Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guest Post on CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan

Editor's Note: Here's a guest post to the Cincinnati Blog from regular reader Miles.

Give Back Cincinnati had a YP sounding session with Mary Ronan, the CPS Superintendent.

She did her rote presentation, with no changes for the YP crowd. That was disappointing, because it seems like the people CPS needs to attract are those who will otherwise move to the suburbs when they have kids. Instead, it was more of a justification for taxing Cincinnatians to pay for school.

She pointed out the great strides the district has taken since 2000, and the federal and state accolades it's received. She also made it seem like a completely reactionary district that hopes to assuage the Enquirer and its archconservative base.

She said that CPS was trying to rebrand and shed its negative image. When asked about LEED certification, she was defensive and apologetic about the financial investment. CPS is the greenest school district in America, in terms of the number of LEED buildings. Boy, that's an albatross!

She said she no longer saw a need for teachers' unions. I guess, after 30 years in one, Mary got hers, huh? She complained that they prevent her from moving teachers from school to school, without realizing that teachers' unions exists to keep the superintendent from treating them like commoditized capital.

She said she didn't believe in mandatory comprehensive sex ed while bemoaning the fact that there are so many children of poor young mothers in Cincinnati. Guess what? That 17-year old who's dropping out of Mt. Airy because she got pregnant? You're going to have to teach her kid in 5 years! If you want the 5-year olds to be better prepared, prepare your 17-year olds to not get pregnant!

I think she thought we were Republicans. I think she thinks Cincinnati is a Republican city, rather than one that votes 80% Democratic. She can be the superintendent at Colerain if she wants to pander to conservative Catholics.

I understand that I'm about as liberal as they get, but guess what? Liberals have kids too, and there are a lot more of us in your district. Hamilton County shouldn't concern her.

It's kind of sad, because I left the meeting thinking that if I want my hypothetical kid to have a liberal education, with diversity and tolerance instilled in those around her, I'll have to move to another district. After all, I'm not concerned with my kid being liberal; he'll be a DFH. I want to limit her exposure to bigotry and religious conservatism at school, and Mary Ronan doesn't seem prepared to attack those things as vociferously as other school districts do, even those with far more conservative constituents.

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