Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bexley in Transition

I'm stealing 10 minutes to do an inadequate run down of a busy news week in Bexley:

1) Students are being expelled from the Bexley School District based on the much tougher proof-of-residency requirements implemented this year. The affected families are charging racism, as African-American students are perceived to be disproportionately affected by the new policy. I wouldn't say that de facto open enrollment is in the best interest of the district or community. But I will say that kids stuck in poor-performing districts are obviously not all suffering from parents who don't care where they get educated.

2) Technology audit results in school district IT director being summarily canned. I still get hits on this blog because people are interested in the district's plan to adopt Linux. The person who claims to have made the suggestion has retained counsel and has apparently shut his mouth for now in the face of wave after wave of negativity concerning his job performance. I have no real idea whether this is incompetence punished or scapegoating accomplished, but it has been fairly thoroughly executed. And even though nobody appears to have come out and said it, the folks opposed to the Linux switch have new strength and opportunity.

3) Our mayor David Madison was widely quoted supporting alcohol at the State Fair. His neighbor Ted put a stop to such talk.

4)Many of these stories first came to my attention through This Week News, specifically from BB favorite Quinn Bowman. Quinn's predecessor on the TWN Bexley beat passed away this week. Growing up I was fairly disdainful of local community journalism. I've gained a lot of appreciation for the weekly newspaper format, and folks like Ms. Horwitz-Whitmore who devote their professional life to community writing.

5) The Pool is going to be open for tours on Friday. When I moved to Central Ohio, I couldn't really make people elsewhere understand the attachment to the Buckeyes. In the last year, my wife and I talk about The Pool. Folks can hear the capital letters. They give us strange looks.

6) Bexley High School once again made the nationwide list of top High Schools (which is based on the rate AP-level classes taken by students). Congrats.

7) Which leads me to my last point, which is that school pride can be generated from arbitrary numbers, or from the production of students who submit passages like this to the community weekly newspaper:

The quality education afforded us in Bexley confers upon us greater responsibility. If we lack focus in our education, we become an absolute disgrace to democracy, which depends on educated, participating citizens. Our privilege requires us to fight for those who are placed in the chains of oppression, whether they are working-class students, low-paid teachers or struggling parents who want only to see their children grow into beautiful people.

Let us remember that the best democracy is an educated and collective democracy where power and profit are shared throughout the community. Unfortunately, as long as poverty, disease, low standards in public education, tyranny, genocide and social injustice exist, we must answer our call to serve and be the voice for those who are silenced. If we do not, we surrender the convictions of opportunity and liberty for which our ancestors died; and these are lost to tyrants. As students, our obligation is to be actively involved in helping address and solve the issues we face so that our community can become strong on an individual, familial and collective level.

For those of you who've wondered, I'm not a token lefty. Click here to read the entire piece by Bexley High School Senior Isaiah Gabriel Calvitti.

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