I just finished up my meds for bronchitis and influenza, and this morning I have a sore throat that feels like strep. This can only mean one thing: I'm working with kids again. Working with children, especially young ones, is definitely a challenge to the immune system. Clearly mine has gone a bit soft after some time out of the classroom.
Perhaps I'm just a bit addled by illness, but I'm thinking this morning about how our Board of Education has operated in the past as though sealed off from public thought like the boy in the plastic bubble. I'm not quite sure how it got to be that way. But somehow, over time, some members of the board got the impression that they could make decisions that deeply affect the community without truly engaging with the community itself.
What happens when a governing body does not feel the stress of reducing support staff in kindergarten classrooms? What happens when they do not feel the betrayal of special education parents whose only goal is appropriate services for their child? What happens when they are content to accept charts and graphs and prepackaged reports instead of interacting with real human beings?
We know what happens. It is happening right now. We see the evidence in a contract renewal ceremony in which the public was essentially locked out.
In recent years the Board has transformed into a lofty, protected entity, set apart from the community it was meant to serve. Interacting with real human beings is messy and time-consuming, and there's a real danger that you may become infected with independent thought. Once that happens, there's no telling what will come next.
Wilde Lake alum Danny Mackey brought some of that to Thursday's BOE meeting. As soon as I have a decent video link for that I will share it. I hope his forthrightness will encourage others. If the Board has ceased to represent the community, then the community has the right to represent itself.
Coming face to face with the constituents they were elected to serve just might provide a jolt to their carefully cultivated immune system.