Kirsten Mustain

Editor, Grove Sun

Everyone who feels they have something to say should say it.

And it is one of the newspaper’s functions to provide a forum for its community.

But when I receive anonymous letters, I toss them summarily in the garbage. Why? Because I also believe that if someone has something to say and they believe they are in the right, they should have no qualms about identifying themselves.

As a clever person I spoke with on the phone today said, “If you don’t want people to know what you think, don’t talk about it.”

And if you want people to know what you think, sign your name.

We cannot print anonymous letters. Period. A letter with no specific name or origin has no credibility.

A lot of people object to change.

One of the charming things about Grove is that it has retained a lot of the qualities we modern imagine to be the hallmark of days gone by. People know each other.

When people pass each other on the street they smile and speak.

Living in Grove is pleasant because of these things and they don’t have to change. But there are other things that must change simply because it would be detrimental to our community’s children if they didn’t.

Change is difficult, but the bottom line is that the world does change and it is the job of the school system to prepare students to survive in the ever-changing world they face when they graduate.

The Grove School District of 1956 was just fine for the world of 1956, but now it is 2010, and what was appropriate in 1956 or 1976 or 1996 or even 2006 is not necessarily what is appropriate now.

Members of the Grove School Board put a great deal of thought, energy and time into their decisions. They serve the district without any monetary compensation and they deal with people who shout at them and send them hate mail on a regular basis.

It’s kind of like being a newspaper editor, only perhaps not as exciting.

After careful observation, I believe that the majority of the school board members in our fine community are dedicated to helping provide the best education possible for children in this district. That is, after all, what school is all about, isn’t it?

Opinions about what kind of job they are doing are not actually factual, that’s why I said this in an opinion piece rather than a news story.

A few years ago at a party I was attending, I struck up a conversation with a student from Nepal who was studying for his master’s degree in the United States.

“It is dangerous to educate the masses,” he said, as he sipped a glass of wine. “Only people from the ruling class should have an education. When lower class people become educated, they begin to think that they are just as good as we are, and that leads to trouble because they are no longer happy with their place in life.”

Obviously, this fellow was from the upper classes in his home country and he was a bit short on tact, since I do not belong to the ruling class and I do have had a bit of education.

I have a great capacity for keeping my thoughts to myself when I don’t want to offend people, so I didn’t tell the man that in America we ostensibly believe that all people (or white males, as they had it then) are created equally and therefore everyone should have access to an education.

However, the quality of the education that many children receive in our country is sub-par and I find this troubling.

There seems to be a large contingent of citizens in this country who believe that education is unnecessary and even suspect, and some of those people live in Delaware County.

Our founding fathers believed that the only way for our country to work was to have an educated populace – citizens capable of casting votes that reflect their knowledge of the world and the issues.

I have never understood why, in some circles, striving for excellence is considered to be a bad thing.

Who will lead our country and our communities in the future if our best and brightest are dull and below average?

Great things cannot be achieved by underachievers.

I recently heard that some people in Delaware County have said that Grove is “Mayberry trying to be Beverly Hills.” I found this rather humorous – especially because Grove bears absolutely no resemblance to Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills is slick and well groomed and posh and pretentious as can be.

Grove is none of those things. Grove is much more like Mayberry. But even in Mayberry, people tried to do good things.

As a good friend of mine said, “What is wrong with trying to do well and improve yourself?”

That is what education is all about.