Goals for Achieving an Improved School District

I ran for the School Board, and voted No, No, No on the referenda because of my profound disagreement with how the School Board conducts itself and their lack of leadership and direction, and my strong sense of a deteriorating school system, not all to be blamed on draconian measures by Federal and State politicians.
Marshalling the ideas of other contributors to this site, ideas from the National School Board Association, other sources and my own ideas and goals, I have drafted a rough set of goals that I think the School Board and Madison citizens in general should address. It is meant as a possible starting point for discussions.
The document’s basic purpose is to ensure a high level of student achievement through public accountability, honest and open assessment, transparent setting of priorities, and alignment of the budget with the priorities. It makes an initial attempt to distribute the goals across the BOE’s committees, so they are working toward the same goals.
It is my strong sense that the Board views these committees as somehow dealing with issues that are orthogonal to each other; for example, there were arguments that the Long Range Planning committee must not concern themselves with the decisions of the Finance and Operations committee (which actually wasn’t doing anything, anyway).
I certainly do not believe the current majority on the School Board is willing to make or is capable of making the necessary changes to how it conducts its business to set appropriate priorities and ensure their execution. Certainly comments made by supporters of the referenda after they were voted down indicated that they don’t get it.
In any case, I would like comments and suggestions, agreement, disagreement on this document. Better ideas are welcome.

2 thoughts on “Goals for Achieving an Improved School District”

  1. Bravo, Larry!
    How do you think these goals best be presented to win the support of and action from the board and committees?
    I’d think that the board will only respond to vigorous lobbying by many many people. How can the lobbying be be organized and effective?

  2. Ed,
    At the start, I believe these goals can simply be presented to individual board members that we have agreed to “shadow”. If Shwaw responds to my email/vmail to meet to discuss Performance and Evaluation plans, I plan discuss the document with him.
    I don’t have any faith that the Board will look at these issues. They have been quite vocal in emphasizing that they and the administration are doing everything almost perfectly. I believe the Board could be presented with these ideas (after more refinement). No harm in that. Then the MMSD Board and administration should be shadowed but basically ignored while Madison citizens do what needs to get done, with the exception helping individual board members as we can. The Board as a whole will continue doing what they want regardless of citizens’ concerns and ideas — the past is a great predictor of the future.
    When I sent the initial draft of the draft around via email, I got responses for some folks to sit on some of the citizen versions of the committees. That is what I envisioned happening.
    I’m not a politician, as the election showed. I see “vigorous lobbying” by “many, many people” as being a waste of time — time better spent to getting the job done ourselves.

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