Who should serve on a school board?
I'm starting to shake the dust off of this blog/site and trying out some new posting options. I remember the good old days when I got to learn new tech on the job instead of on my time. I do enjoy it, so I won't complain too much. Way back in the early 90s, when I first started questioning my race up corporate ladders, I realized where this work stuff was heading for most people. 25 years later, the fear that I started to sense has expanded enormously and been internalized and shrugged off as the way that it has to be. People are probably most controllable right on the edge of financial ruin. Let them get a good look at the cliff they're about to drop off and then tell them that their productivity must increase, but their reward will stay flat at best. A fascinating and depressing topic (and call to action) for another day.
Recently, the school board member for our region resigned. I was considering running for the position when it comes up for election in 2017. The unexpected opening forced me to consider this with some immediacy. In a rare flash of personal clarity, I realized that there are about 5,000 other things on my todo list that will bring me much more peace and productivity. When the board announced the applicants for the vacancy, I felt relief that I hadn't pursued it because there were a few people running for whom I would have stepped aside. First among those few is Arnetta Koger, a fantastic person I had the privilege of working with at my first Denver school.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't do my research very well. I had the nagging feeling that I would be barred from running while I was an employee of the district. I thought that I checked on it, but obviously I checked out a tangent and missed the Denver rule that requires an employee to resign before taking the seat. I think that this is a mistake. In both Arnetta's case and mine, we live in the community, teach in the community, and have children in schools in the community. It seems like a reasonable group of non-ideologically based people could recognize our background as a good fit for making decisions about the future of education in our community. It would be easy enough to skip votes that directly affect your employment, just as current board members must do when their employment conflicts with their unpaid board position. I say let the community decide on a case by case basis in each election.
I think that Arnetta is the most qualified person still being considered. We shouldn't have to lose her as an excellent teacher and coach to gain her experience and wisdom on the board.
What do you think? Should all district employees be barred from serving as a volunteer school board member for their community?
When we published a story about people eager to fill a vacancy on the Denver school board, a reader posted the following comment on Facebook about one of the hopefuls: The "actual teacher" here - Arnetta Koger - teaches social studies while coaching other teachers at the Denver School of International Studies.