I was speaking before a group of parents at the PTA Convention and I asked them if they had ever gone to a board of education meeting. The vast majority said they had.
Interestingly enough, most of them went for what I would call a “negative” reason – to object to proposed action by the board. As any experienced board member will tell you, this is common – more often than not, a crowd at a board meeting is there to protest something. The other thing that was interesting was that attending the board meeting was a negative experience for them because the board proceeded with the proposed action, despite their protest.
We can argue these individual decisions by boards forever, but what struck me the most was that attending a board meeting did not bring community members together in support of their schools – if anything it created a divide. At the very least, it was an adversarial situation.
It may seem counterintuitive, but building a good working relationship between the parents and school board does not occur simply by having parents attend school board meetings. In fact that is probably not the place to do it. Read the rest of this entry »