If only Shakespeare were alive today! No doubt he would be amused at the latest Lee County adaptation of his play, The Taming of the Shrew. You see, the Lee County School System is staging this performance right before our yes, in living color, and using all forms of 21st Century media. I have given it the name, The Taming of the Crew.
First the players- Starring in the leading role (Shakespeare’s Petruchio) is Dr. Jeff Moss, superintendent of schools. Playing the role of his bride Katherina (the Shrew, henceforth referred to as the Crew) is the Lee County School Board.
Like Petruchio applying a carefully crafted suite of psychological tactics to temper his new bride, Moss has successfully conditioned the Board of Education (the Crew) over the course of two plus years running the county schools. It took awhile, but he’s got the Crew doing his bidding. They are conveniently quieted by Moss as he publicly deliberates budget adjustments and quickly hushed by Moss when they dare to speak (as was BOE Member Akinosho during one recent forum). Indeed, they represent the obedient bride. And they obediently come running at his beckoned call, as in the final act of Shakespeare’s parallel comedy.
Alas, there’s a problem with the Taming of the Crew: this isn’t comedy and most Lee County citizens aren’t being entertained. The Crew has statutory responsibility to exercise full review of the Lee County School budget and to help county commissioners identify ways of protecting essential educational requirements in line with declining resources to fund public education. So far, it looks like the Crew is waiting on Dr. Moss to tell them what they are to say and when. One can only speculate how long this comedy will play out. We still have 2 months or more of budget haggling to accomplish before the Lee County Board of Commissioners arrives at a final budget. Will the school board discipline the process and speak for themselves in defending the school budget? Or will Dr. Moss continue calling the shots?
Were Bill Shakespeare here to observe, no doubt he would enjoy the occasional comedic side-bars (like Mr. Clark’s ad hominem attack on a commissioner at the last BOC meeeting, while speaking on behalf of the Crew). But I’m not sure Shakespeare would be altogether amused at the potential impacts on our academic pursuits. He might well view these impacts as more a tragedy than a comedy.