A public school system is no place for promoting political agenda and self interests. It concerns me when I see people using local schools to make political points, even when I agree with the point they’re trying to make. There are simply too many real issues that genuinely affect our schools, students, and community to waste time on such matters.
I realize people will disagree about whether an issue warrants a school board’s time. We get into trouble, though, when we lose our cool and allow our emotions and poor judgment to suck us into needless debate over things that either have no impact on us, or we can’t change. We fall into this trap when we lose sight of our real role as school board members.
Our Board Chair Gary Anderson recently shared a presentation he created for the Board almost 15 years ago, “Changing the Organizational Culture in School Districts to Best Serve the ‘Customers’”. He wanted to remind the Board that the “delivery of service” pyramid should be turned upside down. The school board (thus personal and political interests) should be placed at the bottom of the pyramid, not at the top. (See Gary's pyramid below.)
There's no time for promoting personal agenda when we have our customer order straight. If we can keep Gary's pyramid in mind, we'll do a better job of staying calm and focused.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t disagree. I cherish the dynamics of boards when passionate, but respectful, disagreement is expressed. Nothing could be more American than that. However, we must choose our fights wisely.