Tales from the Mark Side: The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

You don’t have to settle for the Manatee County School District. There are other options

 

By Mark Young

mark.young@manateeherald.com

 

First and foremost, happy 50th column to all of us! What a pleasure and an honor this is for me to have this time with you all and I am so thankful for each and every one of you, including my liberal haters.

So let’s take advantage of this special occasion to remind everyone that you never have to settle for anything, especially when it comes to your child’s education and Manatee County’s miseducation school district.

Hopefully we’ll see some major changes after the coming election cycles. Hopefully moms and dads will take this current district administration to task and the accountability process can begin. But in the meantime, and just in case, there are alternative options to consider.

Parents learned everything they ever wanted to know about their local school districts during the pandemic, to include the Manatee County School District.

It wasn’t just the short-term closures, mask mandates, and forced home schooling. It was, in a lot of cases, the first time parents were able to see firsthand just how much control districts have had over their children, and subsequently, the control they have exerted over the entire family unit.

Many local families began to pay attention and saw, not only our school district’s many scandals and past failings, but how families are looked upon like second-class citizens by the district’s elitist administration and a school board that does nothing to hold them accountable.

So some will argue that the 33% rise in Florida homeschooling in 2021 is still related to COVID fears, but I don’t think so.

I believe the now 147,000-plus Florida families who have opted to home school their children instead of returning them to the public education joke is just a statement in how fed up they are with totalitarian school districts who indulge themselves at the expense of taxpayer dollars.

And again, this isn’t about our teachers. We are blessed for the most part with fine educators, and our teachers are equally victimized by self-indulgent and self-absorbed administrative leadership.

I’ve outlined those many scandals more than once in our visits, but what I have not documented here are the cases of nepotism and strong rumors of marital affairs that take place at the highest levels within this district.

Make no mistake, this district’s leadership, as well as some on the school board itself, does not set the kind of standard we expect from those in charge of educating our children. Parents are beginning to not only take notice, but are taking action.

There is also a major growth spurt in charter schools taking place across Florida and a new one is coming to Bradenton. Charter schools also are publicly funded, but have flexibility with curriculum and do not have to follow school district policies that fail our children and victimize our teachers.

Parents, in essence, are looking at every alternative to help them escape the tyrannical grip of school districts like ours, whether it be homeschooling, charter school or private schools.

Manatee County is blessed in having those kind of options and the latest is Bradenton Classical Academy, currently undergoing its charter process and anticipates opening for the 2024 school year.

I had a series of messages with Sherri Davidson, the chair of board for BCA and I thank her for her incredible patience with me.

BCA will open as a K-5 school with the goal to add a grade each year until it reaches K-12. BCA is affiliated with Hillsdale College and the Bradenton location – to be determined – will be the charter school’s 10th location in Florida alone.

Hillsdale College, by the way, is the only university in the United States that does not take federal tax dollars.

Davidson and HC saw the writing on the wall regarding the failings of public education long ago and see it only getting worse.

“The school felt there needed to be a change in the way we teach our children,” Davidson said.

Graduation rates are higher than the national average for these schools with students averaging A and B grades.

“However, the main goal of the classical curriculum is not necessarily to get more scholars to go onto higher education,” Davidson told me. “It is believed that no matter whether you are a garbage hauler or an attorney, you need to have the ability to critically think, have a moral foundation and be self-reliant, responsible and understand the need for civic responsibilities.”

As Davidson noted, it’s not teaching students what to think, it’s teaching students how to think.

Imagine that. What a concept.

Davidson explained, “Civic responsibilities include understanding how our government works and the importance of every citizen to protect their rights and the rights of others. We are looking to form future leaders of our community, whether it be local or national.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said it best at the October Florida Charter School Association Conference when he said, “Our current public school system is failing in this area.”

Davidson backed up that statement by noting this type of educational movement is gaining momentum because, “our public schools are teaching what parents don’t want to have their children taught.”

Davidson said the public school system is essentially failing to teach basic things, such as actual American history.

Actual and accurate teaching, she said, helps the student, “understand how important it is to preserve what should be saved and possibly change what needs to be changed.”

BCA is currently looking for volunteers to sit on the founding board, and of course, donations are needed until such a time the school opens and is able to access public funding.

If you want to get involved or help the Bradenton area increase its real educational opportunities, email Davidson at SherriDavidson.Classicaledu@gmail.com or call 941-405-3424.

Whichever route you take, opportunities exist to free your children from the miseducation of America and Manatee County.

Take a look around when it comes to education in Manatee County. If you haven’t, you might be surprised. There are quality schools in our area and they are at a quality level because they aren’t under the influence of this scandalous district and its inept leadership.

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By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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