The Purpose of the School Board

This post started out as a deeper review and research of the recent Urbana School Board Policy 2:82 that got Jim Dey’s and Jim Turpin’s attention. But as I dug, I started asking bigger questions. Questions about the purpose of the school board and political engagement. But let me start from the beginning…

A few days ago, NG Editor Jim Dey wrote an editorial that stung the Urbana School District Board of Education and I started exploring his article in a post. Over lunch today, I took some time to dive into this whole thing with both feet.

First I contacted USD 116; I emailed the Board, Superintended Dr. Preston Williams and Assistant Superintendent Don Owen (and various administrative aides), asking where Policy 2:82 was published on the USD website. I must have missed it the first time looking through the Board Agenda, but the policy is indeed on the Board’s Agenda website:

http://www.usd116.org/files/boardmin1112/Board-Agreement-282-120605.pdf

As I was reading through it, I tried to ignore Dey’s perspective and form my own (which is rather difficult, actually). In reading through it, I can definitely see a sense of control being exerted. Control, in and of itself, is not inherently bad; I say that explicitly because even though it is obvious, we seem to want to escalate any desire for control into the realms of “bad” and “evil”. Certainly it can be used for bad. Is it? Also, I had to remember that these are expectations – when I read this, I did not see any ramifications stated if expectations are not met. Some call that kind of thinking devious, others call it thinking outside the box. (*evil grin*)

I also Read the rest of this entry »

Review of June 29th Latino community forum

We had a great turnout for our first attempt at holding a gathering of parents in Shadow Wood; “great” as measured in opportunities and experience. We were prepared for 50+ people, but didn’t get quite close to that. 🙂 Ileana’s husband played a key role as grill master for which we were extremely thankful on a sweltering hot evening. The AC in the Community Room was taking a while to condition the room, so we ended up just pulling out the chairs and sitting in a lopsided circle in the shade. Which turned out pretty well – still hot and sticky, but not unbearably so.

I thanked folks for coming out and joining us in a conversation about the community. Ileana translated and then proceeded to introduce the non-residents. Other than herself and me, we had with us (going clockwise) City Council Member Will Kyles, Chuck Jackson, U4 Board Member Jamar Brown, NG reporter Meg Dickinson, Reverend Dr. Eugene Barnes of the local Metanoia Center and Lynn Stuckey. The first topic to come up Read the rest of this entry »