Grand Old Flag

June 26, 2009

   Kudos to the city, Jessie Morton, Colleen Aycock and Glenna Kramer for getting together and putting over 50 flags along Main Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
   Also, to Ruth Bonnette, whose letter to the Banner prompted the move.
   The flags not only look great, and they not only send a message of patriotism, they declare that Franklin is a town that takes pride in its appearance.
   I’m just all grins this morning.
   Despite the fact that the “S” in St. Mary Parish Courthouse is still missing.
   Also, a round of applause to the Martin Luther King Committee. The monument on the boulevard named after the great civil rights leader is absolutely stunning. Well done, well done!
   I hadn’t had a chance to say anything about the farmer’s market yet, but here’s another hearty Attaboy! The market is small for now, and the season suffering from drought and timeliness, but the market is bound for greatness.
   The St. Mary Parish School Board approved this week “permission to begin advertising for an academic recovery specialist position using ARRA Stimulus Funds.”
   Well, as a good citizen and resident of this parish, I’ll offer up my expertise for free right here and now.
   First, sell or rent Raintree Elementary to the state to create some kind of technical and vocational school. You could move the Franklin campus over there, and add in a nursing school, maybe some other stuff. That would be a more suitable location and purpose. Or turn it into a shopping mall.
   Next, restore Baldwin Elementary and G.W. Hamilton Elementary, Thomas Gibbs Elementary and Mary Hines Elementary. Spend some money for what it needs to be spent on: Rehabilitate those buildings, hire the best staff you can find, and reopen them. Keep those classes small.
   Reorganize your bus route so that kids in a community go to a school in the community.
   Restore the summer school program. I know people that are having to send their kids to summer school in Iberia Parish if they need it. Remarkably, they’re doing well over there. Hmm…
   Stop taking the best principals out of the schools and putting them in the Taj Mahal over in Centerville. Pay them accordingly, make being a principal the dream-job of the educational system, not administration.
   Get the politics out of education. Probably require a miracle in itself, I know. But education shouldn’t be political, of all things.
   Start educating and administrating by your gut, not by rulebooks. Tell the state to go take a flying LEAP (pardon the pun) and make your own policies that take students to the mandated goals. Show some creativity rather than blindly following “models” and “studies” created by more and more consultants.
   Last thought…
   It’s official. The Tour du Teche, a “Louisiana Paddle Adventure” is in the works.
   It’ll be mid-October next year, and is a paddle from Port Barre to Berwick, some 125 miles. They’ll have 52 hours to complete it from Friday morning until noon Sunday.
   Each boat must have a team captain that stays ashore and keeps track of his or her team as they proceed.
   Since the race will end in Berwick, there’s not as great an opportunity for Franklin to greet and accommodate the paddlers, but there are possibilities.
   We’ve got over a year to work on them!