Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Real Battle of the Board

The next election for school board members isn't until November, but that hasn't kept issues concerning the board out of the news.  We have been fortunate, I believe, to have local news supplemented by the Hoco Blogger community on this topic. However, there is one issue that I don't see anyone covering.  I hereby issue a Village Green/Town Squared Challenge to local news outlets and bloggers to address the following:

Does the Board exist solely to receive information and directives from Central Office/Superintendent and vote yea or nay, 


Does the Board have the right and/or responsibility to ask for/require evidence, metrics, background information to make decisions?  Can they use said information to make their own suggestions in regard to the issues submitted to them?

In my opinion, this is probably the biggest divide on the School Board right now.  Although Mr. Dyer has taken up a good deal of the Board's time, getting rid of him does not solve this particular problem.  And it isn't necessarily a "Throw out the old!" problem, either. There is a serious philosophical divide on what the role of the Board is meant to be. I believe each side is completely sincere in its point of view.

I'd like to see the community get involved in this discussion.  In addition, I'd like to see someone in the traditional media do some serious investigative journalism on how something called the Integrated Approach (IA Reading, IA Math) came to be, and how it turned from an idea into a mandated program in Howard County. I believe that such an investigation would tell us a good deal about interaction between Central Office and the Board--what it has been in the past, and what that has meant for our students.

So, please--journalists and bloggers--take the challenge and get this discussion out in front of the public.  The Village Green/Town Squared motto, "Learn More, Think More", has never been more appropriate. The more we learn, the more we think, the better our decisions will be in November.



  1. Great post, and I like the challenge! You are right that the media and bloggers focus on the personalities, the infighting between Board members, the silly, childish antics of some Board members, and the other superficial fluff.

    The problem is that it is much harder to do the deep investigative journalism. To be honest, it is also much less interesting for most people to read. It does do much more to improve our community, though, and I hope journalists rise to your challenge.

    1. Thanks, Trevor--it is good to hear your voice on this. I think that HCPSS has long maintained a closed, rather monolithic culture, making investigative journalism quite difficult.As the world changes, and stakeholders look for openness as a prelude to ownership and involvement, I think that the "old school" culture will have to change.

  2. I'm not even sure I know what the Integrated approach is...

    1. Integrated Approach is basically a skill and drill program that was implemented across most middle and elementary school in hcpss several years ago after one year of use, one year of data at one hcpss middle school.


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