Board Member Posts Controversy

Monday night, February 8th, I hope all ETA will watch the open session of the Board of Education meeting. While I often refer to the importance of following all the conversations and information of the Board, this session is likely to show just how disruptive the personal politics of a few is derailing the work.

I have no doubts that many will speak in open session to the most recent Facebook posting by Board member Ward. In essence, she seems to support an opinion that there are no civil rights issues and that African Americans no longer encounter racial discrimination and labeled the post in honor of Black History month. The most generous interpretation of such a posting is that she simply is uninformed and disconnected from facts widely known, but since her posting followed a discussion of Black History month at the February 1 meeting, I must wonder if this is again, putting politics ahead of the best interest of our public schools. This seemed to be intentionally inflammatory and insulting to our larger school community. I have no doubt that community will communicate with her and will speak more eloquently than I can to her post, and I believe we all will benefit from those comments.

Choosing to serve the public is challenging and often thankless. Every public service employee knows that. So when we encounter new Board members, we do all we can to support their learning and seek ways to work together. However, the ongoing inflammatory statements that are read in open session and then are followed by bias commentary on social media, makes this very difficult. This goes beyond differing views. There seems to be intentional political posturing to cause controversy.

Why, after the community has made it clear their desire for full day kindergarten and that moves forward, do we still have objection and debate? Why is there blanket support of the generic “school choice” rhetoric? There seems to be endless questioning of each legitimate expense, so why blanket support for private entities to be given public dollars with few oversight? Is the real interest in representing the will of the school community and our public schools? Or is the real intent to disrupt and dismantle all we have done to make this District a place where all children are welcomed to a modern learning environment? And of course the ongoing slurs about unions can only be taken as attempts to keep our professional voice silent.

Debate and discourse must be accompanied by those who are willing to pursue truth and share in respectful and responsible ways. As ETA members, as voters, as parents, as tax payers, we must be engaged and aware of those that have been elected to serve and demand they make every effort to maintain respect for the people and system that serves our community.

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