The Times' editorial board is nothing if not amusing. Their current editorial on the School Board races puts forth the results without much analysis (because, of course, if they said, out loud, that the incumbents all appear to be in trouble that would hurt their cause). Here's how they framed the results:
Frustration about Seattle School Board leadership weighed heavily on the minds of primary voters who, in all but one board race, were more generous with their votes for challengers than incumbents.
Yes, generous is one way to put it. Another would be that all the incumbents appear to be in trouble.
They can only say about the challengers that they raise valid concerns about the district and the current Board. Almost like, "thanks for pointing that out, now move along."
They claim that virtually none of the challengers had focus and all are inexperienced. At what? Being Board members? Everyone is who hasn't been on the Board or held elected office. Again, they say:
Attributes to look for include a balance of experience, skills and sound judgment. Candidates ought to be able to demonstrate how they would be consensus builders and a bridge between communities and the district.
What is the experience the Times is looking for? Having served on a company board? Having been part of any kind of community group? What does leadership look like to them?
I absolutely agree about being able to find consensus. As a Board member you are part of a team and woe to the Board member who forgets that.
But going along to get along and rubber-stamping are at the far end of consensus and how our current Board has been operating. Nix on that.
And a bridge to communities? How has the current Board built bridges to communities? If your community is just the Alliance and Stand and LEV, well, then I guess so. The overwhelming majority of parents in this district have nothing to do with those groups.
They also say:
Guard against candidate bromides detailing the many things they are against. Ask them what they are for in terms of an academic vision. Reject canned pronouncements — for example, all neighborhoods deserve good schools — and ask for specific plans to get there. Demand familiarity from candidates about the district's billion-dollar operations.
Let's look at those statements, one by one. First, most, if not all, candidates for political office talk about what the opponent has done wrong. One thing I can say that I found the one thing that nearly every challenger I talked to had in common WAS their ability to articulate what each thought could be done to make the district better. Maybe the Times just didn't ask the right questions.
Canned pronouncements? You are far more likely to get the "all neighborhoods deserve good schools" line from an incumbent than a challenger.
And as for "demanding familiarity" about the operations, c'mon. The Times doesn't even have that expertise. I'd take all of them on with one good eye and win any quiz show on "Know a District."
I'm not saying people who run for School Board don't need a grasp of how our district works but it's hard to know it from the outside. Every single person who comes on the Board, no matter their background, has a learning curve. Ask any incumbent.
As I saw from last night's Board meeting, it's really only going to take one or two new Board members to flip this Board. We can go from a rubberstamping Board to one that governs with oversight, accountability and transparency and is not going to take misinformation or half-information from staff and then vote yes.
So now we fight.