Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two schools, two completely different views

Some headlines excite me, some depress me. Let me give you an example of each.
Saturday a week ago I brought in the paper and, as I sat down to breakfast, scanned the headlines. We don’t read at the breakfast table because the lady of the house and I have other things to talk about – things which have a higher order of importance in our world than local, state, national or international affairs.
But two headlines resounded in my brain, and I spent a couple minutes looking into each story because I couldn’t wait to know what they were all about.
The first one said, “South High event halted.” The second said, “School celebrates world’s cultures.”
I shall deal with them in reverse order, because the second one was positive, uplifting and gave a happy outlook on a fine tradition I have observed for many years.
It was the celebration of International Day at Andrews Osborne Academy in Willoughby. It celebrates the many backgrounds (may I say “cultures?”) at a school that is the pride of everyone who knows anything at all about it. The event features dishes prepared by students from all around the globe.
I have never seen such an unending array of gourmet dishes in my life, and I have been attending these events for decades.
We circled the cafeteria and helped ourselves to small plastic cups that contained greater varieties of foods, desserts and soups that you could imagine.
I think the lady and I ended up with three or four dozen different samples on our plates. We did our best to devour them all.
We ended up seated across from two of Willoughby’s finest citizens, Dan and Carol Fishwick. Both made their mark in education – Dan at University School, and Carol at South High, where she was a winner of the Adele Knight Excellence in Teaching Award.
In addition, Dan and I were trustees at the former Andrews School for Girls at the time it merged with Phillips Osborne School in Painesville to form a single school to educate students in all grades and from all international backgrounds at a very high level of academic achievement.
Dan remained on the combined board for two years after the merger as I departed. I plead guilty to having something to do with that situation, but it is a story for another occasion.
The four of us had a lot to talk about. And we did – for more than an hour before we adjourned to the auditorium for a program displaying the talents of dozens of AOA students. It was a splendid program, one that enraptured the audience that filled the room.
Much of the success of AOA, and it is indeed a heart-warming tale, is due to the efforts of Chuck Roman and Larry Goodman. Chuck became the head of school at the merger, and upon his retirement Larry became the new school head.
It is the quality and abilities of these two men and their associates that make AOA a success.
The program on stage following lunch gave a look into the abilities and strengths of the students at the school, which is now co-ed following the merger. It is a marked improvement over the previous all-girls institution. Its leaders understand the mission and it is an important member of the county’s educational community.
We were fortunate to sit next to Larry during the program. His enthusiasm for the production was apparent, and it was nicely covered in Saturday’s News-Herald.
The other headline, about the event that was canceled at South High, was depressing.
According to the story, a student opera was “postponed” because a national civil rights organization protested that it had religious overtones.
It was postponed because the group claimed it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
That has always been a bogus claim, because the Constitution says only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” And that is all the Constitution says on the subject.
I will wager that I have read the First Amendment 50 more times than the person who filed the complaint. I know it, backwards and forwards.
But here is the killer statement from the story: The person who filed the complaint said “the opera was brought to his group’s attention by a member of the school community who wished to remain anonymous.”
Isn’t that always the way? I thought, by law, we have a right to know who our accusers are.
Here is my thought: When I have an opinion, my name is attached to it. Those of us who are proud of our opinions refer to the others who cringe at the thought of being associated with a point of view as “gutless wonders.”
But as you are probably aware, this rapidly emerging political correctness nonsense is just another product of Far Left (“progressive”) thinking that is leading the country downhill at the speed of light.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real difference between the two schools is one is government-run and the other isn't. The one with less government has more freedom.

May 4, 2015 at 1:59 PM 

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