Board of education elections should be a time for the community to reflect on how their hard-earned tax dollars are serving a district’s children. Topics such as school security, class sizes, AP classes, sports, the arts, special education services and electives should all be considered when casting your ballot.
Yet, due to the hyperpartisanship of some district boards of education, these items can easily become the furthest thing from voters’ minds.
It’s important to remember that school board members are volunteers. It’s commendable for anyone to put their hat in the ring, subjecting themselves and their families to campaigning and controversies without compensation.
Civility goes a long way. Education of our local children, and decisions relating to what is best for them at school should not be taken lightly. However, there is a way to advocate for and fight for the candidate we think will pursue our children’s best interest without engaging in personal attacks.
It’s important for constituents and candidates alike to remember that the local school board, first and foremost, represents students. In most districts, students frequently attend meetings to receive awards or simply as part of their educational experience. When we go to vote, think about the example of leadership, civil dialogue and intellect the candidates would present during board meetings, and if they are the example we would want our children to see. We should take similar consideration when evaluating campaign tactics.
Our nation has become incredibly divisive. When passionate about issues, it’s easy to want to translate them into all aspects of life, including BOE elections, by voting for the candidate who openly aligns with your politics.
The local coverage of boards of education in the last few years should indicate that the nationalization of school politics only leads to infighting and disruption. Over time, this hostile culture can lead to less and less results for the students, whose interests should be paramount.
This Tuesday, consider the candidates that will keep our kids and tax dollars at the forefront at the top of their plate. You will find candidate profiles in all TBR News Media editions. There will be another day for politics.