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.