Thursday, February 19, 2009

School board president aspires to be oblivious.

At the last BM, Ann McMurray uttered a few words that will not soon be forgotten. It was in response to an attempt from a member of district staff to explain just a little about a project funded by taxpayers.

"Just to be oblivious would probably be best."

These eight, simple words capture the essence of what plagues our school district. On the one hand, the comment makes light of the need to be informed when spending public money. On the other, it appears to suggest that those of us in the audience would be amused by such a statement. Since I was the only one in the audience, and therefore 100% of the audience, I can assure that 100% of the audience was not amused.

Of course, there is the possibility that Ann thought the comment would be funny to her fellow board members. While likely, it just strengthens the argument that this school board is out of touch with their financial responsibilities. The fact that no one attends these board meetings, aside from collecting the meaningless certificates - doled out like raises to district administrators - just reinforces the fact that this board is unengaging, uninspiring and undeniably stupid.

Perhaps my perspective is skewed but was there ever a time when board meetings were well attended on a regular basis? What does that say about the subject matter? Sure, it might be a little dry at times, but the unsophisticated approach to public education that appears to have infected our region gives great cause for alarm. People in our community don't care about making our schools better and they have elected five idiots that feel the same way. Our community is unengaged and unsophisticated and they have elected like-minded representatives. The Board will never change until people in our community change.

An extension of this problem is the tendency of upper management at the District to go out of their way to hire morons that, for the last several years, have been driving in circles in their intellectual cul-de-sacs. The Board doesn't care about making our schools better and they have no understanding of what that process might entail. Without forming expectations of district management, mediocre staff will continually be collected for no other purpose than to keep an assortment of $700 Mirra chairs warm.


Anonymous said...

Why attend board meeting after board meeting when all you hear is Marla Miller doing all the talking? The board eats it up as the gospel. She never lets anyone else talk of course she allows employees to sit at the table with her but they can't talk. It tells me who is running the district. When you have one person with their hand in so many cookie jars it makes me wonder how many cookies she is stealing. No one person in any organization should be involved in every aspect of the origanization. Nick B runs to her for everything so guess she is making ALL the decisions.
What a web we weave when we practice to deceive. Every web gets broken apart at some time and her time will come.

Anonymous said...

The School Board president would hardly be oblivious if she followed teachers around for a week. In fact, she would get more exposure to what really matters.
Up at 5 am to be at school by 7 am for a 9 am start time. Notice two hours already put in before the door opens for my students. Then not arriving home until 6 pm. Granted, that's because I choose to lead an after school club. But it's for the kids, right? School Board members take note: We want leadership. We want stoic, civic-minded, and confident leaders who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and work among the personnel of this district. "Oblivious" could be our vocab word of the day tomorrow.
The question is--which sentence should I use as context for teaching it? Get a clue, madam president.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they'd get more audience members if they had a drawing for a free prize at each board meeting--like maybe for a free cheese sandwich--or a free school lunch--like their typical taco and french fries lunch. Yummy!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I've seen that chair in HR in one or more cubicles. I think that chair cost almost $600.00.
I think I'm tired of sitting.

Anonymous said...

The chairs have come down in price over the last three years, but when you add delivery and "installation" per chair, it quickly gets to a price that would make even Marla blush.

Anonymous said...

These board members must be inadequate parents. Imagine how their children will end up if they govern in oblivion at home.

And we wonder why our society is in a state of rampant decay.

Anonymous said...

The community feels out of touch with the board because the board is out of touch with the community. Many families don't feel represented at their child's school, let alone a board meeting. If you don't feel you are listened to, or that you have a voice at all, why come to a board meeting? Those at the top have not built relationships with the community, and do not represent the community - except for a few PTA stars who reflect the wealthy, white, nuclear family types that the district is comfortable dealing with. In order to really represent the community, change would be required. Is it any wonder people don't show up to the meetings?

Anonymous said...

The board, please these people have no clue. Just look at them, just one look in their eyes and you can see.

Anonymous said...

A more appropriate question for all may be, "How are the Board members profiting for their actions?"

Supporting the administration as they do, there must be some compensation other than a small salary and the knowledge that they are doing some form of public service.

Collusion does not come without a price, and I doubt that Brossoit’s personality would long satiate anyone.

What is needed is a strong focus on replacing the two Board members whose positions will be coming to election. Please work hard to inform voters throughout the community – a seed planted repeatedly usually grows.

Anonymous said...

Fire hazards, at the upper management levels. I know from the top of Brian "playin hearts" Hardings bald head to Gorge "bad boy" Marshalls bad boy Tattoos, dude put your sleeve down, you look like the guy they kicked off the village people.
The problem is with propane in the emergency sheds. The upper levels know this is not a good thing. So, why do they do it? because we have no leadership at the school district at all. They don't even write down their sick leave.

Anonymous said...

Sorry we haven't commented in a while. Do not interpret it as a lack of interest; we are currently a house in mourning.

In the classroom, our job is to create engaging lessons to pique the interest and curiousity of the students. It is from their own curiosity that they will learn new ideas and concepts. If they are listened to, if we listen to them, they will respond with a tremendous amount of energy. If they don't feel that we care about them, they will not respond.

This school board and administration are doing just the opposite of what a good teacher does; they are not engaging the community; they are not challenging us as a community to be our best. Admittedly, board business is not the most exciting stuff (we've been around it for 40 years), but if you don't show up, the board and administration will think that you have given up; that you don't care. That may be discouraging to them, too. Or if you are conspiracy theorist, it might be part of a plan. Whatever. They have managed to put you all asleep so that only one person now witnesses their actions.

What is on TV on board meeting nights that is more important than our children's education? Honestly, I don't mean to sound hyper-critical, but we are modelling behaviors for our kids; they will become us in 20 or 30 years. If we don't show them that we care, they will not respond as if they care in the classroom and in their future lives. Where will "community" be then?

My mother, God rest her soul, was one of the caring community-oriented people who build the Shoreline Library and was elected president of the King County PTA at one point. Her sense of community and what each individual should do, must do, for the benefit and welfare of the whole has shaped my life in major ways. Depression era thinking.

I was blessed to be able to teach middle school for 5 years (Chris for 17, though it should have been longer for both of us), I was a member of the Shoreline Arts Council for 10 years; I am currently a member of the Richland Arts Commission; I serve as the vice-moderator for our church; I will begin directing a play for the local community theatre organization in a couple of weeks; this weekend and again in two weeks I will be volunteering to judge regional exhibits for National History Day; I will also judge at the state level in late April. I was taught to give back. That's what teaching was and is for us; that's what service on a school board should be; that's what attending school board meetings should be. Giving back for the betterment of the community.

If we loose our interest in community, we are putting our children at a great disadvantage. We are putting our communities at a great disadvantage. If we get discouraged because nothing changes, then maybe we haven't tried hard enough or we haven't tried the right tactics. We teach our kids to try a different way if they don't get it the first time; don't just give up.

We would offer the same advice to those who are dissatisfied with the current situation. Try again; try something different. Work hard for the community that we will pass on to our children.

Apologies if that sounded preachy, but nothing will change if you don't change anything.