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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Alexandria School Board

What a disaster the last four years have been. We elected some extremely talented and really smart people to the Board of our school system in Alexandria. We hired one of the top tier Superintendents in the Southern part of the US, and we invested millions of dollars in improving both the infrastructure and the quality of the ACPS school system.

The objectives we had were common ones. We all were focused on what was right for the children of Alexandria. We were all looking at how our investments over the past ten years had started to pay off in improving the school system. We all were working together to continue to improvement of our community. We were all investing in the future of our community and the future looked bright.

We now are in a situation where there is a lack of trust, massive budget overruns, negative finger pointing, harmful feelings, strong community apathy, and substantial frustration. The school system is in a state of instability. People are questioning why the costs are increasing at such a high rate, and there is continued pressure to start a nationwide search for a new superintendent. The city council and mayor have shown a real lack of trust for the leaders of our schools and school board. Wow, what a mess!

What happened? How could the feelings of common good turn into such a negative situation? The answer… “Pure Politics”. Yes, in a small school system, in a smaller community, there are politics rampant in our schools. You are probably saying to yourself, schools and politics… What a surprise, wake up Jim.

Well, the politics have shown up in all areas of the school board, school system, and are starting to show up in our kids. The investments we have made over the past 10 years are showing up in the schools and how the test scores are improving. We are expanding our reach of talented teachers in the system and some of the new programs appear to be promising. If we don’t fix this situation, all the great things we have accomplished will be for not. We need to do something about this situation, and it starts at the top.

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