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Local view: Let’s forget the Red Plan and focus on school

As a former teacher in the Duluth public schools for 39 years, I have been disheartened by the disparaging remarks in some of the articles printed by the Duluth News Tribune concerning the Duluth schools. I believe these naysayers and obstructionists do not represent the majority of Duluthians.

First, let me say the Red Plan is dead. It is water over the dam. The genie is out of the bottle. It cannot be undone. And thank goodness for that. Thanks to former Superintendent Keith Dixon and the Duluth School Board for updated schools with 21st-century technologies. Now Duluth students can graduate from East and Denfeld and compete on the highest levels. Whether they choose to go to a college, university, community college, vocational school, military service or enter the job market right after graduation, they will have been provided with the skills necessary to compete at the highest level.

I believe the silent majority of Duluth parents support the school district and believe their children are receiving a wonderful educational experience.

Stability is the key to success in most endeavors and certainly in education. We have a superintendent who graduated from Denfeld High School and progressed through the ranks of education in Duluth as a teacher, administrator and assistant superintendent. Superintendent Bill Gronseth will not be abandoning our school system as the last superintendent did. The school district has a long-term contract completed with the Duluth Federation of Teachers in order to ensure fiscal stability for years to come.

We also are fortunate to have School Board members like Mike Miernicki, who has dedicated 36 years of his life to education in Duluth. He was a teacher for 26 years and an athletic director for 10 more. He is now the chairman of the School Board and has dedicated himself to making sure the Duluth public schools continue to prosper.

The present controversy involving the school district and School Board member Art Johnston has two sides. Unfortunately, because of data-privacy issues, we are not allowed to hear both sides. The superintendent and school officials are not allowed to comment on ongoing litigation. I would think this should affect all public officials.

To the naysayers I say take another look at ISD 709 and you will see a bright future for education in Duluth. It is time to move forward.

Patrick Phillips of Duluth taught American government and international studies classes for 10 years at Woodland Junior High School and for 29 years at Denfeld High School, retiring in 2010.