Roy Exum: Rhonda’s Right Again

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Rhonda Thurman, the “bell cow” of the Hamilton County School Board, was absolutely at her best with a letter on Chattanoogan.com on Tuesday and, when she asked for five examples of inequity, I believe I can serve up the biggest of all in this senseless and embarrassing socio-economic hoax. We have been led to believe it takes right at $10,000 per child in the Chattanooga communities’ education efforts to fulfill each publicly-educated kid’s dreams..

But there is a huge disparity when you study socio-economics with an integration prism. If a child attends a public school in Hixson, Red Bank or Lookout Valley, the cost per pupil is closer to $7,500 or $8,000. But if a child attends Brainerd, Orchard Knob Middle or Howard, the true cost is $12,500 to $13,000. It only stands to reason. Our children who live in poverty designations are every bit as precious and as deserving as those in our suburbs, but you want me to tell you the real reason the cost of education is greater?

Poor children have yet to be taught to read. They are victims of a faulty society where single parents are working two jobs and still can’t break the poverty cycle because they, themselves, were unable to read when they were pushed through our city/county schools 20 years ago. From the very beginning each was unable to achieve grade-level marks and they were just as cursed with the inability to ever catch up as today’s children prove.

I don’t know anything that makes me as mad as when the liberal pretenders at our wonderful foundations – discounting the fraudulent UnifiEd – will look under new rocks, read some wacky story about a teaching model in Massachusetts, or invite yet another zany to teach a course in abject idiocy. When is the Hamilton County Department of Education going to recognize it is all about the child who belongs to us and the circling carpetbaggers are exactly that?

Nobody knows better than me what the Benwood Foundation and the Lyndhurst Foundation have meant to each of us for decades. But we now find both have been infiltrated by “stinkin’ thinkin’.” It’s true; just last week, there was a story that said Benwood was financing a $250,000 project to hire some planning associates in New Orleans to design “the flow” at the fledging Howard Middle School. Wait – they will also play $20 grand to send “the local design team” to The Big Easy. That’s preposterous.

UnifiEd’s Paul Brock says the School Board “needs new leadership,” but, compared to Benwood and Lyndhurst, the school leaders would dissolve the philanthropoes in less than five minutes of any common-sense contest. Rhonda writes of UnifiEd’s obvious fraud. They have no business whatsoever in our schools. They were not elected, selected, appointed, authorized and are most certainly accountable to no one. Boot out these skunks!

Yet UnifiEd continues to skim millions off our foundations. Their “organizers” are experts at Gerry-minding elections  and creating havoc by separating the haves from the have-nots on the Bchool Board. We know UnifiEd has just established three seats on the current board and tried hard to beat Rhonda in the last election. You just saw what this ‘education foundation’ did to Greg Beck, a county commissioner who hardly deserved to get mugged.

I am calling on the ‘elected’ School Board to formally remove UnifiEd and its crummies from our public schools immediately. And I want to watch the vote of three who accepted UnifiEd’s money in the 2016 school board election – Kathy Lennon, Tiffanie Robinson and Joe Wingate. Will those three disavow UnifiEd? I believe they have no choice, although Wingate has sent word his vote cannot be bought – we’ll see.

I know Rhonda Thurman holds UnifiEd as culpable, as does the wise and wonderful former principal David Testerman. So, who else do we have? Joe Galloway, who is not running for re-election, knows the difference in right and wrong. I cannot imagine he would support the UnifiEd agenda. Joe Smith, who UnifiEd just labeled as dangerous, knows these people are an abomination.

So there are four solid votes to toss out these liberal intruders. Again, I can’t speak for Coach Galloway, but he knows what this “educational non-profit” has as a true agenda. I’m thinking Joe will side against UnifiEd. That gives us four to boot these carpetbaggers.

I figure Tiffanie Robinson is such a great and noble thinker she well may be, will drift with her liberal agenda … after all, she took UnifiEd’s election money, as did Kathy Lennon, whose hijinks in the Signal Mountain district question not only exposed her but robbed her of all validity. She beat Jonathan Welch, who not enough district voters had any idea of his character, his virtue and acumen. His defeat in 2016 was unconscionable … thanks in whole to the horribly misguided Paul Brock and UnifiEd.

Karitsa Mosely Jones, because her schools are threatened, will also go with UnifiEd. Her husband assured me she has never taken a dime from UnifiEd’s “political action committee. So, what? We have four-four with chairman Highlander the trump card.

Not long ago the HCDE created, at no one’s request, a diversification committee, and Steve is a member. The allegedly caustic T. Nakia Towns Edwards, the HCDE’s new diversity genius, has allowed no outsiders, media, or interested parties to attend what – quite candidly – are her race-baiter sessions. Towns Edwards has quite a reputation in Nashville, this in more recent years as being called politely – “an activist” but who, by her record, as described by a Nashville pundit, as being “a bigger racist than the Klu Klux Klan.” Believe me, in Nashville it is a well-cultivated reputation, as a review of the Nashville Tennessean’s archives will attest.

So, our first order of business at the next School Board meeting must be to call for the vote and the ouster. We are spending $5,000 more each year for a poverty child who still cannot read this than we are for a child at Soddy Daisy Elementary who can. When are we going to ever smell the coffee?

As Rhonda points out, our Hamilton County schools were the crème-de-la-crème when we merged in the city in 1971. At the time, there were about five schools in the community but, today, Hamilton County is home to over 30 private schools, not to mention the growing rage -- home schooling.

Why is that? Forget socio-economics. Let’s confront the monster. Why!

Latch-key kids? Forget it. This entire catastrophe, in my opinion, is because the great lot of our children in poverty cannot read. And because it is impossible to ‘catch up’ in a system that has never, ever proven it cares, for the past 40 years we have wondered why our test scores never change or why our single mothers remain shackled behind walls they can never escape.

Only until we demand greatness, with no lesser recourse, will we ever achieve it.

Royexum@aol.com


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