Listen to the people

The Liberty community continues to attend Southern Tioga School Board meetings in large numbers. At one point, Superintendent Yarger asked the question: “Why are they so upset, I am only trying to help!” The answer to this question is not apparent until you have been a part of a stable community.

The valleys of Pennsylvania have a unique heritage. When Barack Obama referred to Pennsylvania as a ‘society that clings to their guns and Bibles’, he was fairly accurate. He did understate their love for music. The churches ring on Sunday mornings with their quality harmonies and background of quality instrumental accompaniment. This has been an important part of the heritage and a strong consideration when planning the education of the next generation for the Liberty Valley.

The present plans of the Southern Tioga Board of Education have stressed that they want to maintain a quality education and be financially responsible. When the board distorted the costs of repairs to Liberty Elementary school and ignored the problems of transportation, they also disrupted an important heritage of the Liberty valley. The increased cost of a sport complex in Blossburg was not very sensitive to the quality music and arts program in Liberty. The majority rule did not understand or appear to care about what they were destroying in the Liberty community. As we attempt to heal the wounds of the communities, we hope that they will consider plans to maintain the aspects of our programs by including the music and art teachers into the plans. The music teaching certificate does not differentiate between vocal and instrumental strengths. This is an important consideration when creating teacher assignments. Crunching cost numbers and consolidating programs can destroy quality without realizing what happened. Youth football on Sunday mornings is not what many in the Liberty valley consider a priority.

In an age of underachievement, we need to embrace outstanding programs and build on them. It is the hope of our community that the board will listen to the harmonies and enjoy them. It is even more important that the board listen to the people that are so upset that they cannot even attend a board meeting.

Donald Norman


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom