Some have written in to ask why there’s been so much focus on Montgomery County Schools. The long answer is complex as hell but let’s try to break it down into a few digestible parts:
- The story has been covered for nearly a year, little bits broken down and spread out to allow time for everything to sink in. That’s by design. When there’s too much information to get across to readers, that doesn’t mean you have to stick it in File 13. You just have to do more work. There’s no need to ignore anything major. This is proof.
- The Powell mess in Montgomery County highlights the biggest obstacle facing education in Kentucky: small time, local corruption. It’s a look at just how many hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars can be misappropriated with next to no oversight or recourse.
- No one pays attention to school board races or school board politics. This story series has changed that for Montgomery County and allowed the community to wake up (that’s not a snub) and begin participating on its own terms. School board races there have become the hottest of the year. Average citizens are legitimately interested in them because they now understand their importance.
- In most small counties, school boards are everything. They control the best jobs, millions of dollars in contracts, taxes. They literally control the future of your children and whether or not those children succeed in life. That’s why this is a big deal.
- The story has given you a glimpse into the world of various educational accountability agencies and their inner workings. Who knew it was so crazy? Who knew those agencies played such a huge role in the lives of our children and whether or not local corruption prospers or dies? Now we all know.
- This story has been front and center for the policymakers who read the site daily. It’s allowed legislators to see what can go wrong on a local level when the Attorney General half-handles a problem involving a child, when state policemen intimidate, when the State Auditor of Public Accounts selectively turns a blind eye to disaster after disaster by not pushing for law enforcement action.
All that’s just a taste. The reality is Kentucky lags behind in education and it’s not just Frankfort’s fault. Everyone owns some of that responsibility. Stories like the hundreds rolling out of Montgomery County by the day are shining a bright light on that reality.
But it’s not just happening there. It’s happening in Menifee, Morgan, Fayette, Jefferson, Covington.
It’s happening everywhere and it’s time for us all to take education more seriously in the Commonwealth.