary education part of the money Washington sent South Carolina under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed at the start of the pandemic emergency in March.

He decided to send $32 million — just under two-thirds of it — to private schools!

In all these years that the worst kinds of Republicans in South Carolina have tried to find ways to shift public funds away from public education and use it to pay parents to abandon those schools, I’ve never seen anyone even suggest attempting to do anything as bald, as naked, as outrageous as this.

As the Post and Courier put it, in this one swoop, McMaster has accomplished “unilaterally what advocates have tried to push through the Legislature for 16 years.” “Advocates,” of course, being a polite way to refer to enemies of public education.

As bad as we thought Mark Sanford was, he never did anything like this. Then again, he never had the opportunity. Of course, I have to admit that Sanford being Sanford, he would have spent all his energy trying to prevent the federal money from coming to South Carolina to start with. There are different kinds of crazy.

This isn’t crazy, though. It’s just hostile — to the very idea of public schools, to the bottom-line concept that all of South Carolina’s children should have an opportunity to get ahead in the world — or at least to start catching up. And of course it’s an utter rejection of the idea that the state has an obligation to help them get that opportunity.

He can’t order South Carolinians to wear masks to save lives. That would be too bold. But he can do this.

91 thoughts on “McMaster’s outrageous kick in the face to public education

  1. Bob Amundson

    Orangeburg County Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday to stop the distribution of money until a hearing at 2 p.m. next Wednesday at the Orangeburg County Courthouse. Dum spiro spero …

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  2. Bryan Caskey

    I don’t know all the particulars about this specific funding move, but I will say that I’m probably the only one who comments on this blog who is in favor of competition in education. The monopoly of the public school system hasn’t been working very well.

    I don’t want to limit options in education for parents, I want to expand them.

    Lots of parents I know with grade school kids (our kids’ age) are starting to break out of the public school model with what’s going on. Homeschooling is going up, people are talking about microschools, tutors, and looking at other options besides the traditional model that resists any real change.

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    1. Barry

      Then pay for it with your own money. Is that too hard?

      I’m all for as many parents putting kids in private schools as is possible. 3 of mine went to private school for 6 years and my wife taught at a private school for 13 years. But I didn’t ask anyone to pay for it or offset the costs.

      So don’t ask me to pay for it. Deal?

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    2. Barry

      it’s nonsense to say that public schools resist change. That’s just political spin or ignorance.

      My wife, now in her 10 year of public school has experienced many more changes in methods, focus, testing, experimentation, etc then she ever did in her 10+ years at a private school.

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    3. Brad Warthen Post author

      Hey, I’m with you Bryan. And those “competing” options need to stand on their own feet and find a way of financing themselves without stealing tax dollars from the PUBLIC schools that taxes are raised to support.

      Compete all you want. But don’t call converting public monies to private interests “competing.”

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      1. Norm Ivey

        I’ve been working in public schools for 30 years. This is one of those things that has caused a great deal of noise on my social media feeds, especially Facebook, but I just can’t get work up an outrage about it. I would like that money to go to public schools, but that’s because public schools do not receive enough public money. They never will. This money is not money that was budgeted for the public schools and then taken away. It’s a one-time windfall. It would be useful this year for purchasing PPE and cleaning supplies, but from an educational resources/practice/staffing standpoint, it’s a pittance.

        My concern is that it’s not going to help the people that McMaster says he is targeting. The $6500 scholarship may be enough to send a kid to a private church school, but when it comes to the academic private schools (Cardinal Newman, Heathwood Hall, Hammond Academy), it’s only going to allow parents who already have several thousand dollars of disposable income already to subsidize their tuition.

        And now I’m going to say something that amounts to sacrilege in my circles. I’m not opposed to competition in education. I know a handful of public school teachers who send their kids to private schools. I’ll even go so far as to say that I’m not opposed to vouchers in the abstract. However, I’ve yet to see a voucher plan that makes a private school education accessible to everyone, including those with no disposable income whatsoever. Until someone figures that out, then I am opposed to vouchers on principle.

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        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “This money is not money that was budgeted for the public schools and then taken away. It’s a one-time windfall.”

          Sure. But it’s public money Henry had in his hands that was designated for education, and this is what he chose to do with it.

          It was a test. And Henry failed it…

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        2. Scout

          I agree with you Norm. I’m not totally against vouchers in principle – I’ve just never seen a plan proposed that would do what it purports to do. I question the premise that private schools are any better at educating the difficult to educate populations that public schools have a hard time with (or the flip side of that – that public schools ‘fail’ with economically advantaged students with engaged parents (which is pretty much the private school population). But I don’t know for sure since we have no apples to apples data to compare. Public schools are forced to give rigorous tests and be transparent about the results for all children. Private schools can pick and choose students, pick and choose tests, and pick and choose the results they release. For the most part, it seems that private schools don’t actually want to deal with the difficult to educate populations anyway. I’ve never seen a plan proposed that would look at whether or not an individual child is being ‘failed’ by the public school as a condition to be eligible. If such a plan were proposed, I’m afraid you might find the eligible children would have no private schools available where they live and/or would not be accepted into any that were there. But if having such a program would spur the development of private schools in rural areas that would be willing to truly take on the challenge, I don’t think that would be a bad thing. It’s just never been proposed. And Henry certainly didn’t do it here.

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    4. Brad Warthen Post author

      And if you want tax money to be spent on educational options, lobby to make those options part of the public system.

      I can’t imagine anything else being seen as fair or logical.

      And that thing about “resists any real change” doesn’t add up. The public system is the ONLY one that is under our administration, through our elected representatives. Private schools aren’t accountable to the citizenry. They’re accountable only to their “customers.”

      Which of course is a cue for my standard homily on that subject.

      Anyway, public options abound. My four school-aged grandchildren attend two different PUBLIC charter schools here in the Midlands — one is a Mandarin-immersion school, and the other focuses on the arts.

      Also, please don’t make the mistake that I am some sort of monolith when it comes to the kinds of education I embrace. I STARTED school at a private school (because of the stupid law in Virginia that would have forced me to wait another whole year to start because my birthday was two days after the deadline).

      I went to public schools in six states before graduating in Hawaii. I bounced around enough in the 4th grade that I finally had to do it with a tutor in Guayaquil, Ecuador. (I started that year in Bennettsville, did a few weeks in Kensington, Md., then sailed down to Ecuador and when I got there (end of November), it was only a month before the school year ended. So I worked with a tutor to be able to enter the 5th grade when school started back in April. (A very cool experience. I did the whole grade with three one-hour classes a week over eight weeks and homework — doing the whole year with 24 hours of instruction, which I thought was awesome. I thought all school should be like that — although I might have missed the recess.)

