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Letters: Consolidate school systems

Johnson City Press • Sep 8, 2019 at 6:00 AM

With last week’s Question of the Week, we asked readers to suggest plans to fairly pay for school construction in Washington County. Here is one response we received.

Consolidate school systems

I was floored when I read press reports that the Johnson City School board is calling for equity between the city and county school systems. The first thing that entered my mind was, “Hey City, Equity Doesn’t Harm the Privileged.” I turned this phrase into a protest poster and posted it on social media hoping my “friends” would share it for all to see.

The next thing I thought after Johnson City board member’s call for equity is maybe they sit so high in their “ivory tower” they can’t see the discrepancies between the county and city schools. Sitting in the comparative privileged seat of immense resources, maybe the city board members have no reason from their view to truly learn the extent of the horrendous environmental and learning conditions in the Jonesborough Schools. Obviously, they never smelled the feces aroma emanating in the gym during P.E. class or basketball games, nor placed their children in a facility with dangerous levels of asbestos. Frankly, I’m not sure the city board members really care. If they did, why haven’t they joined the fight over the past 3 years to improve the Jonesborough students’ learning conditions!

Local politicians may be hesitant to say it, but I will: It is high time that we consolidate schools. Untold millions would be saved if Johnson City and Washington County consolidated into one county system by eliminating duplicate services. Consolidation will truly create equity for all of Washington County students whether they live in the county or city.

A call to action! Anyone who demands the best, most equitable learning conditions for county and city students, call your local representatives and ask them to start the school consolidation conversation. Ask your representative to study the advantages of consolidation, and how it affects student equity.

JAMIE FREEMAN
Jonesborough

We also previously asked readers to tell us about their favorite teachers. Here are responses we received from readers on that prompt.

Mrs. Bailey taught me to love learning

Readers of the Johnson City Press were recently invited to write about their best teachers.

From kindergarten to graduate school, I had many fine teachers. My good teachers far outweighed just a few teachers who were less than par.

Although not a teacher, a librarian, Natalie Bailey, influenced me to love learning in my early years. I believe Mrs. Bailey’s first year out of college was when I was in first grade, but I’m not certain about that. I know Mrs. Bailey was young in her career; I recently saw her and she looks exactly the same today as she did that late summer date in 1963 whent I entered the library at North Side School.

The library at North Side was a big room with lots of bookcases and even more books. I was intimidated to be in such a large room! Mrs. Bailey’s enthusiasm made that cavernous room warm and inviting and perfect for young students to explore. Initially I was a reluctant reader, but somehow Mrs. Bailey soon changed that. For that I am extremely thankful and blessed. Indeed, I have often wondered through the years how my life would be different if I didn’t possess my love of reading and learning.

Thank you, Natalie Bailey, for teaching me to love to read and to learn!

REBECCA HENDERSON
Johnson City

Miss Jessie always smiled

I would like to say that my first grade teacher, Miss Jessie Anderson, was my favorite teacher. She was a wonderful lady and a great teacher.

Miss Jessie loved her students and we loved her. She had a way of making us feel special.

We gave plays and Miss Jessie was there to make costumes and work with us. I never heard a word of criticism from her or a harsh, angry word. She always had a smile for us.

Miss Jessie taught at Mary Hughes, Piney Flats, Tennessee.

RUTH RUMBLEY SLUDER
Johnson City

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