- August 20, 2021
If ever there were a moment that exposed all the faults, fallacies and dangers of state-run public education and why it should be abolished, just watch the video of the public comment section of the July 13 Sarasota County School Board meeting.
It is riveting. Stunning. You must watch all of it.
Thirty-six speakers, each with his or her own perspectives and opinions, open the secret doors and shine a floodlight on what’s happening inside the classrooms of Sarasota County public schools — and what they think should be happening.
They unloaded on the school board members. And while the majority of the speakers spoke stridently against forced masking of students and the teaching of critical race theory, the speakers’ opinions covered the galaxy — left, right, in between; praising teachers, excoriating teachers; fervently chastising the three liberal school board members. A few of the speakers made no pretense about telling board members that they — board members — are not the bosses, that the parents and taxpayers are.
Self-described activist Andra Griffin from Manatee County said: “This idea that we have to listen to you is incorrect. You have to listen to us.”
We’re highlighting the entire three-minute comments of parent Melissa Bacundi because of what she exposes — the books, the messages sent to students’ laptops, how middle schoolers were made to watch a Zoom call detailing a man’s journey to becoming a woman, the money the district is spending to hire teachers on the basis of diversity.
You see the defense of the public school system from a Rhana Bazzini. “Given the proper resources,” she said, “it can meet the needs of all students — from the genius to the intellectually challenged, from the superb athlete to the physically challenged.”
And yet the speaker who preceded her, Jennifer Cottrill, was one of three who severely criticized the district’s Exception Student Education program for not treating those students the same as other students.
In particular, Cottrill highlighted what she said is the district’s lack of attention toward the students and teachers in ESE programs. She spoke of favoritism toward the district’s International Baccalaureate programs over the ESE programs and how ESE teachers were afraid to speak out because of fear for their jobs and retaliation.
Another mother, who has served as the president of her school’s parent association, told board members she was not going to re-enroll her children in Sarasota schools this coming school year because of what happened to her children in 2020.
After absorbing nearly two hours of public comments, and even though the speakers constitute only a thumbnail of the millions of families in Florida’s public schools, they give you a explicit microcosm of the tattered, ruptured state of American public education.
At the end of her remarks, Bazzini said: “I firmly believe a strong public school system is necessary for our democratic republic to survive.”
In its present state, however, public education is serving toward the republic’s demise.
Those 36 speakers clearly showed public education has lost its way. The state cannot and should not have control over the education of our children. That is the job of parents.
At long last, this might be the beginning of what is long overdue: a dismantling of state-controlled schools to private-sector, parent-controlled schools.