      The next two years (first time I ever went to the same school for two years) was at a private school, the Colegio Americano, where half my classes were in English and half (history, geography, science and of course Spanish) in Spanish. Sort of like what my grandkids at the Mandarin school do. Talking foreign 20 to the dozen.

      I did the last six years of K-12 in New Orleans, Bennettsville, Tampa and Honolulu.

      Then my kids did some of their education in Catholic schools, but mostly in public — with two of them doing part of high school at the two Governor’s Schools. (The board of one of which Henry is now eviscerating and replacing to force through his “back to school” plan.)

      Not exactly one-size-fits all.

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      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        By the way, I just mentioned it in passing above.

        I want to make sure no one has missed this other, somewhat lesser, outrage from this week:

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      2. Norm Ivey

        And if you want tax money to be spent on educational options, lobby to make those options part of the public system.

        Exactly. My district is pretty good about establishing magnet programs, and those magnets do some very good things. But even these efforts are not fully equitable. Parents must provide transportation for their children, and that obstacle immediately eliminates the magnet opportunity for hundreds of families.

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      3. Bryan Caskey

        “The public system is the ONLY one that is under our administration, through our elected representatives. Private schools aren’t accountable to the citizenry. They’re accountable only to their ‘customers.'”

        When you say “customers” you really mean the parents of the children at the school. And what’s wrong with that? Private schools are by definition much more accountable to parents than public schools, right? Private schools only get funded if the parents are happy. Public schools get funded no matter what.

        Isn’t the accountability a major factor in why lots of people send their children to private schools?

        If a child’s private school is not serving his needs, the parents have the option to walk away with their money. If a public school doesn’t serve a child’s needs, the parents get to walk away, and the school doesn’t lose a dime.

        Can you explain to me how you see public schools as having greater/better accountability than private schools?

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        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Did you read the column? The “customers” vs. “citizens” column I linked to? It answers all that. I linked to it to save myself a lot of typing.

          Bottom line, public schools exist to serve all of society. Not just students or their parents, but all of us. So we can all live in a society where people have certain skills….

          Also, let me quote what you said: “the parents have the option to walk away with their money.” That’s right — THEIR money. Not the money of the rest of us… Not a penny of my tax money should go to a private school, because that school will NEVER be accountable to me in any way, shape or form. Only public schools have to give a damn about the rest of us. Only public schools are run by people we elect…

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          1. Bryan Caskey

            How’s your broad-based accountability working out? Where are the better schools, and why do you think that is?

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            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Hey, I started answering you, but after several hundred words about the deterioration of the relationship between the schools and white voters in the state, starting with the initiation of actual integration in 1970, I decided I’d better get back to my paying job.

              I’ll try to finish the reply tonight. It involves all the biggest megatrends in South Carolina history of the last couple of generations, of which the “defund public schools” movement (something I’ve spent a lot of my adult life fighting against) is but a subset….

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            2. Scout

              They need to dis-aggregate the data. It’s quite possible that so called ‘failing’ schools are not doing so badly with the populations that private schools typically serve.

              The ratings that they put on public schools do little to actually tell you anything about the quality of the teaching – they are much more a reflection of the disparate challenges faced by each school. I’m not saying there are not bad schools or bad teachers – just that our current rating system does not give a good indication of that.

              But to answer your question, the ‘better’ rated schools typically are in wealthier neighborhoods that have more of a tax base to support funding programs, that have more educated parents who are better able to support their children with rigorous public school education standards, and have more engaged parents.

              It is no great secret that children with engaged parents do better in school, whether public or private. Which student in a public school would be most likely to take a voucher and go to private school do you think? I think, one with an engaged parent who will take the initiative to take advantage of the program. So the question becomes, was that kid doing that badly in the public school, with his engaged parent advantage? Nobody ever bothers to check before proposing that we hand out vouchers to kids who the public school is not failing.

              The voucher crowd has seemed to be more concerned with who their child goes to school with or the stigma of being in a so-called ‘failing’ school without much regard paid to whether or not their actual child is being failed by said school.

              What is your answer for the children in public school who do not have engaged parents and who are struggling academically but who we as a society still need to educate. Should we pull funds away from their education to go to a private school with a kid who was doing fine in the public school?

              From a standpoint of being fiscally responsible and efficacious with spending, this doesn’t make much sense to me.

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              1. Bryan Caskey

                “What is your answer for the children in public school who do not have engaged parents and who are struggling academically but who we as a society still need to educate.”

                For starters, there are differing levels of “engaged”. There are certainly engaged parents. I’m confident there’s a non-zero number of parents who would take the opportunity to place their child in a better school if money wasn’t a barrier.

                In general, competition works to improve outcomes. New methods of teaching could replace the old, and costs would go down just as surely as quality would go up. Competitive markets work. It’s a fact borne out by history. Think about when parcel and message delivery was opened up to competition, when the telephone monopoly was broken up, when air travel was deregulated, when Japanese competition forced the U.S. automobile industry to change its ways, and on and on. Schools would have to meet the competition or close up shop, and the ultimate beneficiary would be society as a whole. A better-schooled work force promises higher productivity and more rapid economic growth.

                Even more important, improved education would narrow the gap between the wages of the less-skilled and more-skilled workers, and would fend off the prospect of a society in which an educated elite provides welfare for permanent class of people who have little or no prospects. If you’re concerned about income inequality, I don’t see how you can be in favor of the status quo. It’s not working as well as it could.

                The status quo is that wealthy people have school choice. Wealthy people can choose any school they want for their children. However, if you’re not wealthy and you live in a lower-income area with poor schools, your kids have no choice. They’re stuck.

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                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “However, if you’re not wealthy and you live in a lower-income area with poor schools, your kids have no choice. They’re stuck.”

                  That continues to be true if you have a voucher or a tax credit and you can’t get your kids to the school that is the nearest good private school, two counties away.

                  It’s a fantasy that tuition is the only barrier to poor kids in poor, rural districts getting to good private schools.

                  The only solution is to make sure they get educated by the PUBLIC schools in their communities. That’s the PURPOSE of public schools — to educate everyone, regardless of wealth or where they live.

                  And if a public school anywhere isn’t getting the job done, we — every one of us in the state — have a duty to fix THAT school. Not pay some of the kids to go somewhere else.

