School Board elections must focus on students, not politics
The upcoming School Board election has become — for some — an opportunity for partisan gain. As a long-term and now mostly retired teacher in District 51, I have deep concerns about this trend.
A movement toward partisan school board elections will only foster a climate of polarization and division. Endorsement and support by political parties may encourage strong alignment with party positions instead of encouraging problem solving and consensus building when deciding important school district issues. Here’s what we should consider in choosing a school board candidate:
• What are the candidate’s vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students?
• Does the candidate inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the public schools?
• Does the candidate understand that the School Board’s role is about the big picture — setting the direction for the district and providing oversight and accountability — rather than day-to-day management?
• Is the candidate “data savvy” and able to justify decisions based on data?
• Will the candidate be able to craft a working relationship with the superintendent, teachers and administrators based on mutual respect, collegiality and a joint commitment to student success? (Dervarics, Chuck, and Eileen O’Brien. “Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards.” Centerforpubliceducation.org)
When considering which candidates to support in Mesa County, all voters have an obligation to elect those who will best serve the needs of our children and our community without concern for party affiliation.
It is also highly important that we honor and support our teachers, the everyday “soldiers” within our classrooms who commit extraordinary time and effort to help ensure success for all of our students.
Voters must look closely at each candidate and ask themselves which candidates will support improving, not dismantling, public education and will continue to build on our successes, while constantly seeking accountability for all involved, within a collaborative and respectful environment.