Thursday, January 3, 2008

Evolution of a School Board Member

"God made idiots. That was for practice. Then He made school boards."- Mark Twain

The school wars rage on -- parents against the establishment. Why? Because school boards seem to work for the employees instead of for the residents and children they claim to represent. What happens to a person in the transformation from innocent resident to a member of the school board?

First, they join a political party. Parties choose candidates who will not rock their boats of political influence. If you believe that politics does not mix well with education, you are right, but you need to keep that to yourself. School boards serve political interests, not children's. The first transition, then, is from intelligent idealist to political survivor.

A typical school board member claims to be "in favor of education," and wants to "work for the children." They start out as creative and independent citizens, but soon learn that their idea of education is not the same as the state's. Local boards are, by CT law, "Creatures of the state, not agents of their towns." Thus. they do not represent the community. And what does the state want? Ironically, the state wants a docile workforce of dependent people who will do what they are told and are trained not to ask questions. So, board members devolve into group-thinkers who use the same nonsense language of administrators called "edubabble."

Some members begin as reformers who believe that the schools must change if they are to improve. But, if a town's schools are particularly bad - as most are -- neither political party will admit to the poor quality for fear of being blamed for it. Therefore, no one does anything to improve them. The school establishment wants no part of change. That's why some people call it, "The Blob." Therefore, a reformer would not be acceptable. Thus, the second transformation is from agent of change to accomplice in the status quo.

Board members often come from the ranks of the PTA or PTO, having "worked hard" to help the teachers do their jobs. They have become indoctrinated to believe that the teachers are overworked, underpaid and, "doing the best they can under the circumstances." They are blind to the fact that the union manipulates both the board and the teachers' workday, striving always to increase its influence at the expense of the town and its children. Thus the board member is changed from creative individual to sychophant.

The teachers union hand picks some candidates. They are often long-time teachers who retire with the notion of continuing to "help the children." These members have built-in conflicts of interests since they are imbued with the establishment "reasoning" and probably still draw pensions from the system. There is no chance that a retired teacher will be openly reform minded. The union has a singular goal: more money for less work. Whatever gains the union makes from board decisions are always at the expense of the children and/or the taxpayers, usually both.

Finally, members become institutionalized. The job changes them from crusaders for improvement to apologists for the status quo, from idealists wanting "better education" to supporters of the current failure, from searching for truth to agreeing with the lies, from part of the solution to part of the problem. The system dumbs down everyone in it.

What does the above mean? It means that residents who want to improve the schools cannot do so. It's a government game and it's rigged at the top. Government wants obedient soldiers; not independent thinkers. That is why mediocrity is set in stone, deceptions are the rule, and the corruptions are permanent. End

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