I’ve wondered for a long time exactly where Dr. Wardynski’s support was coming from. Now we have it from the horse’s mouth.
You see, he hasn’t ever had the support of teachers, you know, the only group of Huntsville City School employees that actually care about students and education. To be frank, the overwhelming majority of teachers in this district know that Wardynski is killing our schools. Once the damage is finalized, and we continue to see a declining enrollment, declining test scores (on evaluations that Wardynski can’t manipulate like the ACT scores), and an increased exodus of superb, experienced, and highly qualified teachers who have dedicated their lives (not just 5 weeks and then two years on a whim) to the art of teaching children, it will be clear that we should have put a stop to this man’s drive to destroy public education long ago.
But then it will be too late.
He doesn’t have the support of many parents in the community any more either now that he’s subjugated student safety to his own political agenda.
While he tried to buy off parent by giving their children laptops, (to break, to collect dust as teachers returned to actually teaching children rather than playing computer games) but over time, most parents have seen this as the silicon snake oil that it is. Students are still easily distracted. Students are still having to carry huge backpacks. Student are still having to open textbooks (you know those things that don’t shatter when a 8-year-old stumbles, and that don’t take 10 minutes to get to today’s reading selection) to learn.
Other parents have had their eyes open to the reality that Wardynski doesn’t actually give a damn about their children for a long time. We’ve known how Wardynski actually felt about the needs of special education children long before he began raiding the special education funding to pay for all his pet projects.
As children are challenged less often to allow for ever increasing “testing,” more and more parents will realize that Wardynski isn’t looking out for them or their children.
Development for Business
So who exactly is he looking out for? He said it tonight in the meeting:
“Our indication is that it will lead to development,” Wardynski said. “In this area (on Bailey Cove Road), we don’t see growth, we see sustainment.”
That’s it. Development is the motivating factor in this decision.
And no, he ain’t talking about childhood development. He’s talking about business development and nothing else.
The only group of people in this town whom still seem happy with Wardynski as superintendent (aside from the Ann Roy Moore haters) is the business community. Yep, the Chamber of Commerce is thrilled with him.
No Financial Miracle Worker
Well, first they’ve bought into the myth that Wardynski has turned the finances of this district around.
This is not true. The finances of this district were turned around before the man was hired. Dr. Richardson, who despite being a bit of a despot actually does care about public education, deserves all the credit for the financial turn around in this district. He’s the one who made the cuts that resulted in the change.
Wardynski has expanded spend, especially spending on himself and his friends. He has not cut it (well excluding refusing to even consider reinstating the STEP raises that have been frozen for 19 months now and his continual game playing with the Special Education budget).
He deserves, in other words, zero percent of the credit for our financial turnaround. That “miracle” happened before he got here, and it happened because our teachers continue to fund it by working for less and less money without a raise.
He Listens and Obeys
The business community supports him because unlike parents, he takes their calls. He listens when they speak. And he does what they ask.
So when they said:
“Look Casey, we know you just spent $6 million dollars expanding Grissom, and we know that you said that you wouldn’t build another high school for decade when you were finishing the New Lee/New Century (or whatever its name is), but we’ve got all this land just going to waste behind Sam’s Club, and you know, we’d really like to build some expensive houses over there, so we need you to move Grissom to the other side of the parkway. To make it work, we’ll even tell Tommy (Battle) to build you a new road. Oh, and get this, we can call it the Weatherly Road site to confuse everyone.
And when they call, Wardynski listens. And takes their call.
Excuse me, but what the hell does real-estate development have to do with student achievement? How are students being served by having to drive to school rather than walk? (You can’t cross the parkway on foot you know.) How is education improved at one of the most celebrated and awarded schools in the state by this move that ignores the needs of students and parents?
Guess what? That day has arrived.
Someday the Chamber of Commerce will realize what a mistake they’ve made in backing this man, too. Wardynski doesn’t care about education. He doesn’t care about teachers, parents or students. He doesn’t care about Huntsville. Wardynski cares about Wardynski. And as soon as he gets a better offer, he’ll leave to mess up yet another district in another state.
The sad thing is that the Chamber won’t realize it until after schools have closed, property values have plummeted, and the city of Madison is bursting at the seams with expatriates from Huntsville.
If you want to make a difference in this plan, the only hope that I see is in convincing the chamber of commerce that they need to look past what they see as an immediate benefit to the long-term health of our community. If we can’t, I truly fear for the future of the Rocket City.