Repost – Attempting to catch flies with vinegar

Editing Note: This has been reposted to protect a private individual’s email address which was displayed in the comments section to the original post.  I have edited the offending comment and removed the address.


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I received an invitation to attend tomorrow night’s ABC of Guilford County meeting in High Point.  I have been wanting to attend one for awhile and am looking forward to meeting with a group of parents who are advocating for our schools.


I am a bit conflicted about the group’s focus and hope that I can glean some clarity.  The group’s stated core beliefs are honorable and reflect many of my long-held beliefs that I have advocated for many years.  Their “avenues to reform” are hard to dispute.


From what I am hearing, their tactics are what has caused many people to tune out their message, however.  One of those tactics was to work behind the scenes to help thwart a $12M federal grant that was to fund some Guilford County magnet schools over the next several years.  The school system was denied the funding, reportedly because the application was not filled out correctly and asked for $700K more than the allowable limit in year one- but my feeling is there was more to it than that.


The Fed has several telephones and a simple call from the first person in D.C. who reviewed the application could have rectified the error in short order.  That did not happen, however.  Something else may be going on.


An email from a parent in Jamestown may help to explain part of the reason the application was given short-shrift by the Feds.  It also shows that at least one activist parent has a narrow and self-centered agenda: 



From: Jay Shaw 


Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 4:57 PM

Subject: Reassignment Plan- Federal Grant




Mr. Grier:


We will do everything we can to prevent $’s from coming into this county for programs that we don’t believe in. Obviously, we are all glad to see the Federal Grant Request denied.



I would suggest in the future that you actually get a consensus from “our community” before you implement plans that can’t be properly funded.


Regards,


Jay Shaw, CPA


High Point “Choice Plan” Opponent


Jamestown, NC


Having a passion for children’s educations I understand.  Working hard to unseat an elected official that you disagree with I understand.  Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is a little disconcerting, however.  Demonstrating hubris and communicating such warnings to even the elected officials that supported his position is a little over the top.  If I were an official on the receiving end of such a communication, I would not tend to support whatever position such venom was advocating for.


I have no way to know if Mr. Shaw is a member of ABC or not, (and I sincerely hope he is not – for the future effectiveness of the groups efforts) but if he is, I hope his attitude is not pervasive throughout the organization.


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Editing note 8/30: In the comments below, Ian suggests that I have “been had” because Mr. Shaw’s email address above is bogus.  When I posted the above public document I intentially wiped Mr. Shaw’s email address and substituted my weblog address, but perhaps an image ot my first draft contained the correct address.  Sorry if that confused anyone but the rest of the email addresses are for public officials and are fair game… Mr. Shaw’s valid address is not and I wanted to protect that.

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