Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This just had to get re-circulated again. The Free Lance-Star doesn't always get it right, but their man Paul Akers really hit this one on the head. Now Jerry Hill has "his" people like Pat Hannifin (the guy who lost bad in a supervisors race a few years ago) doing the bidding for the Democrats against a (FINALLY!) fiscally conservative candidate for the Salem School Board.

The trouble is that all they do is whine about what "can't" be done and why we must stay with the status-quo this election.

I don't know about you, but I can't AFFORD more of the same on the school spending side of my checkbook!! Time for a change-- and that scares the hell out of Jerry Hill. And it should.

What should scare you even more is that two of HIS BOYS are running for supervisor; Cowsert (let's give an even bigger raise to my cronies) and Skinner (I can't fund liberal programs enough); two of the MOST LIBERAL SPENDERS OF TAX MONEY IN SPOTSYLVANIA HISTORY.

Sighs and wonders
Education, sigh
Date published: 9/3/2005
The Free Lance-Star
by Paul Akers

SPOTSYLVANIA SCHOOLS CHIEF Jerry Hill is affable, plucky, and, violating a canon of his profession, liable at any time to speak plain English. But reacting to news that 28 percent of Spotsylvania schools last year failed to meet federal education standards--a below-average showing among Virginia districts--Hill served up this fizzless bromide: "Each year the partnership among students, parents, teachers, and administrators needs to become stronger and stronger."

This is the blase, take-two-aspirins response to scholastic anemia of a man marinated in the public-school culture, whose members divide into Bud Light-like teams and shout at each other: "Less accountability!" "More pay!" Hill has shown no detectable joy over the state SOL, the federal No Child Left Behind program, or any other unspinnable measurement of K-12 performance. He wants Mo Money. In this quest, he enjoys the hearty backing of county School Board members, whose basic activity is to pick up a huge log and, running at full speed, ram it against the door of the public treasury. Trampled underfoot is the herald bearing the message that Spotsylvania schools overall are academically sub-.500.

Two years ago, the School Board voted to privatize cafeteria service. Should not the tenets of capitalism govern the top of the educational system as well as the bottom? They don't.
The board last month extended Hill's contract until 2009, increasing his annual salary by $12,300 per year and raising his total compensation package to $203,800 annually, not counting insurance and retirement benefits.

This occurred following a year in which, according to Standard & Poor's School Matters analytical service, Spotsylvania schools' performance dropped in nine of 19 SOL categories. This is performance-based remuneration?
If the board's liberality mimics any kind of capitalism, it's the cozy, golf-foursome variety wherein directors dump lucre on CEOs who run down stock value and lose market share.

True, Hill and his board deserve credit for managing their Little Shop of Horrors, a dizzily growing district with hundreds of voices crying "Feed me!" And maybe tying only test scores to pay is a bad idea. Stafford County schools are out-achieving Spotsylvania's, but I question the wisdom of throwing gold at the feet of a superintendent who urged college-bound Stafford honor students to hit the books on the chance that they could be the next Sally Jesse Raphael.

Not that dubious role models are an exclusive motivational tool of the public school system. Some years ago in Richmond, the nuns at a Catholic preschool my daughters attended, in celebration of Black History Month, displayed a poster of Richard Pryor. Yes, that Richard Pryor, the noted vulgarian and dopehead who, setting himself ablaze while free-basing cocaine, ran down the street screaming, "I [expletive]ed up, man! I [expletive]ed up."

It's possible, of course, that the nuns interpreted this as penitence.


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