Featured Letter: Schools are about creating opportunity

04/10/2014 6:00 AM |

The Riverhead Charter School in Calverton. (Credit: file photo)

To the editor:

Regarding “Teachers step up behind charter school principal” by Michael White: Principal Ray Ankrum states in the piece, “My focus is on the top 10 percent of my staff. It’s the 10/80/10 rule of business. The bottom 10 percent will do whatever they can to cause disruption.” 

I can’t help but be fearful of a public servant that speaks in terms often associated with those in high finance. After reading many statements from Mr. Ankrum, it leaves one to wonder just what his philosophy regarding the rights of all individuals to have an equal and free voice in our society truly is. Schools are often viewed as the one tool for creating opportunity that is not inhibited by racial, religious or cultural bias — a place where students learn how to be good citizens and respect the rule of law and ethics of democracy.

By clearly pitting teacher against teacher, union member against union member, which is indicated by the comments made by various teachers that make up the school’s “leadership team,” one has to wonder if the students at RCS are learning how to properly act as responsible citizens in a democracy.

All workers have a right to organize, collectively bargain and cooperatively act in a trade union. For a former teacher, union member and social studies teacher to equate his employment policies with those used in the business community makes me fearful for the future of education in this country.

Education has always been a part of the “commons” and must remain so if democracy is to continue. Principals that wish to strip, intimidate and harass those that exercise their legal rights to engage in union activities must be met with strong resistance by community members that cherish an open and just educational environment.

David Hornung, Calverton