April 14, 2022
Today at 3:30 pm, Grand Island Public School administration informed me that my role as the varsity head coach of the Islander boys soccer team has come to an end. They asked me to identify who had provided me the information that I posted, and I told them to pound sand. Since I wouldn’t comply, they offered me a chance to resign, or I could be terminated. There was no way in hell I was going to resign.
I serve many roles in Grand Island, most importantly as a father. Also included in the list are business owner, coach, mayor, taxpayer, and now apparently martyr. I am 100% at peace with this outcome, because it does nothing but confirm the failures of this organization; and until more people are willing to step forward and point out those failures, nothing will ever improve. Those businesses that have partnered within the academy programs need to speak up as well. Your funding has the power to further this discussion.
Recent Panorama survey of GISH high school shows only 46% of the students consider the “school climate” to be favorable. The same survey shows only 51% give a favorable score on the topic of “school safety”. Testing results show less than 30% proficiency for 11th graders in mathematics, reading, etc. yet we graduate 90% of our kids. How does that correlate? GIPS can no longer hide from these facts, and it is about time someone holds them accountable.
In addition, teachers are leaving in masses, causing staffing issues that are beyond repair. Data points and district oversight have taken the place of actual teaching. Teachers are verbally and physically abused by students, and there are no repercussions for offenders. Administration has abandoned the front-line teacher, and who can honestly blame them for leaving a profession that so many of them love?
The Board of Education has totally fumbled their responsibilities. They are trustees of our school’s oversight, and they have failed in their duty. How can they oversee a situation so dire, yet have nothing to say about any of this information in a public meeting? Sitting in those seats doesn’t make them dignitaries, it makes them responsible for the successes and failures of our schools.
Just to be clear, you can point to success stories in the district. There are still great kids that achieve great things and there will always be those who overcome and persevere. But for the bulk of kids, it’s a dire situation. And I certainly don’t think it is fair for the kids in classes - that enjoy being there and want to learn - to be pushed aside to pacify classroom behavioral problems of those who shouldn’t be allowed to be there. In essence, stop punishing my child’s right to an education because you (GIPS) don’t have the courage to discipline those that impair the classroom setting.
GIPS had a choice to make. They could have swallowed some pride, acknowledged their failures, and solicited people like me to help them fix their problem. Instead, they chose the archaic way of handling dissent - by using retribution instead of logic. Teachers are afraid to speak up and today just confirmed why. The gestapo tactics of this administration are simply laughable. I will gladly allow the district to keep the $6,000 per year that they pay me to coach as a trade-off for the attention this is further going to bring to their inadequacies. You can take away my locker room key, but you can’t take away my desire to share the truth.
A budget of over $100,000,000 spent annually and this is what we get? I have deep support for public schools, but how can you close your mind to the idea of school choice when this is what you’re left with? When you see teachers leaving GIPS for other districts and schools for less pay, why should students stay?
If my family doesn’t decide to relocate to a new district, look for my name on a future ballot for School Board. I would be more than happy to create change and dismantle this disaster from within, because as of now those who are there have proven to be completely incapable.
One last reminder - always do what is right, not what is easy. Even when confronted with the gestapo of GIPS.
As motivated and proud as ever,