Phone call on charter vote brought memories of mother
by Donald Conkey
November 08, 2012 12:00 AM | 1404 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last Thursday, shortly after the Tribune reached its readers, I received a phone call from a young mother who, in a very polite but firm voice, chided me for the wording I used in my column regarding the Charter School Amendment last week.

She felt, passionately, that I had not fully studied the bill that would enable charter schools, the issue that has caused such a political divide here in Cherokee County.

While quietly listening to her explain her reasons for opposing this issue I could almost hear my mother talking at the other end of that phone line.

She was as passionate as Mother was at the same age, who was very passionate about her children and about the educational system then in use — the one-room school with one teacher to teach eight grades, the school I walked nearly three miles to attend.

It was a different world we lived in back in the mid-’30s and Dad and Mom were as ardent about their children’s education as this highly involved citizen is today.

I commend this young activist for her passion on this issue, for getting into the fray, and for educating herself on the issue — even to the extent of reading the enabling language of this bill.

She sounded so much like my mother in Mother’s hey days. As she continued to talk another flash back occurred, one of my father talking to the president of the local school board.

Dad had written a letter to the editor strongly opposing a decision the school board had made. Dad’s letter had stirred up the local populace and the board’s president had driven out to visit with Dad about his strong opposition. Sound familiar?

That was not much different than what has happened recently here in the county with regards to the charter school issue.

When this caller explained that she was one of two “conservatives” on the state PTA board another flash back occurred. Mother, politically active, was tapped by Mitt Romney’s father, Gov. George Romney to sit on Michigan’s education board and often represented Michigan at meetings in Washington, D.C.

Mother was never afraid to speak out and she was recognized by the male political community as a mover and shaker.

I hope this woman realizes that the world needs women like her, women willing to speak out on issues, regardless of whether they win or lose. Mother lost many battles but she never quit — and she was always passionate about the issues she chose to take on and fight for.

The educational system has moved forward since the 1930s with their one-room schools, yet in many ways the system has changed little.

The 1930s, like today, were times of change in the educational world. Mom and Dad fought the establishment to install school buses. They even took on the township school board to get me transferred to a neighboring district where I could ride the bus to school.

But it takes time for change to occur in any community, especially change that requires altering the community norm. We all know that change is coming more quickly today than at any time in history, including education where the Internet is making its impact felt greatly.

The Cherokee County School Board, proud, as it should be, of having the highest SAT scores in Georgia, should be leading the way in looking for better solutions to the challenges still facing the education establishment and in helping our youth better learn who they are, or learn better how, and why, God inspired America’s founding fathers to create governing documents that allow them, through their own efforts, to create a life and family of their own knowing that individual freedom requires a governmental environment where people are free to make choices on their own without becoming enslaved by the government.

In hindsight, I wish I had learned in school more about America’s Declaration of Independence and about who inspired Jefferson to embed into his document the words “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” words that can’t even be uttered in many class rooms today.

Today’s students need to be taught that no nation, not even America, will survive as a free nation if it rejects the laws of Nature’s God.

I’m grateful for this young mother’s phone call and wish her well. She reminded me again that life is not without opposition and that women like her are needed in every generation even as my mother was needed in her generation.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.
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November 12, 2012
Thank you, for a truly wonderful article.
November 08, 2012
This mom is a passionate advocate for all children! She was harassed , receive nasty e mails and phone messages for her stance on Amendment 1, but even that did not stop her! She educated herself and others on the verbiage of the supporting documents ! We are blessed to have her and others who are not afraid to speak out and advocate for children! . Though the amendment passed , I hope you and others in Cherokee county will educate themselves before they vote ! Thank you to that wonderful mom who called you as I get the honor to call her a fellow advocate and friend !
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