Not unpatriotic, just arrogant

Greta Hawkins, principal of P.S. 90 in Coney Island, reportedly banned the sight of American flags and the singing of “America the Beautiful” from her school’s upcoming graduation ceremony. Two years ago she torpedoed the airing of a ballad expressing pride in America on the grounds that the sentiment might be odious to immigrants from other cultures. Immigrants deserve more credit than paternalistic people who don’t consult but presume to represent them are willing to give.

Let’s resist the temptation to see this as a love of country issue. The nature of patriotism and the role it should play, if any, in education is a minefield which is nonetheless full of potential arguments worth exploring. But let it not distract us from the proper focus of Hawkins’ behavior, which is arrogant, dense with condescension and warped “my way or the highway” philosophy. It is symptomatic of the new breed of principals who too often are scantily trained, skimpily talented, clueless with just a fragment of experience, yet thrust boldly into full and absolute leadership authority.

Being a legitimate principal takes more than a hastily scrambled credential and an assignment effectuated by a highly placed, rather than highly competent contact.

Ron Isaac

Fresh Meadows






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