Monday, March 28, 2011

Senate Bill 5 Will Destroy Upper Arlington's Excellence

This was a letter to the editor written by Christopher Swartz, an outstanding social studies teacher at Upper Arlington High School. It appeared in the Upper Arlington News Suburban News Publication on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

"Since early February, firefighters, police officers, school employees and union supporters have been attacked relentlessly by the governor, several state senators and a local daily newspaper. These attacks have come as a result of Senate Bill 5, which in part, dismantles collective bargaining rights for public servants. The rhetoric from all sides is cacophonous.

The blueprint for a vibrant nation incorporates the unique spirit and customs of local populations. Yet staunch libertarians have discarded principle in a blind allegiance to the State of Ohio, instead of embracing local choice for their community.

John Stuart Mill laments over the loss of unique characteristics and the ascension of mediocrity within society in his classical libertarian essay, On Liberty: "All the political changes of the age promote it, since they all tend to raise the low to lower the high."

Don't denigrate Upper Arlington!

"Upper Arlington is the best place to live in Central Ohio." In part due to " excellent city services" and the schools "recognized nationwide as a leader in quality education. ... For quality city services, great location, exciting community events, a full service business community and state-of-the-art libraries, Upper Arlington is at the top of the list," according to Ohio Magazine.

As a resident and teacher in Upper Arlington, I know the importance of good schools and related high property values. Unfortunately, our schools will not be enhanced by Senate Bill 5. The morale of teachers and school employees is already degrading into malaise. As a result, dedicated, excellent teachers are facing the possibility of being forced to leave Upper Arlington, the state and the profession. Don't let bad law result in devastating such an outstanding community.

Some of our community leaders, school board members and business professionals have expressed privately their concerns over the implementation of Senate Bill 5. It is time for those voices to become public. Speak up! Be proud of UA's unique character and its accomplishments. Help retain and build upon its high standards. Set the bar to the heights to which other communities may aspire."

Christopher Swartz