You can actually hear the entire event at the link above.
In Downey’s blog, she quoted Panelist Gerard Robinson, a former Georgia Charter Schools Commission member and now Virginia secretary of education, saying that it’s politics that typically undermines school improvement.
“The school reform problem isn’t a knowledge problem.” he said. “This isn’t an academic gap problem. This is a political crap problem. And until you deal with the political crap problem, which is identifying the right person for the right time, you won’t solve the achievement gap problem.”
It is difficult to be an elected school board member. Once elected, your charge is to represent the entire system, not just your district. Unlike a state or Congressional representative, “bringing home the bacon” for the schools in your district is NOT an appropriate goal for a school board member to have. The best interest of all students is to be tantamount in every decision that is made by a school board.
We all know that this doesn’t happen. In DeKalb, many of our school board members seem to finish one election cycle, take a quick breathe and then begin campaigning again. It is a shame that the goal of reelection seems to be the most tantamount. Because of this behavior, our school board has left themselves no choice but to oppose the various pieces of legislation introduced this session to change the size of the board.
Just a few short weeks ago, Dr. Mark Elgart advised the members of the DeKalb County School Board to stop playing politics stop running for office continually and oversee the business of the school system. Within days of that advice, our school board members apparently met, though without the public notice or openness required by the GA Open Meetings Act, and decided to advocate to protect their own positions regardless of whether it is in the best interest of the students of DeKalb County or not.