More civility needed in public discourse

The July 3 Another Voice titled, “Loss of programs is a symptom of education’s decline,” is a symptom of the decline of civility in public discourse. It is ironic and sad to note the article was penned by a former teacher of “participation in government” in a public school district.

The column was peppered with such words and phrases as “ominous,” “lopping,” “flippant indifference,” “pathology,” “side of America that doesn’t grasp or refuses to grasp,” “twilight zone of decay,” “forces who want to see it fail” and “joyful idiocy on display.”

Fact: The number of pupils in our school districts continues to decline as spending continues to rise. We need to discuss how to address this problem. The answer can’t always be “more money or music, sports and summer school will suffer.”

Fact: Performance of pupils locally and across the nation is not improving despite commitment of more money per pupil than anywhere else on planet Earth. Other nations’ pupils are improving and many are exceeding our levels of academic achievement and ability.

No one should be sanctimonious in the advocacy of his position. Make the case, but drop the vitriol.

After a joyous celebration of our independence last Thursday, we should all commit ourselves to find sustainable solutions, with the greater good in mind – not merely lower taxes on the one side or preservation of compensation packages on the other. Civility in our public discourse is part of our collective “pursuit of happiness” and critical to the fabric of our community and nation.

David Schiller