Friday, May 20, 2011

Irony: May 20, 2011 in Opt Outs

Yankton Citizens for Sustainable Education (CFSE) continues to challenge my understanding of irony.  Neither a graduate seminar over Jonathan Swift nor a lifelong appreciation of pop culture irony such as Saturday Night Live, The Onion, The Daily Show, or The Colbert Report has prepared me to deal with the intricate irony that CFSE promulgates.  Even familiarity with purveyors of religious irony such as Lark News has left me ill-prepared.

The group claims that it has organized itself  to sustain education, but members have hired Paul Dorr, a man who has dedicated his life to speeding public education "on towards its certain demise."  This act seems the epitome of irony.  One does not attempt to kill that which one hopes to sustain.   Yet, events indicate that the group is not being ironical.  

It strikes me that I am left with two alternatives.  Both seem as flawed as the belief that the group is attempting a heretofore unknown subtle formulation of irony.  First, Mr. Dorr overstates his dislike of public education in order to drum up business for his consulting firm.  This possibility has merit; hyperbole is frequently used as an advertising tool.  The other option, one I have heard mentioned by certain Yankton residents who could charitably be called skeptics, is that Messrs. Murphy and Wurth, CFSE officers both, are being disingenuous when they assert they hope to nurture Yankton's public education.  (I must confess that I took the term nurture from a list of synonyms for sustain. Honesty forces me to admit that I have not personally heard Murphy or Wurth claim that they wish to nurture Yankton's public schools.)

Today, my mailbox contained a mailing from CFSE.  It was addressed to my wife's previous husband whom she divorced over a decade ago.  He has been living near St. Louis, Missouri for the entire time.  My wife and I have been married for nearly eight years.  Both of us have taught in the Yankton School System for over fifteen years, so it's a bit disheartening that a group dedicated to sustaining local education did not care enough to address a mailing to us.  I probably have accept part of the blame for this confusion; I don't socialize much during the school year.  Still, it strikes me as ironic that the group would not send their material to teachers since they claim that they are opposing the opt out because they owe it to the district's "good teachers."  I also find it ironic that I have not met the group's officers at a school board meeting, especially since this group "has supported our school through thick and thin."  Perhaps CFSE members believe that my wife and I are not good teachers.  I find such a possibility too hurtful to seriously contemplate.

I hope a good night's sleep will help me make sense of these conundrums.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

The only good teacher is one who doesn't get my tax dollars (or so I can imagine Paul Dorr saying).