They're not red, white and blue!
Mission statement elevates duty to a “global society” over duty to country 

Below are statements made by school officials concerning whether the mission statement, which currently states that the district’s mission is “to prepare students to be effective and ethical contributors to our global society”,  should be revised to include a reference to preparing students to be good citizens of America.  The below quotes reveal the thinking of those we entrust to educate the children of Brecksville and Broadview Heights:

KATHLEEN MACK, Board Member:

  • We could teach children to become “a good citizen, but not American.”” —Board member, Kathleen Mack, Board meeting, May 8, 2013
  • “The only problem is, not everybody is an American citizen who goes here.” --Board member, Kathleen Mack, in response to Board President, David Tryon’s suggestion to teach children to be good citizens of America, Board meeting, May 8, 2013

Mrs. Mack apparently thinks that because all students are not American citizens, we, therefore, should not teach good American citizenship.  Using Mrs. Mack’s flawed reasoning, we also shouldn’t prepare students to compete in a global market because not all students are going to need to compete in a global market.  Some students may choose to be a local car mechanic, a homemaker, or a landscaper.    Not all jobs are part of the global market.  The overwhelming number of students in our school district are American.  There is nothing wrong with teaching all students to be effective and ethical contributors to America—regardless of their citizenship!  And, there would be nothing wrong with teaching non-citizens who attend American public schools paid by American tax dollars what we, as Americans, expect from American citizens. 

MARK JANTZEN, Board Vice-President:

  • “As far as ‘patriotism,’ I’m not sure what texts are offered and I don’t think we should get mired in issues of being ‘proud’ or ‘ashamed’ of anything especially since I’m not sure how either could be taught or untaught.”  --Board Vice-President, Mark Jantzen, email to the Board, Dec. 4, 2012

It is really quite amazing that Mark Jantzen (a Board member who makes decisions concerning the education of children in Brecksville and Broadview Heights) would not know how patriotism could be taught, or that there is a vast array of texts available to teach patriotism! 

First:  Patriotism could be taught in much the same way our schools teach “BEE PRIDE”.  BBHCSD holds “Spirit Weeks” when students are encouraged to dress in “Bee” apparel and to attend pep rallies to support our sports teams.  BBHCSD regularly and frequently boasts to our community about all the great successes students, teachers, and administrators have achieved—and honors those achievements with ceremonies and awards.  BBHCSD proudly displays its “Excellent with Distinction” banners on its website and in its buildings.  And, BBHCSD essentially never even acknowledges the District’s faults---except for those faults they claim are attributable to a lack of funding.  (To teach true patriotism, though, would require teaching our nation’s successes AND faults.)

SECOND:  Here are some “texts” (texts that Mr. Jantzen, evidently, is unaware of) that could be used to teach patriotism:    The writings of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Witherspoon, and Benjamin Franklin.  Students would surely learn to love America and her freedoms if they were taught the writings of only these few of the 56 men who pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” when signing the Declaration of Independence.

Here are two other excellent texts that could be used to teach patriotism:

  1. “Our Sacred Honor”, by William Bennett, US Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan
  2. “The Patriot’s Handbook” by George Grant

Even if there were no texts, that is no excuse.  We don’t need texts to teach patriotism.  Just like we don’t need texts to teach “BEE Pride”, we don’t need texts to teach patriotism. 

THIRD:  Mr. Jantzen doesn’t think the Board “should get mired in issues of being ‘proud’ or ‘ashamed’ of anything.”  What?  Maybe he should take the position that our schools should not try to instill school spirit in our students because, after all, the students will be learning pride in their school.  (Please excuse my sarcasm.)    It is so sad to see this member of our community afraid to “get mired” in issues of patriotism. 

