People in general, and Albanians in particular, are guilty of a line of thinking where they will say that something needs to be done, but not if it impacts something they like. For example, look around and see all the different people who say that the federal budget needs to be cut. There are Republicans, libertarians, and even some Democrats. The point of contention generally isn’t that the government is spending way to much money. The contention is what needs to be cut.
Democrats will hold welfare as inviolate. Republicans will hold the Department of Defense the same way. This is no different than the current debate with the Dougherty County Board of Education about school closures. Take a look at the arguments being made for a moment. None of them are that we need all of these schools here in Albany, though one person touched on that by arguing there were 400 kids in East Albany who aren’t enrolled in school (not enough, in my opinion, to keep three schools open).
No, all of the arguments really revolve around not wanting their schools closed. If Westover and Lake Park were on the chopping block, I suspect the faces in the room during the hearings would have been very, very different. Of course, as both of those schools are located in the fastest growing part of town, I’d probably hear some arguments that weren’t just about emotion.
Folks, the right decisions aren’t always the easy decisions. At the national level, that means both entitlement reform and cuts to defense spending (and everything else in between). Locally, unfortunately, that means cuts in schools. Are these the best schools to close? Honestly, I don’t know. The school board spent the money on a consultant (an expense they really shouldn’t have incurred), and this was the decision derived. However, if East Albany has 400 kids who aren’t enrolled in schools, and the parents aren’t committing a crime, then those kids are apparently home schooled. Why would they be home schooled? Probably because, like so many other Dougherty County residents, they simply don’t have faith in the school system. Their “neighborhood” schools have a lot to do with that.
I don’t pretend that people impacted by these decisions should be happy with it. However, people need to ask why are they unhappy with the decision. Is it because they believe it’s a bad decision in general, or is it because they’re the ones impacted? I believe I already know the answer, and from the comments that have been made about this issue, I don’t think I’m wrong in the least.