Oly School Board member Rich Nafziger makes a great point about how perception and reality are different, and can cause real harm to the rest of us (I’m about two months late on this post, by the way):
Between a horribly managed school board meeting where the Seattle School Board President allowed activists to hurl racist ephitats as the Superintendent and a gutless decision to back down on a well thought out strategy to down size schools to meet enrollments declines, came a major blow to efforts to increase public funding for education in Washington State.
The next day, the board’s incompetence led to the resignation of Seattle’s highly regarded superintendent, Raj Manhas. The board made no effort to encourage him to stay.
Seattle School may only make up 5% of the state’s 1,000,000 school children, but it’s influence on public perception goes way beyond its numbers. Every board meeting gets covered by Seattle TV, Radio and newspapers which reach nearly every television set, radio and porch step in the entire state. While news of local school board meetings in Belleveue, Lake Washington or Federal Way may carry by word of mouth or from student to parent, Seattle Schools get the big and regular coverage on the dinner time TV. And we are all paying the price.
It is true, whatever happens in Seattle is covered with more intensity than any other place. Had the Mardi Gras fiasco of a few years ago happened in Yakima or Bremerton, it would have been forgotten in a few weeks. But, with live tape from downtown Seattle, it kept us going for the better part of a year.
Most school boards operate professionally, without fuss and take the education of students seriously. But, since they don’t meet within blocks of Fischer Plaza, they don’t merit the same attention. Granted, Seattle is one of the largest school districts, but not larger than all the districts in Pierce County I’d bet.
Anyway, its still great to have a local elected official blogging.