Stunned Silence

It was about 10 p.m. when I received a voice mail from Jeff Langdon.  Jeff is superintendent of the Deer Park City School District which borders the northern edge of Cincinnati, Ohio.  I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was excited.  In his message, he told me that he was driving home from a coffee discussion held at the home of one of his residents.  A dozen citizens participated in the informal discussion which focused for much of the time on the usual school stuff:  district finances, passage of the district’s recent operating levy and student academic performance.  Then, just before concluding the discussion, Jeff commented that “the next time we get together we need to talk about the future of Ohio’s public schools which are currently being slowly dismantled by our education policymakers.”  He said they wouldn’t allow the conversation to end there and asked him to be more specific about what he meant. Responding to their request, he cited the fact that a significant portion of their tax dollars is not staying in Deer Park.  It is going to charter schools.  Jeff said everyone sat in stunned silence.  They had no idea this is happening in their school district and throughout the state.  After the initial shock dissipated a bit, he said the coffee participants agreed that this important discussion needs to be expanded into the community because most residents have no idea how our nation’s education reform movement is impacting their public schools.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress of their community conversation.

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