I just voted. We like to bring our children to vote, so we waited till after preschool. My parents did the same thing.
I love voting. I love being part of a democracy. Usually, even when I think my candidates will lose, I leave the polling place with a little spring in my step. I especially love school board election, in part because I study school board elections. Today was different.
This was the first time I have decided who to vote for while in the booth. It is a strange election. On one hand I could rejoice that I can see good things about more than one candidate, but that’s not what I’m feeling. There has been too much bitterness and nastiness and the lines have been drawn boldly, but strangely. Some have called it the status quo vs. change, but I think even the status quo candidates think that MMSD can do better in a multitude of areas.
What has been called the “transparency” issue has loomed large. I prefer to think of this as being about how much deference should be given to the administration and how active a role should the board take. The3 budget and MTI negotiations are part of this, but it is bigger. This issue also presents problems. If you support expanded roles for the board (as I do), then the question of who fills these roles becomes very important. It isn’t enough to just support those who agree with you about the roles of the board, you have to look closely at what they (and their opponents) would do with that power.
An example of the strange ways the lines have been drawn is the ability grouping issue. Both ability grouping and mixed ability grouping are the status quo in MMSD. Neither has a whole lot to do with the deference issues that seemed so central to the races a few weeks ago, but the lines have been drawn and some of us are uncomfortable with the choices we now face.
Lastly there is the issue of supporters. It is a strange time when self-proclaimed conservatives actively support self-proclaimed progressives. I don’t even know what this means, except that perhaps true conservatives see no chance of electing one of their own (and whatever you think of Mathiak and Cole, they are not movement conservatives).
I also love the secret ballot, so I’m going to leave it at this. I’d love to hear from others who also struggled with these choices.

One thought on “Voting”

  1. Hi TJ:
    Thanks for sharing these words.
    The choices were interesting this year. I think the races were the most contested in years – which is great for public education and democracy.

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