They say there is a thin line between love and hate. What about the thin line between school and politics? It’s election season, and there are those major political races for Governor, Senators, and Congress. Those appointments could impact communities for years to come. Then, there are local races such as the school board races. Sometimes those school board races can have just as much of an impact as the other races. School board races sometimes walk that tight line too. School boards are the decision makers of school. Their primary focus of school board members should be to be the voice of the children, but school boards now have changed.
School board races can be, and many are, some of the most vicious and corrupt races. The school board races have become less about the children and the school. They are money grabs from large entities who want to place individuals on the board who will push their agenda. The agendas are not even about children and school. This is evident by the attack’s that candidates hurl towards one another.
As election day approaches and school board candidates are running in hopes of claiming one of those prominent seats in hopes of being a decision maker, I wonder where do their hearts lie? Is it about the children? Do they care about the schools? These are two simple and honest questions that can reveal a lot about a candidate. The answer isn’t as simple. The answer is more about their actions and not their words.
I am watching the school board races a lot closer this year because in one particular race in my city a lot is riding on the outcomes, and there are a lot of vested individuals. The school board race outcome could either allow for the continued progress we are making at my school and network or reshape the very make up of everything.
I am not saying that politics and school do not mix. I am saying that sometimes the line is crossed. Sometimes the school bureaucracy goes over the line. Politics will have you believe there is a formula for successful teaching and strong school culture, but in reality, it is about allowing the school leaders and the principals the freedom to use their instincts and make the judgment calls. Politics often is about the leadership where a school is about the expertise.
Politics and school work if the politics allow for the people in the school to do what they know how to do.