Under ordinary circumstances, when a school is recognized for exceptional work and top academic rankings by the state's Department of Education, one might expect the local the superintendent to take pride in the achievement and congratulate the principal, faculty and students.
As a parent of a Challenger K-8 student and member of the School Advisory Committee (SAC), I fully expected to read something positive from Superintendent Bryan Blavatt when I read Jeff Schmucker's story "Challenger K-8 ranks 2nd in the state."
I was dismayed to read that Mr. Blavatt instead sought to undermine the achievement by calling the state's school and district rankings "a dubious measurement." I don't understand how recognition of excellence at one school "creates a situation where you have identification of one school as being subpar compared to another..."
I do not know why Mr. Blavatt would be so dismissive of the State Department of Education's rankings either.
By stating that "This is only how one group of students performed on one test on one day," Mr. Blavatt is communicating the wrong message.
Like them or not, objective standards apply and where Florida schools are concerned, they were applied evenly across 67 counties. Despite all of the obstacles Challenger K-8 has been served by the Hernando School Board, its students, principal and faculty have performed exceptionally well.
Even if Hernando County's ranking disappoints (38th out of 67 school districts), the superior rating for Challenger K-8 should instill pride, not negativity.
Mr. Blavatt, you owe an apology to Challenger K-8 and its principal, faculty, students and parents. And you should apologize to the Hernando County School Board too because when you belittle any school's performance you embarrass the board and the community that you serve.
Future presidents need military experience
I have never understood how the President of the United States can be the Commander and Chief of the United States of America's Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines including the Coast Guard and have never served.
Today we have a President that wasn't even a Boy Scout in a position to send the country into a limited war. I understand Congress must sign off on a declaration of war. But that's where I'm going. When was the last declaration of war?
Since World War II I don't think the U.S. has declared war against anyone. But we have fought wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And I have noticed excluding the Korean conflict the conflicts since then have lasted 10 years and more; and when we declared war like World War II we defeated Germany and Japan in about 5 years.
And now you know where I am going. While we go to limited wars in force but let our non-military leaders set the way we will fight these conflicts. Now we have "rules of engagement" and "surgical air strike" instead of just bombing the crap out of our enemies bringing an end to these conflicts as we did in Germany and Japan.
Our civilian leaders think they can win wars without collateral damage. When will we learn that before we put our troops and treasure in harm's way we must bring the full force and power down on our enemies and the people of the country whom we have gone to war against bringing the conflict to an end as soon as possible.
The USA should continue to be the World Power and let our enemies know we will bring a "big stick" to a conflict. We need to end these protracted so-called wars unless we are prepared to bring the full power of the United States military power down on our enemies. We owe this to our brave troops we send into harm's way.