First off, I’d like to apologize for the dearth of Eduflack postings these past few weeks. As some of you may know, back in the winter, dear ol’ Eduflack decided to run for school board. With two kiddos that will soon be entering the public schools, I saw it as an opportunity to ensure that my kids (as well as others in the city) have the best public education possible. It was a chance to put my money where my mouth is, to take all of that backbench education policy agitation found on Eduflack and actually put it to use in the local school system. And with local elections yesterday, time has been tight in recent weeks.
When I first started this journey, I pledged to work toward four goals:
* Guarantee families have access to a high-quality, globally competitive public K-12 education
* Equip all students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in both postsecondary education and careers
* Provide all children with high-quality teachers equipped with the education, knowledge, and support necessary to ensure the highest levels of student performance
* Ensure that, in these difficult budget times, our education dollars are being spent on those priorities that are proven effective in boosting student learning and achievement
After spending the past three months on the campaign trail, I am amazed by how little I knew getting in, and how generous stakeholders are with their time and their commitment. I learned so much from teachers and administrators, paraprofessionals and business partners, parents and community leaders. I heard about hopes and worries going door to door, talking to folks across the city. And it wasn’t just about one’s self interests, it was about a community looking to come together to improve their schools and improve their city.
Yesterday, May 4, was election day in my little city. My neighbors elected four members to the City Council and four members to the School Board. Eduflack is honored and humbled that his fellow residents placed their trust in me, and elected me to the School Board. And for this novice politician, I can also feel the enormity of the responsibility on my shoulders, having received the second highest vote total of anyone running for public office in my municipality last evening. (It was also a tremendous learning experience for my four-year-old son, who quickly understood that daddy has “won” but didn’t understand why some of dad’s friends, who he got to know on the campaign trail, did not.)
I officially take office in July. The challenges will be “interesting.” We need to build a new high school. We have a changing student population, where nearly 10 percent of our students are ESOL. And we have an incoming kindergarten cohort that may be larger than anyone intended. All of these present a tremendous opportunity for me to learn, both as an education professional and as a parent/citizen.
I have no intention to blog on these pages about my experiences as a school board member. It isn’t fair to my fellow board members, my superintendent, the teachers in the schools, or anyone else in the school system to see our issues or decisions hashed out on this blog. That also isn’t the intent of Eduflack. But I want all to be mindful of the new lens through which many of the issues I analyze, criticize, and antagonize may be viewed. Come the summer, I am now a local school board member. While I will continue to write about the national education policy debates, I can’t help but realize my new focus will be on how reforms, changes, and policies will now affect those of us at the LEA and the school level. Personally, I think that is just going to improve my worldview. But stay tuned …