We said we were going to be busy for a bit, but we did want to quickly comment on something.
We follow the local news pretty closely – obviously – and we notice in comment sections things turn pretty negative pretty quickly, even on topics such as school lunch. And that basically holds true for any discussion of issues around the school district. The problem we see is the conversation constantly devolves into arguments over details and process.
We’ve seen the negativity show up at Board of Education meetings as well (when we’ve made it or watched them) often in the form of angry and inaccurate tirades. Most recently, Maia Davis spent all of her time ranting about our blog and – falsely – claiming we’re using district resources. We aren’t, and we have nothing to do with the district besides being interested in our local schools.
Despite the usual attacks though, we were actually pretty impressed that in its last meeting the Board stayed focused on laying out and carrying through a strategic plan for the district and other issues relevant to student achievement. We thought the discussions and presentations were pretty helpful and the overall future-focused tone was, we think, a good model for these meetings.
The community needs to stay apprised of current events and what (and why) the district has planned. We don’t expect everything to work great every time, but success going forward will be much easier when Board meetings stay focused on students, communicate how the community can stay involved, and highlight the resources that are available to parents.
We think a good cross-section of those things were touched on at this meeting. Technology, communication, transportation, discipline, and academic goals all had a spot on the agenda.
Honest disagreements are inevitable in these discussions – shaping the future of the district obviously isn’t easy and has to involve a diversity of opinions. We think debate is a good thing. Those differences become much more useful in setting policy when they have the context of the larger strategic direction, though. It’s the benefits of school breakfast we should talk about, not conspiracies about the supposed politics around it.
On a lighter note, we noticed one of the new resources available at MHS will be a charging station for devices. A thrill for teachers, we imagine, in their Sisyphean efforts to stop kids from playing on their phones during class.