                2. Bob Amundson

                  Viewing education (or other governmental “soft” services such as child protection) as a free market commodity is a problem on many different levels, a problem too complex to explain on a blog. I’d put everyone to sleep if I tried to explain “creaming” and causal versus correlational analysis of data, but those are three important reasons why privatizing soft services is not a good idea. I don’t have a problem with privatizing hard services, such as garbage collection or road building. However, even with most hard services, P3s (public private partnerships) are essential.

                3. Ken

                  “Competition works to improve outcomes.”

                  Hah! Don’t make me laugh.
                  Here’s an example of how competition leads to really bad outcomes:

                  Every Thursday three different trash trucks operated by three different trash collection companies (all private, of course) drive through my neighborhood to pick up trash from those customers who pay for pick-up. That may serve the customer’s desires and the interest of competition. But it is clearly NOT an efficient or cost-effective way to handle waste disposal.

                4. Bryan Caskey

                  Let’s dig into that a little. So you have three private companies who all have people paying them to take trash away. Is the trash taken away? Are the people happy with their service? What exactly is the problem you’re describing? If the people weren’t happy with their service, they would choose something else, right? We have people engaging in a voluntary transaction here. The residents are paying money for their trash to be taken away, and the companies are happy to do it.

                  It’s cooperation without compulsion. The essential notion is that both parties to the exchange must benefit. And there are broad-ranging examples. Consider the development of language. The English language wasn’t set up by a central government. No central authority made the rules for it. There was no planning board for what words should be nouns and what words should be adjectives. Language grew through voluntary cooperation. I used a word, you used a word, and it was mutually advantageous for us to keep on using that word. Language grows, expands, contracts, and evolves through the free market.

                  Consider the body of common law – not the body of legislative law, which is a very different thing. People voluntarily chose to go to a court and let the court adjudicate their disputes. In the process, there arose and developed a body of common law. Again, no central planning, no central authority.

                  Consider science. How did we get the development of science? Is there a government agency that decides what are the most important problems to be studied? We are starting to do that, but in the history of science, that isn’t how science developed. Science developed out of free market exchange. It developed on occasion. Scientists draw on the work of others, accepting what they choose and disregarding what they chose – All voluntarily cooperating.

                  Most objections to the free market (and yours in this instance) is that the free market gives people what they want instead of what the person talking (you) thinks the people ought to want. It’s true that in such a system, it’s hard to do good, but it’s also hard to do harm. Certainly, if you had all the concentrated power in the hands of an angel, he could do a lot of good…as he viewed it. but one man’s good is another man’s bad.

                5. Barry

                  My wife taught at a private school for over a decade. All 3 of my children went to private school for part of elementary school.

                  Almost all private schools Are selective about who they admit. I was aware of only 2 disabled students at my wife’s private school in her 10+ years.

                  They didn’t have the therapy services available for those students. It simply wasn’t something they offered. It was also about 96% white.

                  One thing I have valued greatly about public school was my children attending school with students that were different in terms of race, ability, etc.

                6. Bryan Caskey

                  “One thing I have valued greatly about public school was my children attending school with students that were different in terms of race, ability, etc.”

                  Wouldn’t it be great if we could enable more minorities and people from other socio-economic backgrounds to attend private school?

                7. Scout

                  I am not completely against competition. I’ve said I would be open to considering a voucher system that was structured to actually accomplish what it purports to do – but I’ve not seen one proposed yet.

                  But competition will only go so far.

                  I think there is a basic flaw in thinking that competition will magically solve all of the problem here. The flaw is that market based competitive systems will not evolve to serve all. The difficult to serve will be left out. But public schools have to serve all. The rural, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the disabled. The difficult to educate.

                  The status quo is that the difficult to educate have a guaranteed option with therapists and services available to them even when they live in remote areas. Defunding their only option is not helpful.

                8. Ken

                  Caskey asks: “What exactly is the problem you’re describing?”

                  Only a free market ideologue could wonder how anybody could object to such a extravagant use of resources being applied to waste disposal. A wasteful use of fuel, a wasteful use of personnel and a wasteful use of equipment – a triplification of effort AND exhaust emissions in this case – to deal with a shared communal problem. Your perspective proposes that as long as somebody is able to make money from a service, then that service is both good and rational. Therefore, taken to its logical extreme, let each of us have our own personal waste disposal team, if that’s what we want and if we can pay for it, because that’s the free market and the free market always leads to the most efficient, most productive use of resources. Which is clearly not the case in this example. It’s a perspective that, in thoroughly Thatcherite fashion, dismisses the notion of society, of society’s broader interests and goals. It sees a world consisting of nothing but autonomous individuals seeking to maximize their individual interests without any regard for common social needs. And it’s the same ideological worldview that animates your perspective on education.

                9. Bob Amundson

                  Bryan says: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could enable more minorities and people from other socio-economic backgrounds to attend private school?”

                  Sure! But the financial incentive is limited because government generally has to fund that opportunity. I’d be fine with private foundations funding vouchers; they would not be limited and could theoretically pay the price set by the variable supply and demand free market. Government is funded by taxpayers, many that don’t understand economics. Most taxpayers live in a dreamland, wanting champagne while only willing to pay for the very cheapest beer.

                10. Scout

                  To follow up on these ideas: Basically, the free market will not find it profitable to serve the most difficult to educate. It will not be a mutually beneficial proposition for them. It takes a lot of resources to get skilled professionals into rural areas to truly meet the needs of the most challenged children. Most private entities are not willing to take on the challenge or expense and a voucher program, unless it was massively subsidized, would not cover the cost.

                  You argue against the status quo and I agree, it certainly is not perfect. But, at least everybody has some access to basic services. Voucher systems threaten that. They advertise that they give more access to all, but in reality the logistics of the situation mean the neediest children get no added options. Meanwhile their public school, the only option they do have, now has fewer resources to meet their extensive needs.

                  What does that look like. It looks like districts have less money to hire therapists, so there are fewer therapists having to serve more schools with higher caseloads. It means kids are seen in larger groups or in push in class settings where it is harder to individualize interventions to their needs. It is harder to help them like you know they need.

                  If resources really are so stretched that that is what we have to do, then that is what we will do. But we don’t need to artificially create that situation in order to give students who are already doing ok even more resources at the expense of the neediest. That just doesn’t make sense.

                11. Scout

                  “Most objections to the free market (and yours in this instance) is that the free market gives people what they want instead of what the person talking (you) thinks the people ought to want. It’s true that in such a system, it’s hard to do good, but it’s also hard to do harm. ”

                  This has spurred several thoughts. You say it is hard to do harm. In the trash analogy, what about the guy who lives so far away that it is not worth the while of any trash company to go get his trash even though he may want that. Is he harmed? Has the system given him what he wants? Is your answer just that some people get left out by the free market system and you are ok with that?

