How do we shape our children’s future?
That was the mantra on my mind all throughout the second meet and greet with the MPS school board candidates at the American Swedish Institute on October 5th.
To say that I wasn’t impressed is an understatement… Only one candidate showed up from the outset of the forum and kudos to Josh Reimbitz for showing up. We knew coming into this meeting that Tracine Ashberry had a prior engagement and she did make it toward the end of the forum.
I do want to call out all the candidates that HAVE NOT SHOWN UP TO ANY MEETING SO FAR, and those candidates are: Kim Ellison and Ira Jourdain. I was disappointed in Kerry Joe Fielder, Bob Walser, Doug Mann and Kimberly Caprini because they came to the first meet and greet at White Mensroom, but skipped the second one.
With Josh being the only candidate to talk to, we really got a chance to ask him questions and get a feel for what he would continue to do if he keep his seat on the board. I had friends submit questions via Facebook to ask all the candidates.
Here are some of those questions :
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing board members? Race relations? Parent engagement? Police and civil issues?
- Do you see your role as a cheerleader for the district or champion for parents and students?
- What do you think the board’s relationship should be with the superintendent?
A common question posed to Josh revolved around curriculum, specifically the need for ethnic studies being introduced instead of a Eurocentric curriculum.
In talking to Josh, we learned that the policies that the board is operating with are basically an updated version of the original policies that were introduced in 1967. That means that the board policies are from a time when, as Sherryln Thompson put it, “we had our own water fountains.”
The MPS board operates with board policies from a time when “we had our own water fountains.”
Tracine was asked about the policy as was Josh. Josh is in favor of crafting a new policy and has been in the process of doing so, while Tracine is in favor of keeping it but changing certain elements of it.
It’s interesting to know not all schools have site councils, or if they do that they are not being utilized the right way.
We also got to meet Ingrid Lane, who works at the American Swedish Institute. She talked about how the institute was influential in the community school district. They allow the two head starts in the community use their space for play and for parents. One theme she mentioned that really resonated with me was that she keep saying “how can we BE OF SERVICE to the community.”
The next time we get together will be at NEON on October 13 where we have a High School student focus group and dinner.