It's Time To Stop Using Mandates For Excuses

In the comments to my last post on the Patch, I was taken to task for name calling and negativity. I got the message. I will end the name calling and try to be more positive. One commenter said he/she hopes I am elected to the school board “for the education you sorely need about mandates and counterproductive state and federal laws”.  I am very familiar with the challenges that federal and state mandates present to our schools and how they make it difficult for our administrators.  

However, I don’t see how these mandates prevent our school district from involving parents more in the decisions and planning for our kids’ education. I don’t see where the mandates require $15 million of our property taxes, money we authorized for fixing and improving our schools, to be used for a sports complex. Many of our neighboring school districts who operate under the same mandates have built stadiums and athletic fields for much less. I don’t know of any mandates that force our school district to spend $12 million on a new district office. I don’t believe mandates excuse misusing our kids’ resources and placing obstacles in the way of parents who want more details about where money is being spent.

It is true our elementary schools are earning outstanding test scores but our middle schools and high school aren’t doing as well. Many parents are taking their kids out of our schools and going to private schools and charter schools in neighboring districts. I believe with more parent involvement and a more cooperative attitude by our district leaders towards parents and employees of BUSD, we can provide parents the choice and opportunities they are looking for elsewhere and turn around our middle and high schools.

I am tired of hearing how the mandates are holding us back. We need leadership in our schools that will stop making excuses and start including parents in finding solutions that will provide our kids the best chance to succeed.