Petty antics have to stop

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In a recent Your Turn column (“A tale of a meeting,” Sept. 2), Franklin City Councilman Don Blythe expressed his frustration over a meeting between city council and the Franklin City School Board.

To paraphrase his words, the meeting was poorly led and yielded disappointing results. Citizens concerned with the state of the city’s public schools might find that an apt description of the school system as a whole.

The time has long since passed when stakeholders are pacified by a public dog and pony show conducted by the two governing bodies. The citizens of Franklin, desperate for a solution to solving what has become a full-blown crisis, are demanding leadership and a plan of action. To date, they have been shown neither.

The school board, by all appearances, seems content with the state of affairs in the central office and the miserable results under the administration. The school board is responsible for the hiring and firing of top school officials, and in their refusal to make a change at the top, is complicit in the downward spiral of our schools.

City council, by largely remaining silent, has failed to demand accountability from the school board that it appointed. In the absence of an elected school board, it is up to city council to take action when the school board fails to perform. As of yet, they don’t appear willing to do so.

The city’s new mayor, while campaigning for the city’s top elected office, proclaimed education to be one of her top priorities, a claim echoed by other members of council.

To make real strides toward resuscitating a once top-ranked school system, it will take meetings that include open and honest dialogue among all stakeholders in the school system, not ones where questions are vetted in advance so as not to let anyone look foolish.

While it’s far too late for some to avoid looking foolish, it’s not too late for city leaders to quit their petty antics and get to work.