Gwinnett County School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks says public schools are…
“shackled by mandates that stifle creativity and flexibility,” Wilbanks said. Instead of creating laws in reaction to problems that should be handled at a local level, Wilbanks said policymakers should enact legislation that holds school systems accountable while allowing the districts flexibility in how they operate.
“I have no problem with accountability,” Wilbanks said during his “State of K-12 Education Address” at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s general membership luncheon. “(But policymakers should) allow us the flexibility to do the things and carry out the responsibilities we must carry out.”
Wilbanks is also unhappy that fewer students enrolled in Gwinnett’s schools than anticipated:
Wilbanks said many factors have likely contributed to the district’s “drop in growth,” including the general slow down in the housing market, the mortgage crisis and the social and political focus on illegal immigration.
“It’s a sign of our times that certain people get the distinct message that they’re not welcome here,” Wilbanks said. “I believe America has never been greater than when it’s been open … (to) new people, trade and … ideas that come from different cultures. … Immigration reform is clearly needed rather than a short-term solution that plays to anger and fears of citizens.”
I would agree there are too many mandates on public schools from both the State and Federal government. However, Gwinnett has not until recently, taken advantage of Charter schools. Some would debate their effectiveness, but if more flexibility and fewer mandates are what’s needed, then let’s try more Charter schools.
As for certain people being “not welcome here” Wilbanks is over simplifying the situation. If illegal immigrants are leaving Georgia (which I think some are), and thus no longer here to send their children to school (and many to ESOL classes) how does that play into the “anger and fear of citizens?” Let these folks come back here legally and America will welcome them with open arms.
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