In the direction of truth

It’s October, which is an absolutely beautiful time of year. Of course there are cooler nights, falling leaves and temperate days.

And for those of us who enjoy politics and government, it is the only time of year when our communities engage in truly open debate. For those of us who like to discuss the issues, this is our time. Because it’s not just a few of us wrestling with a budget or debating the day’s headlines. Our entire community becomes engaged.

The signs are showing up on busy intersections and along well-traveled routes. Our neighbors are talking a bit more about politics—it’s less taboo than at any other time of year.

But there’s a strange thing that also happens in October. As there is more communication on the election—there seems to be less information. There are more words, but they seem to say less. As we get closer and closer to November, there is less time to check the facts. There is much being said about Springboro Schools, but how much of it is true?

Here is the truth.

  • We have achieved a balanced, children-first budget

  • We have lowered fees

  • We have implemented efficiency plans that direct savings back into our schools

  • We have hired additional teachers and aides

  • We have opened the preschool / early learning center

  • We have expanded high school A/P courses

  • We are promoting dual credit and PSEO to allows student to gain full college credits in high school

  • We have a coordinated technology plan with wireless access for every building, new laptops to every teacher and more than 1,100 new computers throughout the district.

  • We are exploring the data to understand the “proficient” standard and to set a higher bar for achievement.

These facts are indisputable. Still, we may see the truth differently.  In math, we have proofs. In science, we have theories to test. But in our schools, we see the truth as it affects our kids in the classroom, our teachers and staff whom we hired, our traditions, and our personal expectations. It is personal.

In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the prisoners can only see shadows. It is the only reality they know. It is theirs. It is known, comfortable, understandable and real. But when the shadows are revealed and the prisoners are asked to embrace a new reality of the light that casts the shadows, they resist it. Their truth was in the shadows that they had known for so long. This is like our definition of “proficient.” We thought proficient was good, until we learned what the raw scores are.

When someone asks you to look at things in a new way—to entertain the idea that the truth is not what you thought it was—it is normal to fight it. That is why this board made transparency and debate a cornerstone of all we do.

While the Board of Education has made missteps in the past year and a half, we made them in a transparent fashion.  This transparency allowed the community to round out our actions to reflect their wishes and desires. When we work together and talk to each other about the issues, better solutions are developed.

So, here in the month of October, let’s keep the discussion going. Let’s talk about the record. Let’s talk about the standards. Let’s talk about the facts. Let’s move together in the direction of truth. The truth is not in the online video from Olentangy United. The truth is not in rumors. The truth is not in the shadows of the past.

The truth is that we are using data to improve upon what is already a strong school district. If we only look at the shadows on the wall, we limit our own perspective, and we also limit the possibilities for Springboro students.

 

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3 Responses to In the direction of truth

  1. sassypatriot says:

    Transparency is very rare in the school finance business. If your treasurer gives you, as a board member, all the facts and ALL the numbers you are way ahead of any other district. I have been told the NEA knows to the last cent every district’s finances. They come to the “bargain table” with more knowledge that the district treasurer. They do brag about this fact. The OSBA is in bed with the union. FACT! I know you are a smart man and I do appreciate what you have accomplished. I hope you are well armored for the fight.

  2. Concerned Parent says:

    All good information. One side likes to say how messed up the district and the board is but I really believe we here in Springboro are just one of the first to fight this battle with the NEA and OSBA. I also find it interesting how one side says they “support Springboro Teachers and Staff” and the other side says they “support Springboro Students” We do need good teachers and staff but it is all about the students. The union has shown that they have forgotten that.

    • School District Voter says:

      Looking at Today and the Future, our greatest challenge lies in prompting our board members-elect, who are retired school employees, to utilize their abilities and past experiences, from a different business perspective. As elected officials, all Board of Education representives, are accountable
      to all taxpayers, and their many responsibilities include listening to, and giving fair and balanced consideration, to the needs of both the school community of students and employees, and the
      community of their taxpaying constituents. A new year, a new beginning, a new opportunity
      lies ahead for our schools and community, as our leadership must leave behind the failures and missteps of the past, and accept the challenge of working together as a professional team, with
      each one have the unified goal, putting our students first, wanting the highest academic achievement and fiscal responsibility. That’s what Springboro families and community taxpayers stand for, fully supporting the progress that has been made in the past two years by our current board.

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