No one, not even Mr. Manhas, is blind to the dysfunction in Seattle Public Schools. Unfortunately, no one, particularly Mr. Manhas, has done much to address it. Perhaps they don't have any ideas about how to address it.
Well, I'm all about solutions. It's not enough to complain; one must also offer remedies. You may not think these remedies are any good; in which case I welcome opportunities for improvement. I don't know if anyone in a position to do so can or will take these ideas forward, but I will offer them anyway. Let no one suggest that these problems can never be solved.
IDEA #3 volunteer Board staff.
Periodically, we hear that the Board cannot do their job properly because they lack staff. The lack of staff is provided as the reason they can't respond to their email, phone calls, and letters. The lack of staff is given as the reason that the Board isn't adequately informed on issues. The lack of staff is given as the reason that the Board relies so heavily on the staff's version of reality. There are a number of other failures which are attributed to the Board's lack of staff.
I have heard Board members go on about how the District doesn't make adequate use of community volunteers, and how the schools haven't made enough use of the talent pools in their communities. The Board should lead by example by asking informed, involved, and expert community members to provide them with staff support. Surely there are folks who would, on a volunteer basis, read and respond to constituent email. I know for absolute certain that there are community members who would do analysis and provide advice to Board members. In fact, they are itching for the chance. There are marketing professionals, construction professionals, statistical analysis professionals, education professionals, legal professionals, experts of every stripe who would love to provide a Board member with their expert review and suggestions.
All the Board members have to do is allow it. They don't even have to ask; they just have to stop declining offers. It is disingenuous for the Board to ever complain of a lack of staff or use their lack of staff as an excuse. They could have all the support they could ever want or need and they could have it for free simply by allowing it.
So, what do you think? Would this innovation help the Board fulfill their function? Would it be worth the time, cost and effort? Could this idea be improved? Is there a better way to accomplish the same ends?