                  Also, what of the situation where a con man makes a person feel that something is in their best interest when it really isn’t. The market is giving them what they think they want, but they may indeed be harmed.

                  I worry about this in the realm of special education and private school vouchers. IDEA does have safeguards and the need for evidence based practice built into it, which many people may think are annoyances but they really do protect children. And the school district is measured on the basis of outcomes for children, not on pleasing parents. Private schools that take in children with disabilities may be able to convince parents that they can meet their childrens’ needs and parents really may not have the knowledge to know otherwise, if they don’t know what therapies are really recommended or not. Not that everything is perfect with public school IEPs by any stretch of the imagination, but the forces in place are geared toward doing what is best for the child, and there is not a financial incentive to snow the parents into thinking everything is handled when it might not be. And parents have due process and recourse to address any issues under IDEA. I know and respect that these are parents’ decisions. I just feel like it is a situation potentially ripe for abuse.

                  I am not convinced it will do no harm.

                12. Bryan Caskey

                  “In the trash analogy, what about the guy who lives so far away that it is not worth the while of any trash company to go get his trash even though he may want that. Is he harmed? Has the system given him what he wants? Is your answer just that some people get left out by the free market system and you are ok with that?”

                  A good question. If the existing price of the service is too low for anyone to justify doing it, then they can charge a long-distance fee. At that point, the man living far away can decide if he’s willing to pay that extra fee for the service. If so, great – we have voluntary cooperation and everyone wins. If not, then that means the man living far away would rather deal with trash on his own rather than pay the higher price. Either way, the market works. No one is required to pay too high of a price or required to perform services for too low of a price. Just because voluntary exchange doesn’t happen doesn’t mean the market isn’t working. The absence of a transaction can be the market, too.

                  “Also, what of the situation where a con man makes a person feel that something is in their best interest when it really isn’t. The market is giving them what they think they want, but they may indeed be harmed.

                  Well, I guess this is two possible scenarios as I read your question. First, it could be that someone has committed fraud or theft, and at that point, it’s up to the Court system to correct this. That’s what courts are for. If it’s not fraud or theft, and someone has just convinced someone else to make a “bad deal”, that happens from time to time. Maybe I’m not understanding this hypothetical, though.

                  As for the practical question of educating children with disabilities, that’s certainly harder than educating a child without one. I’m assuming it’s more expensive, as it certainly is more labor-intensive and likely requires an additional set of skills. For instance, you would have to have a special school set up for blind children or deaf children, as you couldn’t teach them side-by-side with children who don’t have those handicaps. Maybe a private school for blind children could be given an opportunity to compete. There would certainly be a great deal of cost involved in starting such a school, but I wouldn’t want a child who happens to be blind to not have the same opportunity at a great education as another child.

                  At the margins, there are certainly children who need extra care and attention, but assuming those issues are handled, would that make you more comfortable with the idea of school vouchers?

                13. Bob Amundson

                  Thanks Scout for expounding; your thoughts IMHO are “spot on.”

                  You said, “Basically, the free market will not find it profitable to serve the most difficult to educate.” That concept is called “creaming” (skimming the cream off the top). The “hard to serve” are just that and will not be served by free market economics.

                14. Barry

                  “Wouldn’t it be great if we could enable more minorities and people from other socio-economic backgrounds to attend private school?”

                  Why would you assume that minorities couldn’t afford the private school where my wife taught?

                  follow up

                  Has it ever occurred to you that many private schools or private for a reason? Apparently it hasn’t.

                15. Bryan Caskey

                  I think you mean that I live on a different “plane” that you do. I’ll admit, that’s possible. :)

                16. Scout

                  Well I had started writing a response and my computer seems to have had a breakdown overnight and it is now gone :/

                  I will try to recount just the basic points:

                  Bryan – Do you not concede that there are situations where the free market does not offer options for the harder to serve? Because the added expense is just not worth their while and they have enough easier business elsewhere.

                  You should visit some rural places. Alot of people there deal with their own trash – not because they choose not to pay an offered higher price but because no company is willing to offer the service even an higher price. They have enough business in town and don’t want to spare the resources of dedicating a truck and driver for smaller returns when they need that truck and driver where the business density is greater.

                  Basically the free market does not produce options for everybody, so it should not be used to solve problems where everybody has to be served. That is my basic objection to vouchers for education.

                  I don’t totally object to vouchers to give more options as long as they don’t do so at the expense of the only option for the neediest children – because of the problem that very likely no new options will be offered for them by the free market system.

                  Back to the trash analogy, trash is not a big thing. Rural people can drive their trash to the dump without too much trouble. Education is more important. There are some things society has decided that everyone should have guaranteed access to. And so we have a guaranteed public option that offers needed therapies and services. We do not need to threaten the integrity of the system that provides this option.

                  You ask, ” At the margins, there are certainly children who need extra care and attention, but assuming those issues are handled, would that make you more comfortable with the idea of school vouchers?”

                  I think you underestimate how many children at the margins SC has – whether it be due to rural poverty or disabilities (and often both).

                  I already said up there on a response to norm “But if having such a program would spur the development of private schools in rural areas that would be willing to truly take on the challenge, I don’t think that would be a bad thing.” By such a program – I meant one that chooses eligible children based on if they are being adequately served by the public school – so if your kid is succeeding in the public school, i.e. not being “failed” by the public school, your kid would not be eligible.

                  So private schools would have the opportunity to deal with the difficult to educate….if they would choose to take it up.

                17. Scout

                  Dang, I forgot to address the disabilities in private schools issue.

                  I doubt that any court would consider it outright fraud if it was mutually agreed upon. But I think that giving a financial incentive to schools and a social incentive to parents could allow for situations where the best interest of the child is not being served without either party necessarily realizing it.

                  If parents of children with disabilities approach private schools with a voucher and ask them to take their child, maybe the school will be willing to try and think they can handle it and parents will be happy that their kid is in a private school.

                  And maybe they can handle it and maybe it will be great.

                  But at least in the public schools, there are safeguards in place to ask certain questions and make sure certain things are considered – there are requirements that certain qualified professionals are on the team to make sure needs are addressed that parents don’t even know to ask about.

                  Will the private school have certified teachers trained in special education, have certified speech, occupational, or physical therapy services, will they use evidence based best practices (will they know what those are for special education), will they strive to educate the child in the same environment with reg ed peers to the extent possible? Will they provide assistive technology to meet the child’s needs if needed.

                  Most private schools don’t have the resources to do those things. But you seem to be saying that if a parent and a school come to a mutually agreed upon arrangement and they both are happy in the moment, that’s ok. My concern is 5 years down the road, you may have a much less functional child than you would have if those things had been in place.

