Love, Individualism, Vision and Effort were the four non-negotiable principles Clover Park School District Superintendent Ron Banner instilled in his adopted son, Zach Banner, an offensive tackle for the Pittsburg Steelers.
In an April 19, 2010 article entitled Zach Banner – A Profile in Character, Chris Fetters wrote: “The basis of Ron’s teachings toward Zach have all been centered around character.”
A character built on how to LIVE life.
School board member Paul Wagemann wants this for every student in the district.
During a December 14, 2020 district board meeting, he expressed his concern for the 10 to 11 percent of students who do not graduate when he said the board needed to “crack the whip,” to do all it can do to help all district students earn their diplomas.
In a letter to the board, Taniesha Lyons demanded Wagemann’s resignation and labeled him a “racist.”
In another letter, Filma Fontanilla, vice-president of the Clover Park Education Association for Diversity and Inclusion, demanded that Wagemann apologize for “the racist and public act.”
Reportedly scores of emails in support of Wagemann were sent to the school board.
The board then called a special meeting on December 21 to discuss what Wagemann had said. During the meeting, Superintendent Banner recounted the history of the district’s “equity journey.”
It is in the context of a discussion about diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE) that Wagemann was then asked to explain what he meant when he said “crack the whip.”
A Public Disclosure Request for “all emails and correspondence and board meeting minutes related to Paul Wagemann’s alleged ‘crack the whip’ comment” netted nothing but Lyon’s letter.
At this point, CPSD Public Records declared the request closed, that all records requested had been released.
That is a false statement.
Since Wagemann’s statement and what he meant by it has elicited strong reactions from those concerned about equity, perhaps some reflection is in order.
School districts broadly view equity in terms of inquiring, affirming and meeting diverse needs; identifying and removing barriers to equity that exist operationally and systematically; maintaining high standards, rigor and expectations; and a commitment to discover what works and for whom.
If this is how the Clover Park School Board understands equity, then a most practical and immediate step of inestimable value would be for Superintendent Banner to grab a microphone and share the LIVE lessons he imparted to his son, Zach.
Far more important than system analysis, curriculum appropriateness and hiring practices – and certainly more important than micro cross-examining the words, the motives, the intentions of a board member who actually wants to accomplish equity – is the message that Ron Banner the superintendent and dad can share with parents and youths who want to learn and graduate.
Perhaps to succeed in educating our youth, we should replace the culture of DIE with the character building principles of LIVE.
John Arbeeny says
The most significant difference between LIVE (Love, Individualism, Vision and Effort) and DIE (diversity, inclusion and equity) is that LIVE exists within the individual’s capacity while DIE is externally applied, by force if necessary, by governmental agencies outside the individual. Government cannot make one espouse the LIVE principals which are essential to individual development and success regardless of how much DIE is mandated. Ultimately it is up to the individual to determine the extent to which they develop and succeed. The GIF shown as an example of “equity” is deeply flawed. It proposes to pull out the support of one individual and give it to another to improve their view: to each according to his ability; to each according to his need. Simple Marxism. While this GIF may be a “snapshot” in time, it ignores the potential and eventuality that the erstwhile “disadvantaged” member can and will grow up in stature and not need the extra “support” thus provided. Or does DIE propose that there are some among us who lack the capacity to LIVE? If based upon skin color is that expectation not racist? Does the once “disadvantaged” individual owe something to those who were disadvantaged in their favor? Rather than demanding “diversity, inclusion and equity” (where were these buzz words just 4 years ago?) perhaps our society and school district should be more concerned with the content of character of our citizens and students. LIVE not DIE.
DAVID ANDERSON says
The link embedded below the photo in this article will take you to what Benjamin Studebaker thinks about it.
He writes, “I’m a Political Theorist, and I Hate the ‘Equality’/’Equity’ Chart” – referring to this photo.
He has a most interesting take somewhat along the lines of your position John.
Ironically, and perhaps inevitably, the biggest guy in the photo notices – in the scenario Studebaker conceives – that the other two can’t see the game as well as he can.
So, apparently benevolent (and maybe indeed so to begin with) he helps the other two build boxes.
But then he decides, since it was his idea after all, that he should decide who gets the boxes.
That’s why your point John is so well taken when it comes to the difference between LIVE and DIE. LIVE is inextricably dependent upon the wherewithal initiating not so much from without as from within.
In the article cited above “Zach Banner – A Profile in Character,” Ron Banner says of his own father, ““He taught us that the harder we worked, the luckier you get.”
Where E stands for Effort, not Equity.
John Arbeeny says
The other “un-truth” in this GIF is one often encountered in leftist perceptions of the economy. The leftist rationale suggests that the economy, like society, is some static finite quantity rather than a dynamic infinite possibility. For the “rich” to become rich, the poor had to become poor. The “rich” got that way by taking from the poor. To elevate, that is provide another “box” for the poor to get better financially, or get a better view of the game in this case, a “box” must be taken from those who have “boxes” to make things “fair” for those who don’t. After all, they reason, there are only a fixed number of boxes in the world. This naive view of the economy and society is called a “zero sum game”. “In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants” (Wiki). As such, it fails to recognize the individual’s and society’s innate (internal) ability to create more wealth and opportunity. Economic redistribution via government (external) makes no better sense than societal redistribution (“social justice”, race based policies, diversity, inclusion, equity) by government. The zero sum game mantra serves the left well as it requires someone (leftist) to ensure that the finite economic and social “pie” is sliced exactly right so everyone gets the same sized piece. Their argument falls on its face when in reality the pie is always growing in size. They are more interested in maintaining this myth for their own power rather than developing financial and societal opportunities for the empowerment of the individual and society.
Kate H. says
Again, the white more-than-middle-aged men of Lakewood think they have all of the answers. Sure, go ahead and discuss how the diverse district of CPSD should push aside EDI.
In the meantime I will continue to support the majority of Lakewood and give them a voice; one that is oppressed from folks such as you.
John Arbeeny says
“White” men? Hummmm? My family originated in Spain and Syria. I guess that qualifies me a person of color as if my race or ethnicity has any thing to do with any thing. My wife: Korean. My kids must be “multi-colored”. Your insistence on criticizing speech and ideas based upon the race (and gender…..which is sexist) of the speaker makes you the racist. Indeed the entire DIE concept is one based upon race, typically brown and black. It is racist by definition. Yet you haven’t provided any rational critique of Mr. Anderson’s article or my responses. Why? Because you have none.