Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

Election Update

There is just one name on the ballot this year for the open seat on the Board of Education: Bob Hutton will be unopposed as he seeks (and obviously attains) his third (I think that's right!) three-year term.

This is absolutely no commentary on Mr. Hutton, but it surprises me that no one else stepped up. There's just so much facing our District this year (and beyond), and I know our community cares about the quality of our kids' education...so what's up with this?

On another note, there's a danger that this will make the budget vote process more difficult. Because there won't be a real campaign for the Board, less attention could be paid to the budget vote, and voter turnout could be even lower than normal. I urge you all to please pay attention when the budget facts start being communicated, beginning at next week's Board of Ed meeting, through the public hearing, HSA meetings, and any other meetings (not sure yet what will be scheduled). Please learn the facts and vote on April 21.


Anonymous said...

"... it surprises me that no one else stepped up..."

Why? It's hard to find an upside to BoE service. I compliment, congratulate and thank you, Laurie, for your decision to "step up," but I could never do it. At least not the way things are now.

Lack of time, a feeling that the sniping from the jackals in town would affect my family, general thanklessness of an ever-more vocal public are a couple of the minor reasons why I would not run.

But the big reason is that I think the BoE doesn't really set education policy in the Village. The BoE studies it, talks about it a little, but in the end the professional educators get what they want, regardless of cost and the BoE seems powerless to do anything about it. The opportunities are many (math curriculum, field issues, etc.) but the board resolutions are few. The board does not challenge the administration, and as a result, does not take seriously the concerns of the public. A first-year board member, such as yourself, has even less power in this club. You doubt me? Try taking a strong, vocal position against anything proposed or supported by the superintendent or one of his direct reports. It won't go well, I assure you. You won't be supported by your fellow BoE members because they are either in the tank for the administration, or content to let sleeping dogs lie.

I can't be part of a system like that.

Laurie said...

But the only way to change "a system like that" is if people who think like you get involved, no? I think you are right to some extent. I do not agree that the Board "does not take seriously the concerns of the public," (ok, truthfully I can only speak for myself, I can't speak for the Board), but I have sometimes felt that there is not enough "critical eye" given to certain things. You're right, a first year board member (THIS first year board member) has a difficult time just figuring out what's going on. The learning curve is ridiculously steep. But I do think it’s worth it, and I do think I can make a difference -- I’m not stupid enough to work this hard for something that is futile. Maybe I'll change your mind some day.