Letter to the Editor: School Board, you need to walk the beans

Mahomet-Seymour School Board,

My Grandpa is just about finished planting his 61st crop.  Farming is what he loves. His land is his passion and truly is what gets him out of bed each and every morning.

Each spring and fall, I take a couple of days to ride with him in his planter or combine and listen as he tells me the ins and outs of farming.  Through this precious time, I’ve learned that my Grandpa’s knowledge of farming is not just about farming. He actually is telling me about life.  

The end-goal of any farmer is a good crop. A good crop is the livelihood of a farmer and ensures he can farm again the next year.  There is a lot beyond the control of a farmer to achieve this good crop, but there are many things he can do, to ensure the best possible crop.  All planning, resources, time, energy, and thoughts, go into “What is going to give me the best crop at the end of this season?”

At the end of the previous harvest, my Grandpa gets his soil tested to give him a picture of the health of the soil.  He’s able to see which nutrients need to be added to the field to ensure the seed will have what it needs to grow and thrive.  He tells me that not all farmers go through this added step and expense. He says it’s worth this additional time and money because “If the seeds don’t have the right environment, they won’t grow to be strong, healthy plants. It’s just common sense.”

With the ground filled with the right nutrients, the farmer’s next job is to plant the right seed. To him, it’s as obvious as the sky is blue.  “Good seeds make good plants.”

These days, there are many different kinds of seeds available to farmers.  It’s up to the farmer to choose the seed that has the trait stack that works with his field, fits with the farming cultural practices of the area, and provides consistent yields.

With the ground fertilized and the seed planted, it would seem the farmer’s job is done until harvest.  But, it is at this time, that the real job of the farmer begins. This is the time the farmer starts watching. The farmer is looking for changes in the field that could potentially ruin his chance at a good crop.  

Mahomet-Seymour has been so very blessed to have good, fertilized soil and phenomenal seeds. I know this because I taught here for seven years. I consider those seven years some of the best of my 35.  You will not find a better group of teachers with whom to trust your children. The teachers I taught with were knowledgeable, kind, hard-working, dedicated and they just flat-out love children. The families I’ve had the privilege to get to know have given me their best, their children, and many of these families have become friends.  I’ve also had the privilege of working under five different administrators during my time here. They have supported, encouraged, mentored, and trusted me. There is good crop here. Good crop.

But, Mahomet-Seymour School Board, you have a problem in one of your fields. Your crop is in distress. Within 3 months, you have trusted administrators Heather Landrus, Justin Franzen, and Chris Forman, all resigning and now you have the reassignment of another trusted administrator, Courtney Porter.  You have teachers across the district crying out for help and not receiving guidance or help. You have students hurting across the district. You have families asking the district for help and being ignored and shut out. You have long-standing, beloved traditions in the district, the Homecoming Parade, the Dawg Walk, Jump Rope for Heart, Junior Olympics, and Celebrate Art all being pulled from the field just this year. The growing conditions are no longer right for your crop.  You’re losing your crop.

When this much damage is done to a field in such a short amount of time, the farmer has a choice to make.  He can deny it. He can ignore it. He can look the other way. Or, he can take an honest assessment of his field. He can look for the changes in the field that have threatened the crop.  Only then can he get rid of what’s harming the field and hope to save the crop.

The Mahomet-Seymour School District has been blessed with many, many great seeds. And we have produced many high-yield crops. But this year, there is a problem in the field.

School Board, you have a choice to make. Like the farmer, you could ignore the signs and deny there is any problem. Or, you can take an honest look at your fields. You should ask yourselves, “What has changed? What’s harming my crop?”

The problem is not the crop. Remember, you started with the very best seed. No. The problem is not the crop.

My Grandpa says the most common threat to soybeans are weeds.  If left unchecked, the weeds shade the soybeans and compete for nutrients and water.  Essentially, the soybeans are choked out. This can severely reduce your yield.

I believe my Grandpa would say to you, “If you have a weed problem, pull the weed.” He definitely wouldn’t start pulling the crop out of the field.  There is still time to save your crop. It can still thrive, but you have to pull the weeds.

Thank you.
Faith Swartzendruber
Former Lincoln Trail Educator


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I may do it all, but I have not done it all.

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  1. Great analogy and I’m afraid from what I hear from teachers and families she is very much correct.

  2. I hope the school board takes your message to heart. Your grandpa is a very wise man. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautifully written! My seeds graduated from that high school, it was the very reason we moved to Mahomet 40 years ago!

  4. Faith, that was so inspirational. Your grandfather is a very wise man. This board did not make a wise decision.

  5. What a GREAT letter! Thank you, Faith. I don’t think it is too hard to find the weeds. School Board and community members, who amongst your administration is thorny, prickly, and wants to take over? Who is treating people poorly? WHo talks one way to people’s faces and another when they are gone? Who supports “behind closed door decisions” instead of keeping things above the table? Do not be fooled. There IS an agenda. Look at what is being removed, how it’s being removed, look at who is leaving and who has been brought in and who is new. I hate to say it, but I’m glad my kids are out of the system.

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