So, back to Madison. What is the role of the school board? What should it be? School board members must have a vision, a critical eye and a willingness to question the status quo. While some may call this “adversarial” (the same perspective that scolds an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and wants public servants to shut up and make nice), a willingness to speak truth to power, whether that power be Pearson or an administrator tangled up in data points and educator effectiveness, is at the core of being an effective advocate for our schools. We need a critical and unflinching eye that can take on the corporatist narrative and joy-killing agenda that, often with the best of intentions, has infiltrated too many public schools, including those in Madison. We need to honor the local wisdom already in our schools and community (for instance, providing a pathway from high school through a teacher education program and then back into the Madison schools) and bring in voices even when they may dissent from the administrative status quo.
To borrow from the legendary John Lewis, we need board members willing to make “good trouble”. Our schools depend on that.
Much more on the 2019 Madison School Board election, here.