Monday, September 19, 2011

High-Powered Low-Lifes in Education

Kent School Boiler by mdt1960
Kent School Boiler, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
With astonishment, I read the stories about an Al Jazeera reporter named Gabriel Elizondo visiting a local high school football game in Brooks, Texas recently. At the heart of this story was the insipid greeting and dismissal directed toward the reporter coming from the school’s principal, Lisa Yauck and superintendent, Michael Lee.

If you have not heard about this story, I would encourage you to stop here and read the reporter’s blog entry from that day and than read the school superintendent Michael Lee’s response to the Elizondo’s blog.

What first struck me about this event was the total ignorance oozing from these two educational (and one would assume, “informed”) administrator’s regarding Al Jazeera as a legitimate news operation that has matched and sometimes surpassed the coverage of other leading news agencies around the world. It is simply beyond belief. In a world that is becoming more and more polarized, these two jingoist serve as shining examples of incompetence and mediocrity in education while perpetuating malicious hatred within the heart of our country’s innocence—small town America.

It’s no secret that I don’t care for Fox News. I probably see them in the same light as Lee and Yauck view Al Jazeera. However, one thing I know for sure is Fox News has a right to report/film/write a story at my local high school or college athletic event, even if I’m sure they will put their “spin” on it.

Like many lackluster school administrators, Lee cites FERPA as his rationale for turning away Elizondo. Yet anyone who truly knows FERPA certainly knows it is not a counter to freedom of the press—especially when it comes down to something as public as a high school football game… held at a public school no less!

If Michael Lee truly believes FERPA is the justification for spurning a reporter who wishes to interview fans (whether it be students or general public) at a high school football game, he is a second-rate superintendent, and totally incompetent. On the other hand, if Lee is using FERPA to mask his disdain and prejudice for other people of culture, race or religion, he is simply a disgrace. Which ever the two, I know one thing for sure, he should be fired along with secondary principal Lisa Yauck.

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