                18. Barry

                  “ Most private schools don’t have the resources to do those things”

                  As I have said, my wife taught in a private school for 10+ years.

                  Most private schools aren’t even interested in providing those resources. It’s not a matter of simply not having the resources.

                  My wife had a disabled student in her class one year. The school required the parents to pay for a shadow for the student. The school was not equipped with the resources and wasn’t interested in providing those services for the few students to that could possibly take advantage of them.

                  Private schools are private for a reason. They can pick and choose, and can say “no” – and do so a lot.

                  If people want to pay for folks to go to private schools, open up YOUR wallet and put your money to work. But don’t compel everyone else to give you a public tax break, or make others pay for it.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            Also, I don’t agree that public schools serve “all of society”. Brennen Elementary doesn’t even serve all of Richland County. You have to live in a specific part of Richland County to go to school there.

            If you are saying public schools serve “all of society” by educating students, then I would have to say that private schools serve “all of society” in exactly the same way, and possibly more so if we’re comparing the actual education that is being given.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Private schools are a great way to educate a subset of society.

              They don’t even try to educate anyone else, because they exist for individuals in that subset, not for society…

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                It’s another case of it taking a long time to summarize what I’ve learned over decades of writing about this. Gotta go do some work right now…

                Reply
                1. Mark

                  Brad is taking a top down perspective; Bryan a bottom up one. That seems to be were the cognitive dissonance has crept in.

                  My perspective: We don’t live in an agrarian, manual labor world anymore, not even here in SC. The idea that we do not need a fully educated populace is another of the great delusions of the defense of slavery. That many people still cannot see this is the most disheartening thing. It’s like having a cultural cycle of domestic abuse. The debate between whether public or private schooling falls way down the scale on this basis; providing educational opportunities, good ones, to all children ought not to be such a difficult need to understand. For society as much as for the individual.

                2. Bryan Caskey

                  “My perspective: We don’t live in an agrarian, manual labor world anymore, not even here in SC.”

                  Agreed. One of the relics of our agrarian past is the actual school “year” that goes from 7:00am – 3:00pm and then doesn’t convene at all in the summer. This was originally based around the farming schedule. About a hundred years ago, this stopped making sense.

                  Accordingly, other developed countries have moved beyond the agrarian cycle for school. Children go to school the entire year, and often on a 9-5 schedule that coincides with the regular workday. This schedule eliminates the “latch-key kid” time of day when kids are home without parents (a time where children often get into trouble). This year-round schedule also gives children in other countries a huge advantage in actual school time. They end up with years more school over the aggregate period of K-12.

                  Need to start thinking about really making changes to the school system. We can do better than the current system, and just spending more money isn’t the answer.

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Actually…

                  I’m dead-set against doing away with summer vacation. Kids need the break. We should stop tormenting them for a while each year, and set them free.

                  I could go on and on about that, but I’m resisting the pull of the digression… Very strenuously….

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  And HERE, I’m being bottom-up rather than top-down…

                  Whenever I hear about how awful it is that kids have been out of school so long, I get to reminiscing about what was probably the happiest, most awesome time in my childhood — the time I had an eight-month summer vacation, when I moved from the southern to the northern hemisphere. It was 1965. Summer vacation in Ecuador started at the beginning of January. School would have started back in April, but that’s when we got on the plane and headed back to the States. When we got to Bennettsville to stay with my grandparents and wait for my Dad to join us, there was only about a month left in the U.S. school year, and no point in enrolling for that period. Especially since we weren’t at our next duty station yet — which turned out to be New Orleans, which was another amazing thing about that time. So I didn’t go back until after Labor Day (this was back before the school year crept into August).

                  There were a lot of reasons why this was awesome, having in great part to do with my re-immersion into American culture at a particularly amazing time. And I’ve bored you about it before, more than once.

                  But I think I’d have loved it even without that factor.

                  And I am dead-set against denying kids the cut-down version of it they get to experience now…

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Except to say this…

                  My responses here, to a certain extent, illustrate the problem with looking at this in a bottom-up, or trees, way versus a top-down, or forest, way.

                  I’m talking about MY experiences, and extrapolating from them. I know not everyone learns, or experiences things, the same way…

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I’m a forest guy, not a tree guy. I see the trees. I care about them. I find many of them interesting.

                  But when talking policy, I think about the forest. I think about how we help ALL the trees…

                7. Ken

                  Year round, yeah. Sorta. Actually, the ones I’m familiar with usually about six weeks off during summer. And several one to two-week breaks during the course of a school year. But you’d be very hard pressed to find a school system that has school 9 to 5. More likely is a schedule that varies from day to day. Maybe 8 to 1 some days, 8 to 3 others and maybe one or two days that run from 8 to 4. But seldom if ever 9 – 5, unless you add in extra-curricular activities.

                  But more of a year-round schedule would be preferable, because of the knowledge loss that occurs over an extended summer break like we have here.

    5. Bill

      i quit public school around age 10,but by the time my friends were going to college,I was
      able to make money writing their papers..;Autodidacticism

      Reply
  3. Mark

    Primary & secondary education is the most important state and local conversation we can have. And the hardest.

    The best we can hope for is a healthy balance that offers appropriate options for all students – though we will never achieve this for any individual child. That’s just life.

    It would be great if everyone who has a strong opinion of what they want would stop and reflect upon what it is that the “others” want themselves. There is not enough of this going on, as McMaster’s myopia clearly shows. Plus, he is just mad that his hopes for a mask-free “normal” school year opening were crushed under the reality that this year is different. It’s like watching political delusion shoved into a shredder, and we are all left splashed with the blood of folly.

    Reply
  4. clark surratt

    Brad
    Your church leaders strongly endorsed this funding for private schools. Does that carry any consideration from you?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, it does not.

      I think it’s been so hard to keep Catholic schools staying open and staying excellent that folks who have that as part of their job description sometimes lose their way on this issue. They end up rationalizing things that are truly insupportable. Our current bishop’s predecessor did that in 2007. I wrote him a letter about it, and wrote a column about the letter. An excerpt:

      I know my bishop is sincere. He believes parents should determine what sort of education their children receive, and that it’s important to provide an option for them that teaches Christian values. I agree completely.
      Where we differ is on whether it’s right to ask state taxpayers to subsidize Catholic education. I say no. We shouldn’t do that any more than we should ask the state to fund a new steeple for us….

      On the other hand, I applaud the current bishop joining in on this letter to McMaster.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        By the way, the former bishop was really nice about my objections in 2007. In fact, he invited me down to have dinner with him in Charleston to talk about it. I did. Also at the table were a couple of his diocesan officials, including someone in charge of the schools.

        It’s been a long time, but as I recall, the bishop seemed more open to hearing what I was saying than the school official did. But I can’t say that for sure. As I say, it’s been a long time…

        Reply
        1. Bob Amundson

          My best friend in high school spent years as a a public school superintendent but came out of retirement to head a Catholic School near our hometown in rural New York. When he took over, the Buffalo Diocese was the primary source of revenue, but the Diocese ran into financial issues due to “settlements.” He formed a foundation to raise money to provide funds beyond tuition, and that model is proving successful. He found one graduate who was a “rainmaker” that helped make the necessary funding connections.

          Reply
  5. bud

    Off topic but this does involve getting schooled. Loved watching AOC school that reprehensible congressman Yoho over his disgusting slur and even worse (non) apology. This makes me love AOC even more than I already did.

    Reply
  6. Bart

    On topic – I don’t agree with the governor’s decision to fund $33 million for private schools when our public schools are in desperate need of upgrading on all levels. If a parent choses to send their child to a private school whether religious associated or not, then it is their choice and up to them to shoulder the burden of paying for it, not yours or mine. On the other hand, after being exposed to the quality of public school education via my nieces and nephews, I can understand why many parents prefer to send their children to a private school. If my children were still in public school, I would work as many jobs possible to send them to a private school but never expect my tax money to be spent subsidizing my decision.

    Off topic – While I was at the fitness center tonight enjoying my workout and following all of the guidelines for social distancing, etc. The racial make-up of the clients at the fitness center is great with about an equal balance of race, age, and gender. There is a minimum age limit for membership of 13. Everyone is respectful of others and take great care to thoroughly clean the equipment before and after using it. If someone doesn’t bother to clean after using the equipment, they are reminded first and if they continue to fail to clean up, they are asked to leave and if necessary, their membership is cancelled. All this leads to what occurred tonight.

    A black family come in to add more members to their membership. Nothing unusual and welcomed by the staff. The rules and regulations for membership were explained to the family along with the new members. There were two young boys that were obviously well under the age of 13 with the family. The manager asked about the age of the boys and the parents said they were 13. The manager couldn’t tell the parents they didn’t believe them over concerns of a scene. After the paperwork, etc., the family separated and started using the equipment and so did the two young boys. The parents didn’t keep the boys with them and allowed them to run around the center unsupervised. They were all over the equipment and neither they or the parents bothered to clean it as required. In fact, the entire family didn’t bother to clean up before or afterwards. One of the young boys was jumping up and grabbing one of the overhead pull-downs with heavy weights and the weight was pulling him completely off his feet and he was falling down. I was standing on the other side of the workout station when this was going on. In fact, I had to go over to one of the female family members and show her how to use one piece of equipment, not a problem. It got so bad, I had to leave.

    But, I was concerned about the boys and the potential for injury. Not wanting to create a problem or say anything to the boys or their parents, I asked the manager when I was leaving if he was going to say anything to the parents. He replied and said he had already called the regional manager and was advised to ask the parents to bring proof on their age the next time they come back and that in reality, there was nothing he or the other staff member could say or do for fear of being accused of racism by the parents because both the manager and staff member are white males like me. The regional manager said there was nothing she could do either for the same reason. The other problem is that if one of the boys was to get hurt playing with the weights, get in the way of anyone using dumbbells when working out, or be injured while playing with the equipment, the fitness center would most likely be sued.

    I say all of this to bring a point forward that is unspoken in our current culture and situation over the BLM movement and the sensitivity that is prevalent when it comes to anything concerning race especially the black and white race interactions. The fear of a lawsuit, accusations of racism, and potential unpleasant confrontations has silenced us to the point where conversations and reasonable concerns are difficult if not impossible to express. I wanted to approach the parents with respect and concern as a parent but in the atmosphere permeating not just this country but the world in general, avoidance and hesitation is the new normal.

    Reply
    1. Bob Amundson

      Bart, I do enjoy reading your points of view but this post concerns me. In my humble opinion, your story is a case of implicit (unconscious) bias. Mentioning the race (and ages of the children) is why there is a “sensitivity that is prevalent when it comes to anything concerning race especially the black and white race interactions.” Personally, I do not believe the race of the family increases the probability of the behavior you describe. Not confronting the parents because of the race of the family is an example of implicit bias.

      Reply
      1. Bart

        Bob, with all due respect, you are totally wrong in your presumption of implicit bias on my part. If you have not been paying attention to the atmosphere prevalent in racial issues, then I propose that perhaps you are the one wearing blinders and may be guilty of your own bias.

        I posted the anecdote to point out where there is legitimate concern when it comes to issues with racial interactions when it comes to speaking up. I have never had any hesitation to start a conversation with a person of color about racial issues. If anything, some of my best conversations have been with African Americans about racial issues and have listened with interest and have learned much from them and they in turn have said they learned from me because we were open and honest about the issue.

        The climate has changed to the point where the distinct possibility of hostility is immediate if any question or perceived criticism is present in a situation like the one I posted.

        If this had happened 6 months ago, I would have not hesitated approaching the parents about my concerns for the two young boys and the danger of injury. Adding in the COVID-19 fears is another factor for concern.

        So no, don’t try to determine if I am guilty of implicit or unconscious biased because I posted what is a very legitimate concern over the racial divide that is becoming more and more exacerbated leading to hesitation by those of us who do actually care about closing the divide.

        In closing, the one immutable fact of life is that one does not do or say anything to a child of any color if the child is not a family member or the child of a close friend and even then, it can be a touchy issue. Add in the racial tension that has been heightened over the George Floyd murder and the national/international protests and you have a potentially volatile situation when confronted with what I was confronted with last night. I chose the right course of action and so did the manager and staff. No racial bias, implicit or otherwise influenced us. The current atmosphere and avoidance of a potential confrontation were the deciding factors. So yes, the race of the family did increase the probability of a confrontation therefore caution and discretion were necessary.

        I am disappointed in that you chose to find implicit or unconscious bias in me because I shared something that bothered me greatly.

        Reply
        1. Bob Amundson

          I ask you share this story with a non-white friend and ask what they think. I shared it with a non-white friend and they agreed this type of thinking is hurting race relations. My guess is all my non-white friends would agree.

          Reply
          1. Bob Amundson

            IMHO, the racial divide is due to white privilege and implicit bias. All my non-white friends will agree.

