Confront societal ills

Letters to the Editor for August 28, 2022

Confront societal ills

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

We live in an impatient world.

Our team isn’t winning — fire the coach. In the sermon on Sunday, the preacher plucked my political nerves — fire the preacher. Students in our school system continue to perform poorly on the state’s Standards of Learning tests — fire the superintendent.

Try as they might, it is impossible for coaches, preachers and superintendents to fully satisfy the people they serve.

I have not carefully followed the tenure of Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras. During my career in public education, I worked for six superintendents, and I know this — being a superintendent is tough work, no matter the community.

Unless a law has been broken, school boards should not consider firing a superintendent before the opening of a new school year.

Additionally, school boards should not extend a superintendent’s contract for multiple years. Teachers do not have multiyear contracts. Why should superintendents?

Depending on the terms of the contract, firing a superintendent can be expensive, and so can hiring a new superintendent. Despite these facts, if a school board is determined to fire a superintendent, it will.

Why can’t school board members put their energy and willpower into understanding how our failure to solve our ongoing challenges with families, poverty, mental health, housing, safety and equity impact the performance of the students they were elected to serve?

If we want to fix schools, then school boards must commit to confronting the malignancy of our societal ills. Firing a superintendent doesn’t solve those problems.

Bill Pike.

Author’s note: This letter to the editor appeared in the Sunday, August 28, 2022 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I am always honored when a newspaper accepts a submission that I have written.

2 thoughts on “Confront societal ills”

  1. Maybe we don’t need public schools. Maybe the centuries old system is outdated. Maybe we need a new look at how to educate our children.
    Maybe we need a system that teaches the children when it’s the best time for the children. Maybe we need a system that teaches at a time that’s best for the parents. Maybe we need a system that is flexible so that students that need to attend college can and those who don’t can still get an education that can will qualify them for a quality job. Our trades are begging for quality help. Quality trained trades people (female and male) make more than new lawyers and don’t have 6 figure debt to their name. But our current system is still focused on providing fodder for colleges.
    Our current system could adapt a new promise: All our children don’t need to go to college but all our children need a useable education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t disagree, the problem is maybe, we are broken, and maybe we don’t want to admit it. Thanks for reading and following up, we can’t fear change, but we do. I fear change everyday. But our very predictable templates need to change for all the reasons you said.


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