Choose the best candidate
Electing a new school superintendent would appear to be limited to local politics, but I hope Highlands County voters will see it from a global perspective.
I lived and worked in several developing countries, helping to move them from third to first-world status.
Thirty years ago, one could find American delegates at international development conferences talking about what would happen to the United States if we actually succeeded in helping developing countries develop.
With the invention of container ships, the transportation barrier disappeared. It seemed as if billions of competing low-cost foreign workers were now right next door, competing with American workers.
By 1980, those of us in a position to see these changes coming concluded that the only hope for our work force was to stop fighting automation and globalization.
Instead, we needed an immediate and huge investment in education and training so the next generation of Americans worked with their heads rather than their muscles. To say that it did not happen would be an understatement.
By 2008, the United States became the only developed nation with a higher percent of 55- to 64-year-olds who had graduated from high school than 25- to 34-year-olds. We were losing ground.
Faced with small-picture leadership at the state and national levels, local voters need to look for actions that are within our control. A critical first step is to hire the best school superintendent.
I attended a forum in Sun 'n Lake where I heard the candidates for school superintendent, Wally Cox and Rebecca Fleck, speak. Within a few minutes it was clear who had both educational credentials and leadership skills. It was not Mr. Cox.
I asked Mr. Cox if he would be willing to take some night courses to help with his weak academic background. He said that he would not because he saw himself as a CEO rather than an educator.
Then, when I learned of the school system's debt incurred under his CEO tenure, it was clear that he failed his CEO test. I decided to vote for Rebecca Fleck.
Unjust and un-Christian
Here is a defining issue. Republicans in Tallahassee continue to support a current law that denies in-state tuition to students who are U.S. citizens and residents of Florida if these students' parents came to the U.S. illegally.
This law is unjust. No other parental crime incurs a punishment deliberately directed at innocent children who are U.S. citizens.
This law is unpatriotic. Most of these kids must overcome formidable obstacles just to qualify for college; if our country is to remain great, we need all the eagerly striving young Americans we can get.
This law is un-Christian. None would dare claim that this law would be applauded by the man who said, "Allow the little children to come unto me." Our legislators have been weighed and found wanting in the scales of justice, patriotism and religious ethics.