Following up on my analysis/thoughts on the Peters/Dale Estey race in District IV, I had promised a thread on this issue of so-called School Board "dysfunction."
As I have pointed out, in the Board evaluation, not a SINGLE member of the Board called the Board dysfunctional. One Board member said if they didn't trust each other more, they would become "the poster child for a dysfunctional Board." That's far from saying that they are. (One senior staff member did call them dysfunctional.)
Now if you read the whole evaluation, you can see there are issues. No denying that. BUT, what the Times and Dale Estey and all these people leave out are all the pages of comments - by both the Board and senior management - about the good things said about the Board as people and as Board members.
Also, as previous reported, the Board voted in unison or 6-1 about 98% of the time. That's not a dysfunctional Board.
This lack of balance in the election narrative is troubling but, of course in politics, that seems to be the way. Telling a complete story? Omitting details that would provide context? Not so useful if you want to win. And Dale Estey wants to win.
As I said in a previous thread, I found in Board minutes from July
1986, the resignation remarks of Director Linda Harris. It might be
good to consider them in terms of this belief that the current Board is
I believe Board members should be
paid. This is a corporation of almost $190M run by seven volunteers
with varying degrees of available time. Toronto, Los Angeles,
Minneapolis and NYC pay their Board members between $8k-30k a year.
find the time commitment needed to be a responsible Board member is
more than my schedule can absorb. I asked 15-20 qualified people I know
to nominate themselves for my position. To a person, they have said
that they just do not have the time and cannot make the financial
sacrifice to be Board members.
leave, I want to say publicly that this is a good Board. We aren't the
feuding, fighting, backbiting group I often see depicted in the press.
This is a caring, committed group of citizens who care deeply about the
education of our children and I am going to miss them all.
who says that serving on a school board is all smooth sailing has
probably been part of a group of rubber-stampers who act completely in
lockstep and never have any deep discussions or apparently listen to those
Thinking people know that people of good faith do
have disagreements but that each person on the Board was elected by
voters in their own right.
Thinking people know that it
is good to have a variety of backgrounds and voices on the Board to
represent the diversity of our city.
Thinking people know that for any group, compromise and consensus is the order of the day, not group-think.
As I mentioned, uber ed-reformer Lisa Macfarlane sent out an e-mail to people she knows about this race. She says that Blanford and Dale Estey are "exactly the kind of people" who should serve on the School Board. "They are smart and rational."
I would assume that she believes there are people on the Board who aren't rational. Question is, are they leaving the Board or will they still be there? And then she goes for the Alliance party line:
They understand the difference between governance and management, and they are not coming in with personal micro-managing agendas.
I can say that I don't think ANY of the candidates has an agenda but I think they do have concerns. I would expect no less of any candidate. I personally don't vote for someone who has no real vision or stands on issues. Just being "qualified" would not cut it for me.
Then she says this:
If needed, I am happy to have off line conversations about Sue Peters (Suzanne Dale Estey's opponent) who authored this conspiracy theory document and LaCrese Green (Stephan Blanford's opponent) and why I think they will take us in the wrong direction.
This "conspiracy theory document" was a flowchart that Peters created for her blog that shows all the many, many connections among ed reformers and their funders.
Apparently Macfarlane only reads from inside her ed reform silo because there are many, many blogs and ed websites who talk about all the connections. Bloggers from Alaska to Ohio to New York have connected the dots. Media like the New York Times and Education Week also come to mind. Diane Ravitch certainly has discussed this. Even the National Black Education Agenda has this at their website: Connecting the Dots: from the Mis-Education of Blackfolk to the Privatization of Public Education.
So if Peters is a conspiracy theorist, she has a lot of varied company across this nation.
But basically, it's about a divide between what those with money and power believe should happen and others who see things very differently. Generally, that's called a democracy to have differing opinions and express them but apparently in some circles, that's a conspiracy theory.
(I note that the defendants in the 1240 lawsuit tried to get the lawsuit thrown out saying charters are proven to work and the judge had to remind them that the case was about the constitutionality of this law, not the efficacy of charters. You want to talk about an agenda? That's about as clear as it gets.)