The editorial board of the Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi Sun-Herald recently wrote a scathing, unfair critique of Mississippi’s public schools. The piece is repugnant in its simple damnation of our state’s public school students, teachers and parents.
Who has gotten to the S-H editorial board? Why is this group of newspaper professionals bent on convincing us that the sky is falling when it comes to public education?
Here is my response. I submitted it moments ago. We’ll see whether or not it gets published:
To the members of the Sun-Herald editorial board:
I am profoundly disappointed in your recent condemnation of Mississippi’s public schools in the August 26 column, titled “At least there’s method to the madness of public education in Mississippi.”
In it, you call for “legislative hammers” that “need to come down until something gets nailed”. You go on to ask “How much more embarrassing, disgraceful, and disastrous must education become in Mississippi before the situation in our public schools becomes tolerable?”
I feel sure that there are many Mississippians who, like me, disagree with this ignorant, overly exaggerated assessment of the public schools in which our children are educated. Yes — regardless of what the flavor-of-the-month is in accountability systems and no matter what our kids’ bubble sheets look like during one week in May and no matter what Jeb Bush or anyone else outside of our state says — a lot of us still believe in our local public school districts. And, yes, we get downright livid when people throw stupid, hurtful comments our way.
Indeed, your column was nothing more than a putrid string of insults and dense generalizations, the very opposite of the collaborative dialogue that is increasingly absent in today’s policy discussions, yet is required in order for our democracy to work. The editorial board of the American newspaper is supposed to be a body of high-minded thought and discussion, a catalyst of a forward discourse between all parties; one that encourages partnerships and enlightenment, progress and understanding.
On Sunday, August 26th, however, the Sun-Herald editorial board exhibited no such qualities. The embarrassment and disgrace are all yours.
Michael A. Van Veckhoven