The Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools has four primary functions… and they fail to fulfill each of them.
The Board, first and foremost, are the elected representatives of the public, but this Board doesn’t represent the public at all. This Board doesn’t raise the public’s concerns, doesn’t relay the public’s wishes, and doesn’t voice the public perspective. I almost never hear the Board members talk about the public or their constituents saying “People are concerned about..” or “People want…” or “People see it this way…”.
The Board doesn’t voice the public perspective and certainly doesn’t advocate for it. Worse, the Board doesn’t advocate for the public to have a voice for themselves. The Board is no champion of community engagement. The Board regularly approves motions with inadequate community engagement and regularly approves motions with NO community engagement. The Board hasn’t demanded improved engagement from anyone and hasn’t even demanded that the staff provide the community engagement that they promised to do. The Board’s own community engagement is just about the worst of any workgroup in the District. Their primary community engagement practice is testimony at Board meetings and they never respond to the people who come and speak to them there.