 CHRIS BEISWENGER, spokesman for the Board’s Strategic Vision Advisory Committee:

(Speaking on behalf of the Committee which consists of   Superintendent  Scot Prebles,   Director of Curriculum and Instruction  Carla Calevich,   BEA President Bonnie Monteleone,   BOSS President Janet Rymut,   and residents Chris Beiswenger,   Julie Firestone,   Carin Kubera,    Mike O’Donnell,   Karen Pavlica,   Dan Skaljac,   Charles Wendland,   and  Ann Marie Williams)

  • “We felt that many employers are looking for individuals to be global citizens.”
  • The global population is much more worldly than we are.  They all speak multiple languages.  They all understand not only their own country’s politics, but other countries’ politics.  They have much more understanding for multiculturalism, particularly in Europe where everyone is so densely packed.”
  • “Many employers are looking for us to be global citizens, looking for our children to fit into their organizations, to become global citizens…The world has changed.”  (Chris Beiswenger, spokesman for the Board’s Strategic Vision Advisory Committee, May 20, 2013 board meeting

It is sickening that the members of this committee think that the “global population” is so superior to Americans!  They freely and publicly praise and give accolades to other countries, but resist giving praise to our own great country.

First:  Mr. Beiswenger was speaking on behalf of the Board’s Strategic Vision Advisory Committee—and, therefore, was speaking on behalf of the following:

  • THE BOARD--the Strategic Vision Advisory Committee is a BOARD created committee.  The Board chose Mr. Beiswenger to speak on behalf of its own committee!
  • BBHCSD Administrators—The Superintendent and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction serve on the Strategic Vision Advisory Committee.  They both were present during Mr. Beiswenger’s comments and neither said anything about his comments.
  • BBHCSD Teachers—The President of the BEA (teachers’ union) is on the Strategic Vision Advisory Committee, and she represents the teachers.
  • BBHCSD Support Staff—The President of BOSS (union for support staff) is on the Strategic Vision Advisory Committee, and she represents the support staff.
  • Eight (8) residents, including himself (Chris Beiswenger) and: Ann Marie Williams, Carin Kubera, Charles Wendland, Dan Skaljac, Karen Pavlica, Mike O’Donnell, and Julie Firestone (who also spoke on behalf of the SVAC, and she did not express any disagreement with Mr. Beiswenger’s comments.)

SECOND—Unlike other nations around the world, AMERICA is a nation governed by “We the People” who are united by the common belief “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

If the “global population” is supposedly so superior to Americans, then how is it that AMERICA is the richest, freest, most powerful, and most generous nation on earth?  How is it that AMERICA is the leader among nations for the protection of human rights?  Why is AMERICA the stabilizing force for peace in the world?  Why do oppressed peoples within the “global population” look to AMERICA as their last beacon of hope?  

THIRD:  We can teach children how to “function in a global society” without teaching them that they are some make-believe “global citizen,” or that they have a greater duty to a “global society” than they have to our great nation!  There is nothing wrong with teaching them to compete in a global economy or in a global job market.  But our allegiance, our duty, i.e., the duty of being an “ethical contributor” should be directed to our nation first and foremost before it is directed to a global society.

  • Board President, David Tryon: “What about the concept of “American Exceptionalism”?  Is that something we should be teaching in our schools?” 
  • Chris Beiswenger:  amidst chuckles, laughter, and murmurs from those in the room, said “Hmmm.”
  • Board Member, Kathleen Mack:  “Chris, don’t.  Don’t go there.  Don’t.”
  • Chris Beiswenger:  “I’m not sure that we discussed that.”
  • (Discussion during May 20, 2013 Board meeting) 

Oh, no!  American Exceptionalism?   Our schools can boast all day long about its “Excellent with Distinction” rating on Ohio’s report card, but when it comes to AMERICAN Exceptionalism—NO!  We cannot allow our schools to “go there”!!  (How disgusting!)  It is so sad that a room full of staff, administrators, and people chosen by our Board to take part in a Strategic Vision for our schools would erupt into laughter upon hearing the phrase “American Exceptionalism.”