via a kind email:
Dear Wisconsin State Journal:
We are social scientists with more than twenty years of experience as local public education activists. We have volunteered in classrooms; been on PTO boards; mentored and tutored disadvantaged students; and served on District-wide committees.
1) We need people on the School Board who are current MMSD parents and who have spent time volunteering in our schools. To those without these basic qualifications we say, “you have skills and expertise to offer, but you lack school-based experience and a proven track record of commitment; so get more involved … and come back again later to ask us for our vote.”
2) We need people on the School Board who know data analysis and statistics. The District has a longstanding practice of presenting data with the overarching intention of making itself look good. Too often this comes at the expense of honestly answering the question of whether or not our students are learning. We need someone on the Board who will not be duped by that tactic
3) We need people on the School Board with multiple areas of expertise and broad-based skills. We have seen it many times: single-issue Board members are easily overwhelmed by the range and complexity of the information and challenges they are asked to deal with and never recover. To those with single-issue passion and experience we say, “target your volunteerism by getting involved in our schools only around your area of expertise.”
4) We need people on the School Board with a fresh perspective. A near-decade of service and influence is enough privilege for any one Board member. After that many years, the person is probably more loyal to the District Administration than is healthy for the system … or the community.
Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques