I just watched the WCPSS Strategic Plan meeting...aka #wakevision.
(If you want to waste 2 hours of your time, you can watch it here.)
This meeting was held at Memorial Hall on May 30th to kickoff the
development "of a five-year strategic plan that will guide the school
system moving forward." (BTW, this meeting cost you at least $2,422.85.)
(And...the last five year strategic plan was done just two years ago. But, whatever.)
The speaker hired by WCPSS, some guy who calls himself a futurist, was actually okay. Engaging, sounded pretty knowledgeable, had some interesting ideas. A little nutty but tolerable, I guess. In a nutshell, his message was that we need to be teaching for our kids' future, and not from our own past. And how important this is - now more than ever - because the world is changing at a
faster rate than it ever has.
Good message. But, considering this crowd and that School Board members and Supt. Merrill were in the room, it probably floated over their heads and right out the door.
But, the absolute best part of this meeting (and well worth watching at 1:51:55) was when one parent, Becky, stood up to ask a question. Little ol' Becky was pretty confident in her question...as if she already knew the answer. Here's what she said:
"I am the parent of two students at Martin Middle School. One of the stronger points of the Wake County Public School System has been the long-time commitment to having diverse schools. What do you say to parents, and I think this is part of the visioning process, guys - who are so adamant that the worst thing that can happen to their kid is that they could be reassigned to a different school the next year?"
Could Becky possibly be any more condescending while gnashing her teeth?
Uh, yes, she could. And she was:
"I'm sorry - but if my child is going to have 5 to 10 different careers, God forbid that they should have to go to 4 or 5 elementary schools. I mean, it seems like preparation for living to me."
OMG. 4 or 5 elementary schools?!
Becky is either the worst kind of parent or she represents the epitome of a smug, patronizing, and arrogant magnet parent who thinks us "suburban" parents are idiots.
Maybe that choice is one and the same. :)
And Becky didn't stop there:
"We don't close our schools because the population shifts; we shift the kids around. And it has worked really well - except that parents get so irate because their children, in spite of the fact that they are all digitally connected, that they are losing that connection."
Fortunately, the futurist stopped Becky from babbling and making herself look even more foolish. His response, however, was brilliant.
"I will say that if all the schools in the district are equal quality, there shouldn't be a problem. So, that's the first thing. If the school system can stand up and say "You're gonna get the same education", that's a true statement."
And we all know WCPSS isn't about educational equality. If it was, Becky and her buddies would be very upset over losing their magnet goodies and sharing them with the rest of us imbeciles in the suburbs.
And then the futurist said something incredible:
"The other thing is... the word 'diversity'... Diversity is a loaded, social, emotional word of about 50 years standing that, if you want diversity, you have to let go of the legacy thinking of what the word diversity means and create what is diversity in this school district in 2014. Whatever that is... face that diversity, rather than some formulaic thing. But, the first thing is to make all schools good. Then, it doesn't matter."
So, was it worth the $2300 for the venue and god-knows-how-much for Mr. Futurist to tell the irate parents of Wake County what we already know?
For those last two minutes, yes. Yes, it was.
Do you think Becky, her magnet friends, and the WCPSS School Board actually listened to those comments?
Not in a million years.
Understanding this simple concept would require parents like Becky to change. Parents like Becky have it too good in the magnet system. Parents like Becky have absolutely no understanding of the effect of reassignment on a child - not to mention 4 or 5 of them. Parents like Becky may understand that the reassignment of our children allows her magnet children to remain safe, secure, and untouched at their school. Parents like Becky are ignorant and offensive. Sadly, there are plenty of them in Wake County.
Even worse, they are also on our School Board.