            Reply
          2. Bart

            Did you ask your non-white friends what would they have done or how they would have reacted under the circumstances as outlined in my comment/anecdote? Would they have welcomed a respectful comment about the behavior of the two boys coming from an older, white, privileged male? Would they have considered it an intrusion or a racially charged confrontation in the moment? Would they have automatically presumed it was based on race instead of concern about the safety and behavior of the two young boys which it was? As for the concern of an accusation of discrimination, this was a reverse “Karen” moment to be avoided at all costs. Like it or not, this is where we are and I am aware of the potential for further harm to racial relations if I interfere even with the best of intentions without bias.

            Based on your follow-up reply, I can only presume they, your non-white friends, would have reacted based on the implicit racial bias and white privilege meme’ permeating our current national mood instead of concern for safety and behavior without parental control or oversight.

            I do apologize for leaving out an important element of the anecdote. When the child who appeared to be around 9 or 10 was jumping up and pulling down on the lat exercise with weights in excess of 80 lbs, I did go over to him to ask how much weight he was trying to use. I moved the pin to 30 pounds and even at that low weight, he was still being jerked off the floor and falling. The parents were at another ab machine close by and not paying attention. The young boy ignored my attempt to assist and placed the pin in a much higher weight resistance than the 80 pounds and it jerked him even higher and he hit the floor even harder. He could have easily flipped over and landed on his head with the momentum created by the sudden and powerful upward jerking reaction with the amount of weight he was playing around with.

            My routine is to workout several times a week and know how to use equipment in a safe manner, avoiding injury or overstressing muscles and joints and have worked with several novices when they needed help with equipment. It is my practice to study and understand the dynamics and physics of resistance, band, and heavy weight exercising equipment. I know the damage improper usage can do to the body, especially joints and muscle tears.

            With hesitancy, will note that when I owned a construction company, it was my practice to use as many black owned suppliers and subcontractors as possible. My company invested (personal finances) $50k in a minority masonry company and provided benefits they had never received before. Unfortunately, the $50k investment eventually ended up costing well over $250k losses that were never recovered mostly due to poor management on the part of project managers and superintendents. It was also my practice to mentor several black owned companies on how to manage finances, how to bid a project, and other basics. This was in the late 80s and early 90s. Over the years, it has been my privilege to work with and employ African Americans as a contractor and during my career in IT in the 60s & 70s as a manager, programmer, systems analyst, data base developer, etc., it was my practice to have a racially balanced department with equal pay and opportunities. In closing, when it was my privilege to work in Dubai, UAE, part of my duties involved administering the labor contract for 350 Thai employees and insure they were treated fairly and with dignity. Had to stand my ground defending their rights on more than one occasion especially in the time period.

            It is not my nature or disposition to let others make decisions for me, I use my life experiences to guide me along with research, observation, analysis, along with a conscience, compassion and empathy. Will also admit that at times, there are moments when the emotional aspect will take over but only for a brief moment. Once stopping and thinking through a situation, my conclusions are usually the right ones for me.

            What others do, think, or react to is up to them, projection without enough observation and information is not something I agree with.

            Reply
            1. Bob Amundson

              If someone is doing something that bothers me, I will kindly, gently discuss it with them regardless of skin color. If someone is just walking down the street not doing anything wrong, I will leave them be regardless of their skin color. Replace skin color with gender, sexual orientation, religion, body type, age, etc. as necessary.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Bob, I haven’t read this whole conversation, but at the risk of saying something without understanding the context…

                Surely you’re not saying that the way you interact with a person depends in no way upon gender, sexual orientation, religion, body type or age.

                Let’s construct a scenario. Surely you would stop a small child from crossing a busy street — and question him or her as to where Mama and Daddy are (and if they can’t be found, maybe involve a cop).

                You wouldn’t do that with an older person.

                You also might offer your arm to an old lady about to cross the same street. But if you made the same offer to a young woman, you might risk a slap in the face. And if you offered it to a young man, you might invite a punch. Unless, of course, he is of a sexual orientation (to bring in another category you mentioned) that causes him to take it another way, which could also invite social complications.

                Never mind offering your arm. In many circumstances, you might be somewhat more careful in how you SPOKE to the young woman than in speaking to someone in any other group. Social dynamics vary.

                It seems that in your comment you’re taking intersectionality, or something like it, to an extreme.

                People with experience in life and awareness of the complexity of human interactions take all sorts of factors into account in the way they approach and react to other people…

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Of course, I get your point. You’re saying, “All I see is a colonel and a captain…”

                  Sorry. I just felt like lightening things up….

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Then, of course, there’s political leanings.

                  I like to think I’m completely open and fair to all people, regardless of their politics. But I’m going to be uncomfortable around someone wearing a MAGA hat. I just am. I’ll try to get through it without in any way reacting to that fact, but it won’t be easy…

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The one thing I can honestly promise is to be as fair to everyone as possible.

                  I can also say that — and I think this is true, based on experience, but I could be fooling myself — that I will take less notice of race, or age, or sexual orientation, and in some ways gender, than most people will. (Including “woke” people who attach great importance to what group someone belongs to, seeing it as having meaning I don’t acknowledge.) But I can’t promise, for instance, that I’m going to have the same conversation with an old man that I have with a young woman, or with a child, or with a man my own age. That would depend upon the circumstances…

                4. Bob Amundson

                  Regarding your crossing the street thought experiment, the safety of the child or the older person would be paramount – the sheepdog in me. I spent years determining the safety of children in abusive situations, and parens patriae gives “The State” and therefore gave me (as an agent of “The State”) a great deal of power. I have biases, just as everyone else. I needed, and need, to be aware of my biases and do my best to not let them affect my decisions.

                5. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Society NEEDS sheepdogs, however much it may disdain them:

                  Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
                  But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
                  The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
                  O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

                6. Bob Amundson

                  I’ll try one more time – the primary determinate of my reaction is safety. Age, skin color, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. are secondary considerations. Perhaps only another sheepdog will understand.

    2. Barry

      Would the facility not have video cameras in common areas?

      Of course the easy solution to this problem, which is a problem, is to require, upon payment to join, proof of age documentation for all prospective members who could be under the age of 18.

      Reply
      1. Bart

        Not sure if they have video cameras but will check when I return this afternoon. Agree it is a reasonable question and expectation.

        As for age, the minimum age requirement for the fitness center is 13 but adult supervision is expected for young teenagers who are not old enough to drive. Personally I believe the minimum age should be no less than 16. Proof of age is required but when the parents insisted the two young boys were 13, the manager had no choice but to accept their answer. After the manager called the regional manager, he was told to inform the family that proof of age would be required before the boys could come back into the facility. When I left, the family was still in the center.

