Archive | February 2011

School Consolidation is a Fabrication of Education

The general concept of school consolidation doesn’t feel right to me. It feels like we’re treating children like objects, it feels like the Wal-Mart-I-Zation of our schools. You know what else doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right that we are spending billions and billions of dollars on “education” and we seem to be going in the wrong direction, meaning we’re not getting the value we want from our dollar or, more precisely, our children aren’t getting an “education” that best serves them and, of course, us.

I can’t help but wonder if the problem isn’t one of dollars and cents but more of perception. After all, the people making the decisions today are all products of our educational system. Most people, in general, are in some way a product of our educational system. When you look at the state America finds herself in today, what does it say about the system that has educated the people who have led and followed us to this point?

Is the problem that we are paying too much for education? Let me ask a different way…are you willing to pay for something if you think you are getting a good value? When put this way it seems like the problem is not that education is too expensive but that we are not getting the value from our dollar. Achieving value and cutting costs are not necessarily (and often not at all) the same things, yet with all the talk of school consolidation it would seem like they are. Which brings me back to perception. What if the problem, in this case with education, is more a failure to see the true problem and not about saving money or cutting costs. Maybe the real problem is not what we’ve been educated to think. Maybe the real problem is our inability or unwillingness to see the real problem.

Maybe we are so educated in saving money and making money that we think that those two things are the only available solutions? What if solving the crises of education in America and in small towns today has nothing to do with money? Is it safe to imagine that possibility?

Micheal Tebbano, the BCSD Superintendent said in an article this past week “…the decision should focus on children…not on four walls and a roof” (Altamont Enterprise, February 17, 2011). I couldn’t agree more. However, school consolidation is the focus on the “four walls and a roof”. If we really want to solve our educational crises we will have to have the strength to root out the true cause of the problems. With every argument that raises consolidation to the level of the solution we get further and further away from our ability to find the true solution and further and further away from focusing on children.

I am not alone

Us

ohh what a word

us

us

the me in you

that I find in searching

the whole world of universes

the you in me

us

I want it so much

I barely know

to know you

to know me

I want it so much

but I don’t even know

until I hear that music

until I see that sunrise

and I am overcome

from the inside

and I know

I know

I am not alone

Be Different Burlington

So what’s the problem?  Did Mayor Kiss and/or Jonathan Leopold intend to withhold or distort information?  Did the City Council fail to uphold their commitment of responsible oversight and participation in City Decisions? Should we throw out the baby, the bathwater, the tub, the towels, the sink and the soap?

 

This is my case for Mayor Kiss and Burlington Telecom.

 

I like Bob Kiss.  I liked him as a business owner in Burlington and I like him now after seeing how he has dealt with his adversity.  I don’t agree with some of his policies about the best way to encourage business or the responsibilities of government and I don’t think he had any other intent in his dealings with BTC than to make it as successful a venture as possible for the City.  Did he break code, laws, rules, regulations…I’m not sure.  Have other Mayors or councilors broken the same codes, laws, regulations in their drive to improve the city in their way…I don’t know.  A better question is:  Is 17 million dollars enough money that a reasonable person would think that there would be a whole hell of a lot more oversight from a whole hell of a lot more people than Bob Kiss and Jonathan Leopold?

 

I like Bob Kiss because he doesn’t “Kiss Up”.  Until this event I barely heard from or about him, he doesn’t talk at the public.  He’s not on a stump.  Additionally the financial state of the City was not in great shape when he arrived I think he and Jonathan Leopold have done a pretty amazing job at getting the City back on track (the BTC verdict non-withstanding).  To me Bob Kiss is not a politician and to me, that’s a good thing.

 

I like Burlington Telecom because I know what it means to control the stage.  What does it mean?  It means you control the source or that you have the ability to control the source. While at Nectar’s it became clear that in the changing world of music, entertainment, technology and communication one of the most important things for my success was to control the stage, the source. In Nectar’s case the source was the venue, the actual stage on which the expression of musicians and artists took place.  The source in the case of BTC and the City of Burlington is BTC itself, it is owning our ability to originate and distribute information as we see fit, beholden to no one other than our community.

 

The Internet has become automatic, it is as natural as breathing.  The communication barrier between people has been decimated and the importance of controlling the source is greater now than ever.  A giant telecom company does not have to allow community programming, no matter what the law says; laws can be changed.  If Burlington is in control of the stage, the source, the network, if Burlington has it’s Burlington Telecom there is no need to ever worry about the source.

Can we examine this situation with 360-degree perspective?  Can we acknowledge our responsibility as well as envisioning an acceptable and even positive outcome?  Is it important to find out if people lied?  Yes!  If that happened then those people should be quickly and appropriately dealt with.  But to think that giving up Burlington Telecom is in any way a good idea or to make allegations against a single person from a position of ignorance or shared responsibility for the problem is only angry, harmful and misleading behavior that could (if it hasn’t already) devolve into a political excuse for short sighted or slanderous action.  Sound familiar.  Let’s be different Burlington!

 

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