, Port Arthur, Texas

July 11, 2013

Now that the Tyranny is over

Anthony McDaniel
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The departure of former administration of PAISD has brought some relief to its employees; so what are we to expect or require from current and future leadership in our district?  

One very pertinent issue we should expect is a re-visitation of our current view of corporal punishment.  Under former administration corporal punishment was no longer an option for the management of the student bodies of our schools.  This was indeed a grave error made to avoid conflict and lawsuits that could potentially be brought against our district. This has not however, kept attorney fees from racking up which still has a lingering effect on our law suit liability insurance.

 I submit to you that the most significant element of our educational system in Port Arthur is just that, education.  If we continue to allow excessive disruption in classrooms with little to no deterrents, we do our students disservice by neglecting to give them the quality education they deserve and our taxes pay for.  

Many of you may remember when the now interim superintendent, Mark Portiere, was principal at Washington and Sam Houston Elementary schools he routinely canvased his campuses with a strap and teachers were very pleased with his leadership due to the support they could expect from him.  Later as Deputy Superintendent those same teachers could not expect the luxury of that support from principals that followed him.

We cannot anticipate discipline in our schools without empowering our principals with healthy deterrents for unacceptable behavior.  

Prior to the emancipation proclamation of 1863 enacted by President Abraham Lincoln, it was thought prudent to administer corporal punishment for the masters’ goals to be achieved, but to edify and encourage our children to be the best that they can be, we consider it deplorable.  What a travesty this is for our teachers and students.  

The bullying incidents that were intense enough to make the local morning, afternoon and evening news was responded to with “The districts policies have been followed” by Dr. Portiere.  I ask you what good is old, ineffective policy in a new more challenging day? Isn’t it ironic that all of our neighboring districts use corporal punishment and enjoy the luxury of a more peaceful learning environment and higher performance from students?

We should expect new leaders to bring with them new policies that will yield higher performance.  In addition, a re-evaluation of all current policies of every kind to gauge their effectiveness or need for replacement.  The greatest book ever written tells us that to spare the rod spoils the child.  Now we want to undermine that with in-school suspension?  This is a big joke, even to the students who ask teachers to go to ISS.

Now let’s also look at what we need for a moment, shall we?  The first thing we need is to derail the friendship train.  It does have its place at the end of the work day; however, when the rubber meets the road our district needs to be performance based on every level.   

The effectiveness of each and every position not mandated by the state, as well as those that are, should be subject to detailed scrutiny and appropriate accountability.  We must ask ourselves if someone from the inside will have the fortitude to fire or retire a low performing friend or eliminate a needless position.  

 Our district needs deterrents that will give students and teachers an ultimatum, either come to school prepared to learn or teach or suffer consequences.  If parents refuse corporal punishment for their children then they should be prepared to keep them home, rather than having them come to school to impede the learning process for those students who aspire to a better life.  

Under former administration head count took precedence over head knowledge.  It is more important for us to recognize the performance of our students than it is for administrators to recognize the amount of money we get from the state for each child.  Empowerment of local administration is paramount to the success of our district.  We absolutely must require that protocol and chain of command be adhered to otherwise we will continue to get what we have been in PAISD.

Anthony McDaniel is a resident of Port Arthur. Contact him at