Communication is Key

Looks like there is a big brouhaha about a homeschooling parent being appointed to the Nashville school board to fill an empty spot.  One more homeschooling school board member…why the fuss opposing a home educator overseeing tax money for education as opposed to ….sanitation, I don’t understand. 

"I am concerned with someone’s experience not being in public schools and what she brings to the table," school board member Marsha Warden said. "She doesn’t have the experience, she doesn’t have the knowledge base."

Now there’s a friendly voice from a colleague. (Wondering if she knows anything about Kay Brooks except that she is a [insert dirty word-homeschooler].)  Marsha Warden should pick up the phone and give Kay Brooks a call and communicate.  Why are people so threatened by homeschoolers anyway?  We just mind our own business, sometimes even committing a community service or two like serving on the school board.

When Pat came on the school board, there were a couple of school board members (one who had just been voted out and the other who was a social worker in a different school district) who were outraged that he and the other incumbent school board member were messing up their world.  Their professed "win-win" status with the union for over a decade  was threatened.  (Plus Pat was a [insert dirty word-homeschooler]).  The silly tantrums at the school board meeting were quite a sight (for the very few people who bother to show up at school board meetings.)  But the school board members did see and Pat was voted in as school board president soon after;  where he served until he came off the board 4 years later. 

There was a whole lot of communication that was involved in that 4 year effort.  A good deal of it was particularly unpleasant.  Because of the "win-win" strategy, the parents lost a lot of the oversight they should have had over their kids’ education.  They were ignored.  Problems with the children’s well being in the schools were glossed over.  Huge amounts of money were spent and the good part of it wasn’t on the kids. There were a lot of phone calls here at home during that time that were received, returned and followed up on from parents who had little voice in the school district. 

I see that Kay also has a website up for an August election try for the school board. 

This site is about communication. Director Pedro Garcia, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Save our Students, parents groups, taxpayers organization and neighbors have all commented on the desperate need for better communication regarding our public schools. It’s my intention that over the next two months leading up to the August 4th General Election parents and taxpayers in the 5th District will get a better understanding of just what the condition of our schools is and then we can work toward improving those schools. The lack of information has created a lot of frustration. We can’t even begin to set things right if we don’t know where we are. Parents cannot begin to ensure that their children are getting the appropriate help and services if they don’t know what’s available. Community members who support public education are frustrated by the repeated requests for more money and are legitimately wondering what they’re paying for. All these people should be able to easily access the information they need however that’s not happening.

Looks like she’s on the right track in getting information out about the school district and their successes/failures. 

This became an easy target that could have been prevented in communications. 

"She didn’t deem it necessary or desirable to show up," said Steve Walls, a salesman from east Nashville who contacted Jameson on Wednesday after hearing of the vote.

Brooks said she felt people at the meeting would be hostile to her. Questions that candidates received before the forum gave her that impression, she said, and various advisers, whom she declined to name, urged her to skip the event.

"All I can do is start walking a walk that shows people I’m serious about doing a good job," she said.

Maybe she’ll rethink the "wise counsel" who told her to not show up at a forum of constituents.  And as a public official, sometimes those opportunities are verrrry uncomfortable, no doubt.  Any opportunity to prove her competence to the public is a good opportunity.

I’ll never forget (and many other local taxpayers haven’t either) the sea of black shirted teachers (and a few students) at a school board meeting.  (The union ploy was to have the staff show up ‘in mourning’.)  The crazy part was that the Big Issue that night was to approve a resolution to have a balanced budget!   This was after the community put forth the effort to pay teacher stipends for extra-curricular via fundraising since the taxpayers had decided that they wouldn’t support a tax increase at the time.  [Scroll down to School Funding Goes Down, Volunteers Step Up] 

So, Kay Brooks is in for a rocking and rolling (and very complicated) school board tenure, I have no doubt.   Our school district is a combination of 3 little farm towns.   Not even close to the size of her school district.  But everyone here knows your business and visa versa. Sort of like the homeschooling community in a lot of ways.

This question below kinda cracks me up.  What are they gonna do? Make a law that taxpayers can’t be on the school board.  [Knock on wood]

Should a parent who home schools her own children be on the Metro school board

Metro has 614 home-school students registered, but Brooks said she would not push a home-school agenda.

"I care about my friends’ children," Brooks said. "I don’t want them to get a bad education, and I don’t want to pay (as a taxpayer) for a bad education."

I wish her well with her new adventure.  She stated there is no homeschooling agenda.  Just concern for her community.   Hope the homeschooling ‘thing’ fades away like it did for Pat (to his face anyway) and she can do some good for the kids in that school district.   It’s definitely a different and particularly inefficient world.

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