        As far as I am concerned, I will continue to go to the center, do my workouts, keep to myself and follow the social distancing guidelines along with cleaning the equipment before and after using it.

        Reply
        1. Barry

          I have to be honest, in today’s world it’s best to mind one’s own business. I would not have said anything.

          Reply
    3. Ken

      Back on topic: Under current circumstances, gyms/fitness centers should not be open. And those who frequent them nowadays are acting irresponsibly — no matter how they use or abuse the equipment.

      Reply
    4. Ken

      As for the gym encounter itself, I hope the person who posted this will reconsider what they have written. Because the view they express is undeniably racist. It is racially biased because it makes assumptions about how a person will (re)act that are based solely on that person’s race. It assumes that the other person is too thin skinned to accept criticism of their child’s behavior. Or that they are too ill-disciplined to take responsibility for their child. Or that they will play the “race card” and expect favorable treatment solely because they are black. Each one of these assumptions is based on race alone. That makes the viewpoint prima facie racist.

      Reply
  7. Bart

    After the last comment proffered by Ken that not simply implicitly but explicitly labeled me a racist using the prima fascia premise, I did some serious reflection on my original comment about the hesitancy to speak to or confront a black family about the behavior of their two young sons at the fitness center I frequent and the possibility of a negative reaction and an accusation of racism by the black family. I gave a description of the circumstances, the behavior of the two young boys and anything else I considered pertinent or necessary to convey the atmosphere of caution in our daily lives during a very tense time relating to racial concerns by the general public. There have been too many instances of reactions that have led to disastrous results for the person who overreacted to a perceived threat. Losing a job, friends, career, and other instances of banishment for the individual(s) were immediate. I will not go into the incidents since most have been well publicized. The potential threat is a reality and is more prevalent than is reported or publicized. This was not the first time I have been told one has been hesitant to speak up due to concerns of accusations of racism by the offended.

    Not one mention in my original comment was anything that could be interpreted as an objection to the black family being members of the fitness center, only the behavior of the two young boys and how it was a concern for their safety, one in particular. The fitness center has a higher black membership than white or other minorities and everyone is friendly, cordial, and courteous. We all obey the rules of the center and are respectful of our fellow members privacy and personal space.

    After the posting of the original comment, I later learned the family had been in the day before and the same situation occurred. The family was asked to bring identification that would verify the ages of the boys the next time they visited the center. When they returned the next day, the staff member who was on duty the day before was off and the family told the staff member and manager on duty they were allowed to bring the two young boys the day before and didn’t mention the request by the staff member. Upon leaving, they were asked once again to bring identification verifying the ages of the two boys before they could be allowed inside the facility. Whether they have complied or not, I do not know and at this point, I do not care, it is no longer my concern.

    However, it is the aftermath of my post that has prompted me to evaluate the responding comments and reconsider further involvement with the Bradwarthen Blog.

    The accumulative consensus of the responses by the majority of the members of this blog is in my judgment a conclusive opinion and accusation that I am a racist. Not implicit but using Ken’s prima fascia conclusion, an explicit consensus of racism by Bart. Whether implicit or explicit, past, and present accusations of one being a racist or practicing racism has rendered the accused to be irrelevant, untrustworthy and to be shunned as a pariah, ignored and if possible, punished.

    Therefore, with a bit of hyperbole, you can put away your torches and pitchforks, the racist beast will no longer be a threat to your emotional safety and sensibilities. This will be my last post or participation with the Bradwarthen Blog in any manner whatsoever. Whether implicit or explicit, the blog’s kangaroo court has spoken, and the defendant will voluntarily remove himself from the blog and leave it to the group think that is the prevailing opinion in its present makeup of most commenters.

    Brad, it has been my pleasure until recently to have been an active member of the blog for close to 10 years and recall with fondness the days when there were lively but respectful discussions and discourse between the contributors. However, this incident has been an eye opener and I no longer believe I can be comfortable participating in any discussions moving forward. Once the racist label has been attached or implied and with intractable mindsets, removing it is practically impossible and continuing is no longer feasible.

    Reply
    1. Ken

      “Ken … explicitly labeled me a racist….”

      No, I did not call you a racist. I described what you wrote racist. There’s an obvious distinction. You are at liberty to disavow your previous post, thereby redeeming yourself. And even when a person doesn’t withdraw a previous comment, that also doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a racist. It could be a case of male stubbornness or the self-righteousness of age.

      “There have been too many instances of reactions that have led to disastrous results for the person who overreacted to a perceived threat. Losing a job, friends, career, and other instances of banishment for the individual(s) were immediate. I will not go into the incidents since most have been well publicized. The potential threat is a reality and is more prevalent than is reported or publicized.”

      Yes, they are many publicized instances of white people overacting to someone doing something “while black.” And in the majority of the cases I’m familiar with, the white “victim” is not a victim at all. He or she has been rightly called out for their behavior. The fear of or resentment at being called out does not make someone a victim, real or perceived, of reverse discrimination.

      Reply
  8. Scout

    I am late to this party. I would just add, aside from all the standard arguments against vouchers which I whole heartedly agree with, I went and read the federal regs for the use of this one time money that Henry had the discretion to use here. I don’t think he has much of a leg to stand on in justifying this use of it for it’s intended purpose. He is supposed to direct it to those whose education has been “most significantly impacted by the coronavirus”. I do not make light of the importance of continuity for children. Being able to continue in your same school is not unimportant. But honestly, this is a time of disruption for absolutely everybody. If you can’t continue in your previous private school because of economic impacts of coronavirus, you at least do have other options. You can go to your public school or enroll in the states virtual school district. The kid in the corridor of shame who has no internet access and 10 other people living in his small house but no-one really able to help him with his school work has no other options. I believe his education is more significantly impacted by the coronavirus. Henry could have used this money to buy cellular hotspots for these children or do something else to hasten their access to digital content or he could have hired an army of social workers to track down and check up on all the vulnerable lost children he pretended to be so concerned about a few weeks ago. He made his priorities pretty clear and I find it shameful.

    Reply
  9. Bill

    “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. … Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.”

    Frank Zappa

    ‘You ain’t no punk, you punk
    You wanna talk about the real junk?
    If I ever slip, I’ll be banned ’cause I’m your garbageman
    Well you can’t dig me you can’t dig nothin’
    Do you want the real thing, or are you just talkin’?
    Do you understand? I’m your garbageman
    Yeah, somethin’ from the garage and down the driveway
    Now get outta your mind and get outta my way
    Now do you understand? do you understand?’

    Ivy Rorschach / Lux Interior

    Reply

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