Let's Get Political...
Back in March, America and more specifically Texas, began to realize that a world changing event was upon us. The country shut down. We were quarantined in our homes. Over the last 5-6 months we have all witnessed an earth-changing epidemic take place. On top of that, our country is a nation in a paradigm shift. Politics and political narratives are dominating all conversation. It is an election season after all, and in the midst of an election cycle, our nation is finding itself divided on many social issues.
In the school business, we’ve been ordered to open school. In the middle of a pandemic and in the middle of an age of mistrust for authority figures, the ultimate symbol of authority for kids is now open. School is supposed to be a “kid friendly zone”, and this Covid era has forced so many kids to take on “grown up type” responsibilities in the mitigation effort. But in the end, our kids need structure. They need to feel a normalcy. They need to get back to being allowed to “be kids”, and they cannot afford to widen the achievement gap in learning that further delays might incur.
Over the last several months, the political climate in our country and in particular, our towns and communities, has been tumultuous. It seems like everyone is operating “on a hair trigger” of anger, blame, and outrage no matter what side of the political spectrum they fall on. One troubling narrative that has come up far too often is this notion that somehow Tenaha ISD does not meet muster academically. It’s been said multiple times now that “moving kids to Timpson or Center” somehow enhances the academic experience. I am here to say publicly that Center and Timpson do in fact offer a completely adequate and quality educational experience. They both boast progressive dual credit programs. They both meet all state accountability standards. They both have outstanding staffs of instructors, coaches, and leaders that do their best for the kids in their district. They both have diverse extra-curricular programs in athletics and band that enjoy relative levels of success from activity to activity.
But here is where this “political narrative” falls short. Dual Credit? Tenaha was the first to introduce the “tuition free” program that now is a norm in every Shelby County school. State Accountability? While Timpson and Center ISD both did well in the last round of measures, they BOTH finished BEHIND Tenaha ISD. Staff and Instruction? Here’s where I might be biased, but there’s no comparison. Teachers seek out Tenaha ISD to come be a part of a climate and culture where the focus is on the process and growth. Extra-Curriculars? There are Sweepstakes bands all around…. Tenaha is one of them. Athletics? Highly competitive to be sure and Tenaha ISD has played in more Regional Finals in the last 15 years in Football and Basketball than the rest of the county (including Tenaha’s history before 2005) has in history.
In no way is this editorial meant to discredit any of our Shelby County contemporaries. They all do a fantastic job. But somehow, someway inside our own Tiger Family, this negative perception of TISD has spread. It has to be political because if it wasn’t a political narrative, it would be true. To anyone inside the Tenaha Tiger Family, if you have questions…. Real questions…. About our school and the education we offer or the programs herein, the door is wide open. Without dialogue, the truth is lost. Without truth, decisions and opinions exist only politically to sway thought.