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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Opposing forces

The Code Blue folks succeeded in stopping the $500 million FWCS renovation project, and now they've set their sights even higher:

Their new mission, they say, is nothing less than to control - and thereby reform - an unaccountable, underperforming bureaucracy that is out of touch with the public it supposedly serves.

Don't let the ho-hum name fool you. The newly created Code Blue Schools Political Action Committee has the potential to become a political and fundraising force capable of fulfilling its stated purpose: to elect FWCS school board members who will set achievement milestones needed to comply with federal law and to balance the needs of the district and taxpayers alike.

Its first test will come in November, when three board positions - two of them now held by supporters of the capital-improvement project - will be on the ballot.

You can call this a "takeover attempt" or democracy in action, depending on what you think about the effort. The school system has just announced new goals that sound compatible with what this group wants. In a perfect world, administrators and board members, no matter who gets elected, would realize they're on the same mission of educational excellence and accountability. Or at least board members, even if they have philosophical differences, would use them to debate the finer points of pedagogic theories in search of what is best for students.

But this isn't a perfect world. With the Code Blue people starting out this aggressively, I can easily imagine two board factions fueled by personality conflicts and a "take no prisoners" mentality. Remember the Bill Coats era? 


Fri, 01/18/2008 - 8:55pm

Perhaps an examination of a "rubber stamp" Board of Trustees is long past due. It seems to me that there are two too many folks on the board beholden to the teachers union, (Mitch Sheppard, Pamela Martin-Diaz), two too many living off local government contracts (Stephen Corona, Mark Gia Quinta). and then there is Carol Coen who says: "I think in a lot of ways FWCS taxpayers have gotten a 50-year tax break."

That leaves us Kevin Brown and Jon Olinger who have demonstrated some independence of thought. Olinger signed the Code Blue petition.

Taking out Corona and Coen in the next election is an absolutely positive way to emphasize that Fort Wayne is serious about attaining competent school policies and administration.

Z Man
Sun, 01/20/2008 - 5:24pm

After the yellow ribbon fiasco last summer, I'm surprised Corona and Coen wouldn't step aside out of common decency. Maybe we should have some sort of term limit for Corona, a 20 year board member that wouldn't even send his own kids to FWCS. Has anyone heard anything about a new plan for school renovation? It seems like by now the FWCS would have approached Code Blue to come up with a some sort of compromise approach -- wasn't an olive branch extended after the defeated plan?

Thu, 01/24/2008 - 8:46pm

Accountability is needed across the board.

As a substitute teacher for the district, I am often astounded at the LOW standards plagued on our students at some schools while there are HIGER standards placed on students at
other schools.

Take for instance at Memorial Park Middle School well the 'brighter' students attend there are a number of higher academic courses such as Geometry for 8th graders, yet at the cross town Miami the only highest course offered is Pre-Algebra. So, if Johnny is bright and has a mom or dad that is pushing all the right buttons he will be on his way to academic honors diploma once he has finished middle school; however, if mom or dad struggles to keep their own heads above water, no matter how Johnny functions he will have a dumbed down education at Miami.

We need to enforce HIGH STANDARDS at all schools, not just some!

Another variable is the science portion of the ISTEP test. The reason between test scores from school to school is not due to 'bright' vs. 'dumb' or 'low-economics' vs. 'high-economics' it the factor that some principals actually force their teachers to teach science, and some do not.

The low expectations in the district has truly caused me to think about obtaining a fellowship in charter school operations.

Bob G.
Fri, 01/25/2008 - 9:58am

Thank you///you "get it".
You MUST have read Charlie Sykes' book!

The whole socio-economic gig applied to achievement is wearing real thin...real fast. And who suffers?
The kids!

"Poor" kids have every right to learn as well as the well-offs, and it's proven that they CAN.

For example, when you had all black schools with all black educators, the kids WERE held to as high standards as other ethnicities..and they did better across the board.

We can't substitute LAZY for "disadvantaged" any longer...not in today's society. That dog just won't hunt.
Bring back ETHICS in grade school. Instill in them a level of integrity that will follow them into later years. Then, you won't have to "dumb down" anything.