Opinion: Cluster’s last stand


Commentary by Bill Shaffer

As official non-mayors of Carmel, you and I need to applaud our local newspapers for calm, unbiased coverage of two breaking stories:  The Great Carmichael Hotel Con and the proposed manipulation of gifted elementary school kids.

So, what are the problems to be solved and who’s in charge?

City Hall says we need a boutique hotel adjacent to the mostly vacant Palladium. There are three upscale hotels in Indianapolis. We’re in debt up over our ears already. Another bond issue in an uncertain market seems stupid. Local news reports have stated the project is too risky for private investors. Subsidies eliminate risk for private partners but not for taxpayers.

The city council has made unilateral decisions without consulting voters, not only for the hotel project but for more than $800 million in other debt. Those in charge of the Hotel Carmichael calamity are a half-dozen elected persons in City Hall. Non-mayors’ opinions are unwanted.

As for the proposed Total School Cluster Grouping, six of the top 10 elementary schools in the state today are in Carmel. Eight of the top 15 are there. Parents of achievers are happy with the former system. No protest marches. No problem.

I asked the Purdue Gifted Education Resource Institute what problem TSCG solves and how it knows improvement has happened. In a 455-word cluster of techno-babble, I learned it solves unspecified problems of youth with gifts and talents. Gee.

I also learned teachers are to self-report what’s going on and tell how they feel about it. More work for teachers who are doing a swell job without it. As for who’s in charge, the school board has punted and the administration has gone to the mattresses. Right now, Purdue social engineers seem to be calling the shots.

Worst of all, the institute committed a gauche redundancy in naming TSCG. “Cluster” is a “group.” The TSCG enterprise is built upon a redundancy. Shame on them.

We non-mayors are lucky alert journalists shine the light of reason on arrogant, over-reaching, petty elitists spending our money without asking.

Your thoughts? Write me at news@currentincarmel.com.


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