South Side Schools Part 3

Posted: January 27, 2012 in government, Neighborhoods, Politics, Schools, South Bend
Tags: ,

See Part 1 here and Part 2 here

“A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to Farce or Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”  James Madison 1788

I want to go back to the mayor’s address to the school board and suggest one more thing the mayor should do:  PUSH FOR A PARTIALLY-APPOINTED SCHOOL BOARD!!!  I know this is controversial, but I’ve lost my hope and trust in the voting electorate to select school board members who are qualified (or even smart).

Recent turmoil on the school board bears that out.  For further proof…note Roseland’s town council.  I believe in Democracy, but in local elections for school board candidates, the voting public has no clue what the candidate stands for or if they are even qualified to lead the city’s school system.  Whenever forums are offered to meet the candidate about a dozen people or less show up.  The candidates don’t have the finances for commercial spots, mass mailings, or other means to get their message out.

David Snyder

So…a voter enters the booth and chooses a name that rings most familiar (and hopefully the name isn’t familiar because of the charges that were filed against them) or one that sounds nice.  “Spivey…that sounds nice.”  “Stephanie Spivey…oooo…two ‘s’ words.  I like it.  I’ll vote for her!

And then…we get what we get.  Except, it usually means inept leadership.

If the city’s well-being is intertwined with the school system’s well-being (which I believe that it is) then the Mayor has a huge stake in what happens within our school system.  All of his attempts at city growth will be undermined by a defunct school system.  There should be at least 2-3 school board members who are directly appointed by, and are accountable to, the mayor.  I know this places a lot of trust and control in the hands of the mayor.  But he has a vested interest and his voice (via his appointees) are critical.  Further, it expedites communication between the mayor’s office and the school board.  And I don’t mean just communication that occurs at their Monday night board meetings, but probably more important, the communication that goes on outside of it.

  1. Jas says:

    Our elected school board has from its inception been driven by single issue candidates who, though may be well versed on their topic, are not qualified to be leaders in the education of our children. It is time to allow our community leaders such as the mayor, to have an appointment to the school board. Now more than ever the city and the school corp. need to work together to rebuild our schools and neighborhoods at the same time.

  2. Jennae says:

    YES yes yes!!! …and the mayor should appoint you. Of course, you could get voted in too … Sam Barrington has a nice ring 😉

  3. Traci says:

    Not being anywhere near your school district I still have read your posts with interest. It seems to be a national issue. Your thoughts on transportation and the budget made us laugh. The schools here decided this year to reduce the transportation costs by making central bus stops. Subdivisions have designated meeting spots instead of busses stopping at each house. You would have thought the world had ended! Complaints constantly filled the paper about little Johnny having to walk to the end of the block out of his mommy’s sight. Good Heavens! It meant that parents had to walk to the stop with their kids and meet each other! But that isn’t the worst of it.
    The reason these kids had to ride a bus in the first place was that they pass other schools to get to the one they attend. Because of integration laws which are still being STRONGLY enforced here there is no such thing as a neighborhood school. (I am not saying I believe in segregation- I just think the social stimulus for integration laws and codes has passed away, as has good judgment.)
    Not only is it time for your mayor to be more involved in your school system, it is also time for the federal government to be less involved. Only then can neighborhood schools– and community– exist.

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