I thought it best to wait a while to decide if I should comment on the speech by Notre Dame law Professor Nicole Stelle Garnett as reported in the July 9th South Bend Tribune. It seemed so arrogant and outrageous to me that I thought I might be overacting.
As it turns out I was not alone in that reaction based on the stream of letters to the editor.
In case you missed it, Professor Garnett talks about how blessed she is to take her children to a private Catholic school, while she laments and feels sorrow for those who send their children to South Bend’s public schools. Or, as she is quoted as saying, sending the children off to failure. She even described a scene that seemingly breaks her heart. As she drives her kids off to a Catholic grade school she sees a father (an assumption on her part) with two children at the corner of Notre Dame Avenue and St. Vincent, apparently waiting for the bus that will take them off to another day of failure at a South Bend school.
I must ask if Professor Garnett ever stopped to talk to that adult to see how his children are doing in school.
Reading her speech and doing a little research on the Internet, I really question Professor Garnett’s intent here. I think what she was really doing had nothing to do with concern for those kids on the corner; it had to do with her politics, religion and backing of school vouchers. After all, according to her resume she clerked for Supreme Curt Justice Clarence Thomas.
To cut off a few of you from filling up the comment box I should point out that I went to both Catholic and public schools, and, of my two children one went to a South Bend public high school, the other to a Catholic high school. Can’t speak for myself, but the two boys sure turned out good.
However, in the interest of fairness I would like to make two offers to Professor Garnett.
First, I would like to ride along with you and your children to school, and when you see that man and the two kids drop me off so I can talk to them to see if the children are failing. Also, I would like to invite you and your family to our house for dinner. I will also invite the family next door so you can talk to them about why they are sending their wonderful children to a South Bend high school. I will also invite the Notre Dame tenured professor and his family who live down the street. You can ask why anyone at Notre Dame would send their children off to failure at a South Bend school.
I am sincere about this, and even if you and I disagree I really can cook a good dinner.