published Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Taxpayers need Thurman

Brash. Crass. Obnoxious. Polarizing.

Rhoda Thurman has been called all of those things, and worse.

But whatever Thurman's opponents think of her, she may be the most successful advocate for taxpayers in Hamilton County today.

Her honest, take-no-prisoners approach to representing the students, parents and teachers in her district has earned enemies. But it has also made her a very powerful and effective voice on the Hamilton County School Board.

Thurman says that she was initially drawn to running for the District 1 school board seat in 2004 to defend her belief that "parent's should get to choose what's best for their kids."

Since that time, Thurman has fought for greater transparency and more educational options for students. Perhaps most importantly, she has been the one school board member consistently willing to ask "is that a good use of taxpayers hard-earned money?".

This page respects Rhonda Thurman both as a watchdog for all Hamilton County taxpayers and as an advocate for the students of her district. We wholeheartedly endorse her re-election to the Hamilton County School Board.

Her opponent, Katherine Benefield, calls herself the "diametric opposite" of Thurman. That is true, for both better and worse.

Benefield is endearing, eloquent and brilliant to the point of using her skills as a computer network engineer to perform intelligence work for the federal government during the Gulf War.

But Benefield is also an unabashed mouthpiece for the teachers union. Her tired arguments for more government spending, less teacher accountability and restrictions on school choice come right out of the teachers union playbook. Those ideas haven't served children well in the past and they continue to fail today.

When asked what a successful school should look like, Benefield rightly pointed to KIPP DC, an extraordinarily successful open-enrollment public charter school in D.C. While serving almost exclusively at-risk, low-income minority kids, KIPP DC graduates 93 percent of its students, and four out of five KIPP DC students go on to college.

KIPP DC's success is possible because the school is allowed to bypass many of the traditional, unsuccessful curriculum requirements and place higher expectations on both students and teachers.

While praising KIPP DC's successes, Benefield stated her opposition to bringing more charter schools, like KIPP, to Chattanooga. Benefield apparently wants the outcomes that school choice -- particularly charter schools -- provides to students, without allowing the competition and increased teacher expectations required to make those achievements possible.

In addition, Benefield is critical of policies that tie teacher performance to salary -- even though almost every other profession in the world rewards better performance with better pay.

This page prefers a candidate that wants to reward great teachers, spend money responsibly and create a school district that educates as many children as possible as well as possible -- even if it means scrapping a broken system. That is why we support Rhonda Thurman for District 1 school board.

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timbo said...

Finally, a real conservative writing this column. Good riddance Lee Anderson. Butt-kisser to the power structure.

July 26, 2012 at 10:57 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Timbo, well stated.

July 26, 2012 at 12:46 p.m.
tipper said...

Benefield is no doubt the better candidate to take over District 1's school board position. She is so much more experienced in education and policy than Thurman and actually has an interest in public school students and parents--two areas Thurman has neglected entirely and has little understanding. For eight years the public school's in Thurman's district have suffered. This No/Tax, Tea Party demogogue's only myopic interest is to cut taxes, whether they are necessary or not to support local education. In fact, her indifference to her district's school children has been plainly demonstrated by sending her own children to private schools. If you have no vested interest in the school children you serve, you have no business representing them. And her ideology on inner-city schools, magnet schools and minority children in general is a throwback to the era of Jim Crow. One simple question that public school parents need to most definitely ask, is what benefit have your children had in excelling in school under Thurman's eight-year reign of self-promotion? If you really care about the education your child is getting, you need someone who understands what the school board position entails and what the mission really is. Benefield obviously has more to offer than Thurman has ever provided. Then again, if what you want is another four years of obstructionism, grand-standing, bigotry, ignorance of school board policy, and a total disregard of your child's educational preparedness, then Thurman's your your choice.

July 26, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
timbo said...

Tipper..your an idiot. Benefield is exactly what we don't need. Another government education bureaucratic who is from "somewhere else" basically planted in District 1 to run against Rhonda. She won't get 20% of the vote. Another rubber stamp for the PEF and the HCEA versus a business woman/tax hawk.

Same old tired name calling.

July 26, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

Rhonda "Slaves learned to read" Thurmon is an embarrassment to this entire area. These racists need to be permanently expunged from all public offices.

Number of school textbooks reviewed? Zero.

Number of schools visited by the school board? Zero.

Number of actual days spent interacting with students and teachers in a random sampling of schools throughout this area? Zero.

These deadbeats are not doing their jobs. They have instead decided to participate in removing blacks from office. They are tools of racist pigs throughout the county. They need to be removed and replaced by people who actually care and work for school improvement. Taking away from poor blacks is not an example of improvement. Criticizing the cost of teaching poor children to read is not an improvement. Acting like a total jerk every time they speak in public is not an improvement.

Expunge these incompetent, non-working, non-thinking racists from office. Remove Rhonda "Slaves learned to read" Thurmon from office as soon as elections allow.

July 26, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

328, did slaves not learn how to read despite being previously denied that opportunity for the most part?

July 26, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
Downtownman said...

timbo said, tipper, you're an idiot. Ends his post with note about name calling.

July 27, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.
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