The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Smack Down:  Citizen Hatred By Politicians

By J.C. Bowman

I have heard it said: too many school boards across America suffer from an "Edifice Complex."  They simply want to build large tributes to themselves.  Interestingly, when I visited some football fields across Florida and Texas, I noticed they were little more than practice fields for those I had grown accustomed to in Tennessee.  Lincoln High School here in Tallahassee, one of the real powerhouses of high school football across Florida, has enough stands for about 200 people. 

You wonder why Florida football teams dominate college football?  I think it is in part because the kids are not pampered by adults trying to build large monuments to their own past heroics.  In addition, promoting a "tax and spend scheme" to build monuments like this no longer finds favor with taxpayers.

I know Cleveland and Bradley County residents are too wise to be hoodwinked by their local school boards. For example the us-and-them boiler-plate argument pitting the Bradley County Commission against the Bradley County School Board has grown old.  County leaders on the Bradley County Commission, and I know relatively few of them personally, deserve some credit for their many years of previous progress.

However, wise leaders understand Americans want to pay lower taxes.  We want limited government.  We want elected leaders who protect our liberty and our sovereignty.  We don't need to beg the French delegation at the UN before acting in our own best interest.  We own guns, and we do not want some pebble headed bureaucrat telling law abiding citizens we do not have that right.  Most Americans are not trying to stamp God out of our public life, and we want to pass that heritage on to our children.  We still believe in the United States Constitution.  And we are wary of those who seek to expand Federal government. In the south, elected leaders here clearly understand American voters more than in other parts of the United States. 

However, some politicians remain committed to frustrating the will of the citizens they supposedly serve.  As Laura Ingraham says in her book Shut Up & Sing, they believe they are superior intellectually and "are more enlightened than the poor slobs who make up the rest of humanity."  Ingraham's book is a must read.

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator.  He is Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University. Prior to this, he served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.


These "intellectuals" are obsessed with destroying popular democracy and replacing it with a socialist central government run by people just like them.  After all, they know what us poor slobs need better than we do, being morally superior as well.  They are for: peace, the environment, privacy, reproductive freedom, our standing in the world, and other empty rhetoric.  What they really are about is POWER.  They want to keep slobs from voting.  They will seek to make every position an appointed or anointed position, lest some lower class person runs for and wins a position they covet.  By taking the vote from the common man they more easily instill their worldview over the masses. 

In education, the debate has begun to rage whether to elect or appoint a leader to manage your school system.  I am very prejudiced in my response. I believe you should elect your leader.  But I also feel the appointed/elected decision should be decided on by the voters. I can make all the arguments, pro or con.  But I want to defend some of our past elected system leaders.  Bradley County has a history of excellent elected leaders. Some were better than others.  They all had issues, but I assure you ALL could easily match up with the anointed leader of the Bradley County School Board.  Elected, anointed or appointed.  The choice should be in the hands of the voters.       

Resistance to change and fear of the change process have been significant problems trying to implement quality programs in the Bradley County School system for as long as I can remember.  I do not know if there is any action currently underway to improve the process, with the object being to demonstrate to citizens a success and that education is actually being improved. If not, I would suggest the system look toward improving the bottom line. 

They should study product designs and process actions that relate to superior performance in other school systems across the nation.  Remember the goal is to copy and improve on the competitive product and process designs.  The results should confirm that performance has improved. Two books I recommend for reading: Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools and Winning! by Don McAdams  and Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? by Lou Gerstner. 

Many fine people have been unfairly vilified in the local press, and Bradley School officials and Board members have remained largely untouched.  My reasoning has always been it is not because of an ineffective media, but rather an uninformed media.  Usually, by the time a reporter figures out the game they graduate to obituaries, comics or something.  Education reporting is often left to the novice reporters. 

I would challenge school officials to be positive, when dealing with the County Commission:  Be consistent in your communication, oppose kingdom building, and clearly articulate your vision.  These three forces will either propel you or will hold you back.  I think it is fairly obvious that kingdom building is a barrier utilized to ward off all change.  In fairness, can anyone tell me the vision of the local school system? 

No Child Left Behind is the law of the land. Whether local officials like that or not, it is the law.  I do not believe your local officials have embraced that concept.  I think part of their lack of support is directly related to their view NCLB will either go away or they have a fear of being held accountable.     
Educators need to learn that a lack of time and lack of resources is something corporate America struggles with daily.  A focus on leadership and management skills should provide training, coaching, and employee survey feedback.  If you want to be ambitious try a 360 feedback, this is where every employee gives feedback on all employees, including management.  Then share the results. 

Bradley County Schools must change the organizational culture of their system, this includes provide training, developing an organizational profile, mapping the core processes you expect staff members to perform.  Without top management commitment to adequate resource allocation and involvement of teachers and staff, moving any school system forward is wishful thinking. 

Education is an expensive endeavor, but it is money well spent.  But schools also must be held more accountable for how the money is spent.  And School Board members must work hand and hand with the County Commission. They are the funding body, and it is a large portion of their budget.  Cooperation and teamwork still matters.  A small minority of school board members cannot drive an agenda for an entire community forever.  Eventually the public will get sick of the constant whining and posturing.  Then you will finally see a power shift in local politics.

On a final note: I want to send out well wishes and happy belated birthday to  my mother-in-law Nancy O'Bannon.  I also want to offer up condolences to the family of Doyle Fowler who recently passed away.  I would like to especially comfort my old friends Johnny, Karen, Brent and Brian.  Mr. Fowler took me to my first University of Tennessee Football game.  He will be sorely missed.