"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Monday, November 1, 2010

Today, I won't ask for your vote

The day before an election it is wise and customary for a candidate to make a final push for votes. All the expenses and countless hours of meeting people, developing campaign material, finding volunteers comes down to whether voters show up in significant numbers and vote to put the candidate in office.

That’s why today I am not going to ask for your vote on November 2nd. I am asking you to do something for me on November 3rd.

Today I want you to understand that this election is not about me, it is about you. The result of the election is important but not as important as what is possible with your involvement. “Of the people, by the people and for the people” is never more true than when referring to local government. The involvement of the people must be at a level sufficient to counterbalance the inherent weaknesses of government.

That brings me to my final point (of six): site based management (promote more local control at each school). It is number six on my list but the concept behind it makes it the most important issue of all. The idea is that each school should be run with the guidance of local families with the goal of fulfilling the expectations and needs of those families.

How is that done? It is accomplished by having a proactive group of people who will be involved and then get more people involved. School community councils can have a large influence in setting individual school curricula and policies. There are opportunities to volunteer in the school and with the PTA. By being involved, your voice is not only heard, but you have the opportunity to actually make a difference with your investment of time.

Once you are involved, you are in a much better position to help others get involved. If enough people get involved with their local schools, the positive changes start to work upward to the district level. As a people, we believe that bottom up governance is better than top down. But it only works if enough people are involved. Otherwise, government gets top heavy and heavy handed.

The most important good that can come from this election isn’t who is going to serve on the school board next. The greatest good would be a large number of families in each school getting more involved...serving on community councils, volunteering in classrooms, and getting to know the teachers and principals.

Sure, there are important decisions that pass through the school board which affect all the schools in the district. It is important to have people we can trust to represent our views to the district and not the district’s views to us. But more importantly, we must all accept the responsibility to personally be involved in making the necessary commitment to ensure good schools.

Whether I win or lose, our local schools will succeed or fail based on what you and your neighbors do…not me.

With that in mind, I will be hosting a get together at my home on November 3rd for anyone who is willing to accept the challenge of being involved. We need volunteers. We will rotate attending school board/school council meetings (and reporting to the group). We will organize people to run for school community councils. We will encourage you to volunteer at your local schools. We also want to hear your ideas of what we can be doing to make a difference. If you cannot attend (get more information on our Facebook page), make sure we have your email so you can be on our list to get updates.

So join with me in a commitment this day to see November 3rd as being more important than November 2nd. November 2nd is about choosing who represents us. November 3rd is about doing our part, regardless of who wins the election. What we do is more important than what they do. Let’s not just make our voices heard, but our presence felt. Your vote is important to me, but not as important as your involvement.

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