Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jeff Warren: Peace In Our Time?

Yes, if you guessed that was a Neville Chamberlain reference, you would be correct.  My School Board Commissioner, whom I like and for whom I voted (and probably will again) has a well-meaning op-ed-piece in this morning's Commercial Appeal suggesting that we need to sit down and talk with our friends across the border of the city limits in Shelby County to prevent wholesale destruction of our county and city's educational systems.  Hell, I agree with a lot of his piece, until he writes this:

We also cannot legislate a conscience or sense of morality. We have proved that forced busing weakens public education. We have a more segregated MCS than we had before busing. Why does anyone think that forcing county residents (some of whom moved away from Memphis to get away from forced busing) to merge with MCS will produce different results? We need a different approach. We need MAD: Mutually Assured Dedication.
Just what does that entail? MCS would agree not to relinquish its charter and SCS would not accept special-school-district status. If either school district did not live up to the agreement, the other would be entitled to deal its trump card.
MCS automatically would be part of the new SCS special school district if SCS obtained that status. Likewise, SCS would automatically be allowed to form a separate special school district should MCS try to force consolidation by renouncing its charter.
Commissioner Warren suggests that we give up the last bit of leverage we have in this city? Sir, let me put this in the plainest of terms:  you do NOT negotiate with economic terrorists.  You do NOT try to shake hands with werewolves, you break out the silver bullets and SHOOT THEM.  APPEASEMENT DOES NOT WORK.  If he were alive, you could ask the aforementioned Mr. Chamberlain.

Commissioner, every Shelby County GOP legislator could try a faux attempt to stop such legislation (with a nod and a wink, no doubt) and watch "helplessly" as the SSD bill sailed through both houses and got signed by the Governor. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE POWER TO DO IT.  They have waited for 35 years to have this chance, and don't think for a second that they won't pass this legislation.

Oh, the residents of the areas in the county outside the city will cry and scream and threaten to sell their houses, but how many of them have underwater mortgages?  Think they will be ABLE to sell them at anything close to what they paid, even if this fails?  I'll let Senator Clay Davis of Baltimore, Maryland answer that one.

In short, we have them by the short and curlies, and we need to act NOW.  Monday is the earliest possible moment, and I urge EVERY MEMPHIS CITIZEN to contact their MCS Commissioner to urge them to vote for surrender of the MCS Charter.  Ok, don't bother with Reverend Whalum, he can't be moved, but work on the others.  We MUST surrender this charter; John Branston was spot-on in his Flyer column this week and he says the very same thing!

Ross also has a great piece up on this situation; he's more well reasoned and nicer about this than I am, but well, that's why you come HERE, isn't it?  :-)

I will end this by stealing a line from a guy who also happens to be from my old home town of Dixon, IL.  To paraphrase ol' Ronnie:



dwayne said...

The MAD approach sounds nice but it should be something the County should agree to first since they started this movement by wanting their Special District. They gave us their answer by their resolution which was billed as a "compromise." If they were serious, they would have taken the special district off the table permanently, not just for 3 years. They would have also made efforts to create true, long term cooperation between the districts.

The surrender move is NOT radical. We just want the chance to vote to be like the other urban counties in Tennessee, with only one school district for the entire county.

PosterChild42 said...

I don't understand how Rev Whalum believes the slash in funding to MCS would be a GOOD thing. Pickler says that SCS is "culturally different", and therefore deserve a "special" status. I say it couldn't be more clear that this is them trying to revive "separate but equal" in education. That should raise the hackles of everyone who understands what that means. Apparently, Whalum doesn't get it.

Tom Guleff said...