News Section: Opinion
Letter to the Editor: Robert Moates is the Educator's Choice for School Board
After 19 years working in the Manatee Schools District, I and other educators have sat ringside while the politics and choices of noneducators have lowered our effectiveness, depleted our trust, and decimated our salaries. To say that hope is a foreign concept would be an exercise in severe understatement. Now we face the events of this year: a budget in crisis, a superintendent resignation, and the possibility of state intervention and possibly even receivership.
How can we trust that the Board, the same Board that oversaw these painful years, will work for the students of Manatee County and the educators entrusted with their care? Simply put, we can't. It is not a matter of "us" versus "them." It is experience. The family dog that has been kicked one time too many fears its master, and we fear the dropping of the other shoe. Too many times our hopes have been dashed, too many times we have been expected to do more with less, too many times we have been told our own best interests when the reality was anything but. There is no trust left.
Now we look to the last remaining seat on the School Board, and we have two candidates, both with positive credentials to their benefit, and I believe both will honestly work for what they believe to be the best interests of the children of Manatee County. However, only one of these individuals will do so with knowledge of the most important front line, the classroom. While Mr. Miner's advocacy and willingness to stand in Board meetings to cry foul is not only appreciated but necessary, we do not need a watchdog right now. We need a communicator. We need someone who can look at a parent, a teacher, a child, an administrator, a superintendent, a bus driver, a maintenance specialist, or any other of the necessary components that make up our district, and we need this person to listen, to truly listen and bring these thoughts back to the Board.
We need someone who will look at a child's progress as a long term goal and not a political cycle talking point. We need someone who not only knows the legal responsibilities of the Board but believes in the ethical necessity to provide the best public education possible. Of the two candidates, I and other educators believe that only one has the character and fortitude to not only discover the problems, but to create the solutions. That man is Robert Moates. His sacrifice to leave the classroom, to take a pay cut in the thousands of dollars to serve all families in Manatee, shows exactly what kind of public servant he will be – one who is accountable to the people and himself. The Manatee County School Board needs Rob Moates. I encourage all of you to Vote Moates on election day.
Mr. Jason M. Troop, M.Ed., NBCT