Saturday, March 23, 2013

How Do I Differ From My Opponent?

Hopefully you have been reading my blog, and like what I have had to say.   But one question that a lot of people have been asking is:  "You sound great, but why does that make you a better choice than your opponent?"   So I thought it would be good to highlight a few specific issues voted by the school board in recent years where I would have made different choices than my opponent did.
  • I would provide real options to the students of Hillsboro who are not well-served by their current school.     The school board staged a vote in February to participate in the state's Open Enrollment law, which allows students to transfer between districts if the receiving school has space.   But it did nothing to stop the private agreements Hillsboro has with all the major neighboring districts to not poach each others' students-- which effectively negates the Open Enrollment policy.
  • I would give individual teachers the freedom to innovate in their classroom, without board-level micromanagement.   You may recall the "balanced grading" and "grading for learning" policies the board tried to impose a few years ago, which after causing chaos in our district's classrooms, led to a parental uprising and were eventually repealed.   While I would allow teachers the chance to try new ideas on a small scale, I would not impose radical educational method changes from the top down.
  • I would consistently ensure education funds end up in our classrooms, rather than in non-education uses.   Recently the board voted to exempt low-income housing from some property taxes, under the rationale that the state school fund had promised to reimburse the losses, so the district "would not lose" money.  But this a transparent accounting shell game:  if the state school fund reimburses the losses, then the money is lost to schools in general for the state.  While this may be a worthy cause, the proper place to fund it is the state legislature.   In these financially tight times, the school board is behaving irresponsibly if it moves education funds to other areas.
These are just a few examples, of course.   From my other blog articles I'm sure you can recognize many other areas where my ideas fundamentally differ from the current board majority.  

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