Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quagmire of local politics -OR- Brigadoon returns

Sorry folks, got a little distracted by local politics. Turns out there's an election in 10 days that will determine if we keep the current cretins or bring in a new crop.
There's easily $200 Million dollars in play.

So Slate A (the encumbent cretins)has sent out a dozen glossy mailers highlighting their accomplishments. Big Font, Double spaced.

Slate B can't afford glossy mailings. Their literature lists all the bad things about Slate A but says nothing on how they'll do it any different.

Our high school board. 4 open seats on a seven member board. This is for control.
Not over education. We are the bottom. Any student/parent with options exercises them.
They voted with their feet 40 years ago. That didn't stop the doors from opening each fall, so board control is about $100 Million and who gets to dole it out.

Nobody's running on a platform of blowing it up and letting the 10 hostage communities start fresh. Nope, they're talking about raising standards, continuous improvement and the latest 5 year plan. The 5-year thing is puzzling since it assures that an incoming freshman (and his voting parents) won't be around for year 5 or the unveiling of the next 5 year plan.

The place is an educational brown field. It's 3-mile Island, Love Canal and Bhopal, India rolled into one which squats upon the 10 communities and prevents alternatives.
How do you un-poison a village's water supply? How thirsty would you have to be to drink from it? Or more apt, send your child to drink from it? What assurance could you possibly give that it's not as bad as it's test scores, drop-out rate and violence index might indicate?

"I think it's a complete shithole."
Oh no, it's not THAT bad?

It's very much a chickenhawk situation. Send somebody else's kid.
There's a OED sized volume that prohibits grass roots action and insulates the institution from outside forces. Since most people are not directly affected in any given election year, and the affected parties change more often than the Chicago weather, the district just keeps on keeping on.

That's it's easier to move away, or pay twice for a private school, makes changing the trajectory a personal problem. You Lose! Thanks for playing our game. NEXT!
So I'll be "debating" the candidates' positions and "ideas" on local web boards for the next 9 days. Hoping to get the lights turned on that "it's dead Jim". You're a mid-level bureaucrat or wannabe, not a miracle worker.

My negativity notwithstanding, I'm pretty sure a clean slate, controlled and implemented on a community level is the only viable option. Put that on the ballot and I bet more than 10% of the registered voters would turn out to exercise their duty to vote. Asking them "Paper or Plastic"? They'll stay home in droves and whoever has the biggest fan club will be doling out the dollars for the next 4 years.

Ain't life grand?

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