I have a new hero, and his name is Rick Roach. Mr. Roach is one of the most famous school board members in Florida, where he has served on a local board for twenty years. He has recently announced that he won’t be running for a fifth term, because he now realizes that he has been trying to make a difference in the lives of children within a political system that is so broken that it mutes intelligent people like him. But, not running for re-election doesn’t mean he is giving up the good fight. It only means that he’s changing his tactics. He’s going to fight the system rather than fight within the system. That’s why he’s my hero.
The crazy thing about this new idol of mine is that I’ve never met the guy (although we have exchanged emails since I learned about him). But, the fact is, until recently I had no idea he even existed. But, I do now, because, for the first time since I can remember, a public official has shown the courage to denounce how our political “leaders” are destroying public education and thus harming children with their inane policies and mandates.
Sadly, we have to go all the way to Florida to find someone in a position of leadership with the guts to tell the truth about the unconscionable things politicians are doing to (not for) children. But at least there is one guy out there willing to speak the truth. And, all I can say is, “God love him!”
Please take a few minutes and read his story at http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/06/the-drive-to-test-test-and-re-test-leads-famous-school-board-member-to-quit. It would also be worth your time to read the other articles embedded within this story. You probably won’t believe what you read, but it’s all true. And, as you read, keep in mind that the very same insane practices that he criticizes in Florida are being mandated by our politicians right here in Ohio. Every one of them.
In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a state in which you wouldn’t find these same indefensible practices being forced upon educators, students, and parents, some of which can only be described as cruel and all of which can labeled harmful. The cost to taxpayers for the implementation of many of these wasteful practices is staggering, but even worse is the emotional cost to students, parents, and educators alike. The people who have enacted them should be ashamed of themselves. But, they’re not. That’s where reasonable people must step in.
So, after two decades of beating his head against the same political wall I have encountered here in Ohio, Rick Roach has decided that trying to talk sense into the bureaucrats who have created this mess is a waste of time. He now knows that improvement can’t occur within the system as it currently exists, because it is dominated by people with political agendas who don’t know what they are doing despite the fact they are mandating what we must do. That shouldn’t be acceptable to any of us. Therefore, he’s going on the attack.
So, Mr. Roach’s decision not to run for re-election doesn’t mean all is lost. Quite the contrary. What it means is he thinks there is a better way to solve this problem. Instead of trying to reason with unreasonable people he hopes to inform and galvanize the masses; to let them know that it’s okay to say no to ideas that make no sense and are bad for children; to remind them that they, and not politicians are, in fact, in charge. He wants to empower parents, community members, and the education establishment to take a stand against nonsensical laws. He wants common sense to rule. Imagine that.
I hope you will join his fight. I know I will.