If Rob Jenkins’ recent column (“How to destroy our schools in 8 easy steps,” March 28, 5B) was meant as a counterbalance to the thoughtfully written, newsworthy perspectives by James “Jim’ Taylor and Lavoska Barton in “‘It’s time for change’ for the leadership of Gwinnett County Public Schools,” March 28, 5B) —it failed miserably.
If he intended a dog-whistle-filled call to action to the far right, meant to incite further division and animus among fellow Gwinnettians, it may have been marginally more successful.
As Taylor alluded, change is hard, especially for adults. Both he and Barton were gracious in extending their appreciation to Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks for his 25 years of dedicated service, before explaining with facts why it was time for a change. As a teacher during much of that tenure, I echo their gratitude for Mr. Wilbanks’ leadership, while also recognizing that our county has changed demographically and our school system has not kept up.
While I support Jenkins’ right to express his opinions, it seems counterproductive that he does so using such exaggerated, hateful language. The school board members Jenkins’ derided as “radical, neo-Marxist idealogues with extremist agendas” are intelligent, highly educated, thoughtful, qualified, and importantly, duly-elected citizens. They also happen to be people of color. According to a recent AJC article, so are 76% of our students.
Yes, it’s time for a change, and Jenkins’ contemptuous fictional school board’s actions exemplify just why learning about (not being forcibly “indoctrinated in”) Critical Race Theory among other social equity issues is so important for our students — and for many adults.
— Kathe Gowland, Lilburn