Yesterday we celebrated the life of a great and historic American – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I thought I would begin my remarks with some words of wisdom from the great Dr. King who said,
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Over the past few months, the Springboro community has been engaged in intensive and critical thinking about the future direction of our schools. We have asked tough questions, made bold statements, challenged assumptions, and voiced our opinions. We have done what Americans do, engage in debate and discourse on the issues that matter to us. At times, this debate has been contentious, heated, and difficult, and yet it has also been enlightening, thought provoking, and constructive. Our community demonstrated civic pride and articulated the importance of our schools and teachers.
As a board, you now have some very important decisions to make:
Will you focus time, attention, and resources on issues that are divisive, politically charged, and tangential to solving the problems facing our district, or will you identify the key issues that will impact our children and act in good faith to address them transparently, openly, and carefully, seeking to find common ground and act with common sense?
Will you continue to label concerned parents and committed teachers as “political enemies” to be battled, bullied, and dismissed or will you view them as community allies whose skills, ideas, resources, and perspectives can be incorporated into the future planning of the district?
Will you place politics before the needs of our children and reluctantly push out a levy in November that you fail to support and predict will fail or will you act now and state emphatically, as the facts clearly show, that the taxpayers of Springboro have received incredible value for their money and should support a renewal of funding for our schools, teachers?
Will you undermine the public trust by moving forward with initiatives that are widely opposed and questioned by the community because you can, or will you begin to build trust by surprising those who question your motives, actions, and intent by listening to them, taking a step back, and showing respect through powerful acts of good faith?
Will you stand for politics and ideology or will you stand in support of our teachers, our kids, and our community?
I and others in this community would like to work with you to strengthen our schools, help our teachers, and support our children. I believe that it is time for all of Springboro to, as I have heard wisely stated by others, move forward together. This community is filled with passionate, brilliant, and diverse sources of knowledge and creativity, and I firmly believe that all of us together are smarter than any one of us alone.
I will close with one final thought, something that applies to everyone in our community. It is another brilliant, insightful, and powerful quote from Dr. King, who stated, “The time is always right to do what is right.”