Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Dysfunction of TUSD's Three v. Two

Attending and listening to TUSD school board meetings has been an education—more so than any other aspect of this campaign process.  It has taught me that the biggest problem in TUSD is the dynamic that exists between the school board members themselves.  They are, as one of them has noted, dysfunctional.  There are five, but only three speak while two are effectively silenced.  That dynamic, not student achievement, has taken precedence over everything else.  My solution?  Change the board this November—vote in people who will work together.

A problem in TUSD is the huge disparity among schools—some are great, but others are suffering.  The issue was impliedly mentioned at the August 23 meeting.  At that meeting, one school was featured—Booth Fickett—a school that is doing amazing things.  One of the speakers suggests that it was the media that brought attention to the school's problems and which led to increased attention on the school.  The implication is that the positive changes at the school have only taken place because the school was imploding, and TUSD had no choice but to react.  But if the school board functioned, TUSD would run more efficiently; it would have systems in place to turn schools around long before they (or their principals) became media fodder. 

While the dynamic of the school board members may seem unimportant, it has the impact of a terrible scream that resounds throughout our community.  The TUSD Governing Board Members are the official leaders, so they set the tone for the entire district.  If they cannot work together, for whatever reason, that dysfunction reverberates throughout and makes itself felt in every school—it infects the mood of every employee, parent, and student.  

Actually, the dysfunction on the TUSD Board seems to find its source in the idea that some members are “better” or “higher” or some such.  That dynamic—where the mighty rule and the meek get run over—is apparent throughout TUSD.  And teachers have reported to me (some of them felt they had to whisper!) that TUSD is indeed a rather cut-throat place where political alliances are key.  Sounds like the dynamic on the TUSD Governing Board—and probably the reason some schools are great while others just keep getting run over.  


. . . Just imagine what TUSD could do if the Board functioned.


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