Tackling fear and indifference

Aug. 12, 2016

From a commentary published in Educate! on April 22, 2005 in the days immediately following the resignation of Supt. James Pughsley.

The community can tackle the big issues of fear and indifference – or not – as it chooses. But neither can be tackled without sacrifice. And since the discussion is about schools, that means that children must be enlisted in the effort. Privileged parents don’t seem inclined, but underprivileged parents don’t have a choice.

How does a community learn to stop acting out of fear? How does a sprawling community like Mecklenburg draw close enough to overcome its indifference?

Are there institutions with the universal respect to lead, to set a new expectation, to set an example for both employees and customers? Is there a company in town determined to respect the worth of every one of its employees enough to ensure that not a single employee’s child grows up in poverty?

Can the school board act in kind and stop selling its best educations to the highest bidder? Today’s assignment plan does just that: To the family with the income to pick up stakes and buy a house in a new assignment zone, it offers the reward of a coveted, valuable asset – a guaranteed seat at a high-performing school.

Can pastors ease off preaching about Hell in the next life for long enough to offer counsel on how to reform the hell we’ve created in this life?

Are there individuals with such universal respect that their voices could help coalesce the community around action?

And, if so, will they step forward?