July 18, 2002
After months of sporadic focus in the papers on the public school “controversy,” I have to admit that I’m pretty confused. I am at a loss to understand why the two mothers of public school students who are among those questioning the quality of the middle school education have been so vilified in the local press and in the collective mind of the community.
I really haven’t followed the stories closely, but what I’ve come away with is that these two mothers have the resources to take their children out of the public school and let the problem of improving the middle school fall to those who can’t afford a choice.
Yet rather than taking their resources elsewhere, they chose to spearhead a campaign to improve the public school and were willing to not only stand up for something they believed in but also direct their own money toward this end.
Whether or not we agree with their assumptions regarding the quality of the middle school education and what is needed to make improvements, we as a community, should be grateful – or at a bare minimum, tolerant – of their (and anyone else’s) efforts to improve our school system.
Perhaps attention could be better focused on what can be improved in the middle school or why people believe improvements are not necessary. Making two mothers the focus of attention rather than focusing on the issues they bring up is unproductive to say the least.
Over the past several months I’ve noticed how much our community has benefited from the Morgridge family’s philanthropy. Of course the CMC building is the most noticeable (and probably the largest single donation), but the Morgridges have donated large amounts to several community charities: The Buddy Program, music education through Jazz Aspen Snowmass, The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club, HeritageAspen, Mountain Rescue Aspen … the list goes on (and on).
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Unfortunately it seems that the vitriol directed at them as a result of this one issue has pushed the Morgridges past the point of wanting to continue to be a part of our small community – the community they cared enough about to help in so many ways.
Regardless of whether their assumptions about the public school are correct, I am very sorry to see them go.