Last week brought the departure of two major figures in the Chicago Cubs organization though technically, neither were fired. The truth is both were shown the door for the abject failure of the team on the field, and more alarming for the suits in Tribune Tower, the noticeable and growing number of empty seats.
I know not many of you care about the Cubs, although you should. I bring them up because there is a striking similarity between that organization and the three high schools in Proviso Township. A veneer of respectability, supported by large amounts of meaningless platitudes and copious finger pointing has done nothing for either organization.
In Proviso, the students and the taxpayers have seen nothing but lawsuits and lousy test scores. This brand new high school may be done before it gets a chance to succeed.
Like the Cubs, blame can and should be shared by many. But in the end the buck stops at the school board. These seven people can only complain, bitch, and scream about each other. We get firings, suspicious hires, suspensions, and of course large doses of rhetoric. All the while, the future of the Proviso Math and Science Academy is hanging in the balance.
My son Adam will be a freshman next year. It was my hope that he would attend PMSA. But with all the chaos at that school I wonder why I should consider PMSA as an option.
I’ll do the open house and probably even take in a tour of the school, but shiny floors and fake smiling faces don’t impress me. Test scores and administrative competence do.
It would be easy to make school board president Chris Welch the fall guy. He of course shares his portion of the blame, but there are six others on the board. It takes all seven for a school system like Proviso to lurch from crisis to scandal and back again.
I’ve always been a fan of having differences of opinions within our elected bodies, even if those voices become vociferous. Some people in Forest Park look at the battles on the village council as nothing but temper tantrums. It is because of this division that residents of Forest Park are more enlightened and engaged than they were five years ago. This clearly is not the case at Proviso.
There is a new superintendent at Proviso, a new sheriff in town, Stan Fields. I wish him well. Some have said the recent firings and suspensions of principals are proof that he is doing some much needed butt kicking. Good for him. I would hope the board would spring for some steel-toed shoes because he is going to need them. It may not matter how talented, dedicated, or resourceful Mr. Fields is. If his bosses continue to be backbiting, finger pointing fools dedicated only to their friends and political allies, he will soon be ground into pulp like so many of his predecessors.
With the Cubs, fans like me have no choice in who eventually ends up running the club. We either take it or leave it. With the Proviso school board we do have a choice, a voice, and a chance to affect change for the better.
Chris Welch, Daniel Adams, Sue Henry, Charles Flowers, Theresa Kelly, Shirley Madlock and Gary Marine; these are the seven people ultimately responsible for the failure of District 209.
Any of the seven that continue to show contempt for the voters and the taxpayers of Proviso Township and run for re-election should be shown the door by way of the ballot box.