Monday, February 15, 2016

What Unites Us

The time of my usual blog posting has come and gone. My family slept in, the snow is falling, my mind is filled with a swirl of thoughts about the upcoming Board of Education race. I see an explosion of talk on social media about candidates and issues. That's good. I see any number of local bloggers and activists speaking out and getting involved. That's good. But something is nagging at me.

One of the only positive things to come out of a truly disappointing state of affairs in the Howard County Schools is the truly bipartisan response from community members who see the truth and simply want to make things better. The work done by the Howard County Delegation is an example of that. I read this comment after an article in the Howard County Times:

The Howard County School Board has done what was previously unimaginable - unite Democrats and Republicans.

And it is not merely a uniting of Democrats and Republicans. It is also East and West, parents of African Amercian students, parents supporting music and the arts, parents of special education students, as well as teachers and staff. There's probably more that I am forgetting. What unites us? The realization that we, as citizens, voters, stakeholders, have been locked out of our local school system and our children are much the worse for it.

As it is President's Day it seems only fitting that I should have this thought on my mind:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. -- Abraham Lincoln

Right now people are still feeling the stinging slap of disenfranchisement that the Board of Education administered to the community on February 4th. The word is getting out that this is a race to follow. That's exciting. Believe me, anything that amplifies a feeling of ownership to Howard County Citizens about this election will be a vast improvement over earlier years.

In all the excitement I see a variety of surveys, interviews, and word of potential endorsements. I've seen preliminary reporting on who has what money to spend and a suggestion to look and see exactly where that money came from. I also see sincere requests from people who haven't really been following this up until now and they need some good, solid advice, or a push in the right direction to do some research for themselves.

There are some excellent candidates running. I thank all of them for putting themselves out there. But I'm not ready to jump into the fray and announce endorsements. I'm waiting to hear the results from the HCEA interviews. They have been doing this for a while now, they know what they are doing, and they are good at it. It's a big piece of the puzzle for me.

Keep in mind that the best thing you can do right now is tell your friends, neighbors, church members, club members, and acquaintances at the bus stop that there's an important election coming up, and that their votes are really important. Tell five people, and ask them to tell five more.

We won't win this election unless we make it about our schools, our students, our teachers and staff. It can't be about ego or influence. It can't be about fighting amongst ourselves. We must be a house united.

Our goal: a better board of education. In my opinion, that means that none of three incumbents (whose lack of responsiveness and accountability has become legendary) should be re-elected. Though we may not all miraculously agree on the three candidates to replace them, we can continue to support positive and inclusive goals that will lead to a victory that all can share.



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