Jan 082016



Some time before Christmas when the School District comes to a grinding, two week halt, I sent a simple and direct email to Superintendent Porter requesting information about academic activity. The question was: “Can you tell me if the Monroe County School District participates in the National Merit Scholarship Program and, if so, how well have we done?” Because of the academic nature, I copied Theresa Axford, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning. Neither has deigned to respond to my query.

I am not surprised that Superintendent Porter has not replied as he is reluctant to do so unless the question is in the form of a Public Records Request. Though he is a public servant, Porter does not believe that he should provide public service in the form of responding to requests for information. I am disappointed that Ms. Axford has not replied as I have had better experiences with her in the past.

That there has been no response is, I believe, more than a matter of politics. I should think that if the School District was active in the National Merit Scholarship Program and if our students were doing well, the Superintendent would want to brag about that and broadcast the information widely. That we apparently are not participating is most unfortunate as the National Merit Scholarship Program is a long standing academic endeavor that should merge well with Advanced Placement instruction. The District is placing a premium on the latter; why not the former?

The Monroe County School District seems to be locked into the 20th century despite the arrival of the new millennium a decade and a half ago. For example, there would be virtually no IT instruction were it not for John Padget and his efforts to promote Microsoft learning. What is wrong with challenging students to do more, to do better? It strikes me that the National Merit Scholarship Program is an excellent way to do that.

Larry Murray

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Dr. Larry Murray
A former 60's hippie with a strong belief in capitalism, Dr. Murray obtained his Ph.D. in American History in 1970 and went on to, in his own words, ‘publish and perish,’ teaching at colleges and universities while publishing in professional journals.

Now Dr. Murray is a tireless community activist, focusing primarily on the administration of the public schools in Monroe County. Hands down, Larry has made more public records requests to the school district than anyone else – ever - something he describes as “the equivalent of pulling teeth” or, as some have put it, "herding cats".

Pushing for the best schools possible, he pokes and prods, urging the School District, as often as not, to simply follow its own rules and regulations, not do something unique and different.

More Articles by Larry Murray .

More Articles by Larry Murray prior to November, 2014.
 January 8, 2016  Posted by at 1:14 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #148, Letter to the Editor  Add comments

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