A Board of Favors

I was just listening to talk radio and heard an interview with actress and constitutional activist Janine Turner. Of course I tuned in more because she was an actress on one of my favorite shows, Friday Night Lights. However the content of the interview intrigued me more and even got me to thinking about our own system.

What Janine and her colleagues do is travel the nation encouraging our school systems to teach more about the constitution. Funny that you have to lobby principals and teachers to implement such programs. Believe it or not the response is mixed. Some schools don’t want our kids to learn about a document at the very foundation of our country.

While I’m listening to this, I’m thinking about Baltimore County and who makes the decisions about curriculum in our classrooms. Now I’m not an expert on the topic, but I would imagine it at least originates with our Board of Education, our unelected, appointed by the county executive, Board of Education. Do you see a problem yet?

Allow me to tell you a story I was told at the Arts & Crafts Festival just before the primaries. A man approached the Whisler booth and began to fill us in on board politics. First of all, the Board of Education should not be mixed with politics, period. But in this county apparently, positions on the board are used like bartering tools. One County Council primary contender was allegedly offered a board position if he/she withdrew from the race. And the man standing before me was ousted for simply disagreeing with our County Executive, Jim Smith.

Is this the kind of shenanigans we want going on with the people that decide our kid’s educational future? Why is it that the Baltimore County doesn’t elect their Board of Ed? We seem to be one of the few, state and nationwide, that don’t.

Here’s an argument on the pro side of electing them. It’s clear that the people on the board either don’t have kids or are so far removed from the situation, they can no longer think like a parent. Someone please explain to me the thought process behind schools letting out the day before Christmas Eve or scheduling 3 days off within the first two weeks of school, or having them out for teacher conferences the Monday before Thanksgiving. Can I get some shouts out here? Am I the only parent in the world who thinks this is absurd. At least if these representatives were elected, we’d have a say as to who exactly makes these decisions instead of allowing a super elite bunch of the County Executive’s friends to do it for us.




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