Correct me if I’m wrong, but am I suddenly seeing a lot of letters in the Rappahannock News written by Jeffrey and Regina Knight? I don’t know the Knights but I assume they know each other, for they seem to be in total agreement about our fine public schools (they don’t seem to think they are very fine at all) and they have the same last name. If their last name was Jenkins or Atkins or even Jones I wouldn’t have noticed, but there just aren’t that many Knights in our little town. I’m even willing to bet you a dollar that they know Jim Gannon, our resident scold and self-anointed “Friend of Liberty.” He’s almost as tiresome as that “Cooter” guy. I’m guessing that since everybody’s eyes start to glaze over when “concerned citizens” Junk and Cordani start to annually whine about the school budget, Gannon has enlisted the formidable Knights to bolster the attack.
But Jim, y’all are going to have to do better than Ms. Knight’s complaint about the “quality of return on our taxpayer investment” in which she tells us that according to SAT scores and “recent test scores,” our county’s schools are trailing some of those in much larger counties. She neglects, however, to give us the funding numbers for any of these other schools. But these are the “facts,” she says, just like Sgt. Joe Friday on “Dragnet.”
Then she compares the Rappahannock County Public Schools to the Diocese of Arlington Catholic Schools, which are of course funded and underwritten by the Catholic Church. (And I would guess that those Sisters don’t earn a regular teacher’s pay. For sure they don’t have families to feed and houses to maintain.)
All of which proves nothing except perhaps that Ms. Knight does not understand the nature of rural Virginia, the challenges of Rappahannock County, and the very real accomplishments of our students and our schools.
The letter which followed Ms. Knight’s “facts” was from Vickie Jenkins Miller, the volunteer coordinator for our county’s schools. It is a testament to the spirit and charity of our county’s citizens who gave so generously of their time and money to rebuild the playground at Rappahannock County Elementary School. That’s a fact.
The school system’s budget has not had an increase in five years. And certainly Superintendent Boone will not get the full amount of his budget request this year. But it is my genuine hope that the school board and the board of supervisors understand and consider the obvious political motivations of those who seem to make a hobby of stridently criticizing public education.
It is as if they know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
Harris Hollow, Washington