Racine Unified interim superintendent Jack Parker and interim CFO David Hazen collaborated on a commentary in today's JT entitled "Racine Unified faces immense challenges." In it they ask for "supporters and critics to come together and help" and to be "part of the solution." How to help they didn't say.
I think I can best help by offering a dissenting opinion.
Hazen and Parker contend that the success of Unified is essential to our community. "Whether you live in the city, the district, or the county, the success of RUSD and your future are tied together." And "Indeed, the future prosperity of the community, the county, and the region rests to an important degree on the success of RUSD." And "For the community to thrive, RUSD's success has to be a priority for everyone." Even County Executive Bill McReynolds apparently stated, "explicitly" that "student success in RUSD is essential to the long term social and economic viability of the county."
Few would argue the importance of a quality education, and I am not among them. Education ranks right up there with food in importance to our society. But I don't know anyone who would suggest that McDonalds is essential for the viability of our county, or that success of Piggly Wiggly and your future are tied together, or that the future prosperity the community rests on the success of Pick'N Save. Food is essential. McDonalds, Piggly Wiggly, and Pick'N Save are not.
Likewise, education is essential while RUSD is not. It doesn't matter what entity educates the children in our community, be it parents in a home school, RUSD, charter schools, or private schools. What matters is that the entity that attempts to educate our children succeeds in doing so. If that can be RUSD, fine. If RUSD is not up to the task, perhaps we need to look to other educational establishments.
This is the mistake made by Dave Hazen, Jack Parker and countless others in our community. They assume that RUSD must be the critical educational institutional around. Presently, it is, to the detriment of our community, because so many of our children are being undereducated there. Rather than flailing endlessly to fix a broken school system, perhaps it is time to look outside that system. We should do this for the children.