Thursday, January 16, 2020

Shouted Down

I first met Board of Education member Sabina Taj when she was running for office. Her background in arts education was something I thought the Board would benefit from, and her commitment to equity gave me a lot to think about. She was setting a high bar for herself as she contemplated public service.

Yesterday Ms. Taj announced that she will not run for re-election to the Board. In her statement she referenced the negativity of local discourse and it seems likely that personal attacks and vitriol played a role her her decision. This is a loss for the community, whether one has been pleased with her tenure on the board or not.

The current local climate, especially when it comes to education, has become so toxic that very few want to risk subjecting themselves to its poison. When members of the Board of Education are hounded, smeared, shouted down, even threatened - - how can our true focus be the well-being of our children? Who on earth would do that for a job that pays almost nothing and expands far beyond the time allotted?

What we need are highly qualified candidates who are, at their core, really good people. The current environment isn’t bringing them forward. It’s weeding them out. If you think our BOE has problems now, just wait until we have a board of people whose major qualification is that the meanest and angriest members of the community didn’t yell at them.

We wouldn’t want this kind of environment for our children. Why allow it for the adults who will make decisions on their behalf?

From the looks of it, some community members on social media are keeping up their attacks even now. I’d like to remind them that it costs nothing to be gracious and to thank Ms, Taj for her service and to wish her well in her future endeavors.

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