From Audit & Finance Committee member Larry Murray yesterday:
I assume that you were as appalled as I at the highly predjudicial statement made by the School Board Vice Chairman at last Tuesday’s meeting. According to today’s Citizen, during a discussion on the abysmal attendance rate in District schools, Andy Griffiths was quoted as saying:
“These are staggering numbers. Most of these numbers come from those free and reduced lunch programs, I’m guessing.”
“I’m guessing”! We have a School Board member who does not wait for the evidence, the numbers if you will. Rather, he expresses his baseless guess while smearing the low income families of our community. His “guess” certainly betrays his predjudices.
It is indeed a sad commentary that a School Board member, someone charged with setting policy and direction for our schools, would so blithely offer such a insensitive and offensive remark. Considering what he said, I am surprised that he did not add that at least his assumed high absentee rate among those receiving free and reduced lunches would be a savings to the taxpayers!
Audit & Finance Committee
Monroe County School District
I heard Andy say that at the recent school board meeting and sort of wanted to grab him and wring his neck. My dreams last night indicated poor Hispanic families were the unstated target of Andy’s remarks, which were likened to cancer – not poor Hispanic families, but Andy’s remarks. I awoke feeling I had swallowed battery acid. In my dreams, cancer is equated with Evil. Lying in bed, I found myself thinking all the more that fluency in Spanish should be required of all Keys students, and Spanish courses for students not fluent should begin in the 1st grade. I also found myself thinking the school system needs to adopt a policy of new teacher hires having to be fluent in Spanish. Whether some, or many, Keys people like it or not, Spanish is the first language of many Keys families. Hispanic people make up a large part of the Keys community going back many generations. There has been plenty of talk about Key West and Marathon, especially, profiting from the opening of Cuba to Americans, but has there been any talk of Key West and Marathon being fluent in Spanish? I have a daughter who is fluent in Spanish. She’s as “white bread” as you get. Looks like a Russian princess. But she speaks Spanish like she was born and raised in Madrid or Mexico City. She also is an eye surgeon and has taught ophthalmology in medical school. She became fluent by majoring in Spanish at Bryn Mawr University, near Philadelphia. Part of her major was an exchange program in Spain. Attending Bryn Mawr is about the same as attending Harvard or Stanford, if you are a woman. When Alice later was a medical student at Bowman-Gray Medical School (Wake Forest), her professors who did free work in the Spanish communities took her with them, so she could tell them what their patients were saying was wrong with them, and so she could tell the patients what the doctors wanted them to do. Knowing Alice, she would bristle if she heard someone make a prejudicial remark about Hispanic people, or about anybody who is not an Anglo. Me, I tend to be prejudiced against Anglos, mostly the upper crust variety. I suppose Alice would get onto me about that, too. And I suppose she would really like the video of the amazing dancing Spanish yellow retriever in yesterday’s post, provided again today: click this link – DANCING COUPLE– to see it. I say this video should be shown in all Keys schools. And in all Keys homes. And in all American homes. It’s that incredible.
Meanwhile, like it or not, American school school children fluent in Spanish have more job opportunities than American school children not fluent in Spanish.
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There is another Wisteria Island exposition today at this link: Wisteria Island – 5-year plan, which is suppose to take you to Today’s Cock-a-doodle-doo at goodmorningkeywest.com.