Sunday, June 12, 2011

Democracy In Action

Does it seem at all to you like the political process we go through to elect a president begins earlier and earlier each election cycle?  Here we are, the middle of June 2011 and the first debate of the Republicans candidates vying for their parties nomination are underway.  Did anyone fail to mention that the election is not until November of 2012?  I am sometimes accused of being a political junky, but I do get quite a charge out of the entire theatre of this process.  I watch the Sunday political talk shows with amusement and irony as candidates make the same arguments as to why they should be elected, or are better than the current candidate in office.  These same candidates fail to mention that the position they are taking at this particular juncture in time is the exact opposite of the position they took just a few short years ago.

With all the rhetoric it can make us feel utterly helpless, that it doesn't matter because the "machine" is just too big to change, and that all we can truly hope to accomplish is maintaining the status quo.  You will get no argument from me on this point.  But, I would quarrel with anyone who thinks that it doesn't matter, or that you can't make a difference.  Believe me, you can.  And the perfect opportunity to do just that is not quite as difficult as you may imagine.  You have the chance.  You have the opportunity.  You can make a difference in your own little corner of the world.  All you have to do is run for a seat on the school board.

Sometimes Boards of Education get a bad rap.  Yes, it is very hard work.  Board members make decisions that are at times unpopular and likely to cause their phones to ring at inopportune times.  This past year was certainly a year of unpopular decisions.  It is also true that being a member of school board is the only elected position in Iowa that does not have a paycheck to go along with it.  Oh, yes and that 'one' board meeting a month that you have to attend and vote?  Don't be fooled into thinking it is just that 'one' meeting a month.  There are issues that will come up, and problems that need to be addressed.  Sometimes the superintendent will call you late on a Friday night with some bad news.  Back to that 'one' meeting a month.  You will probably need a good weekend of study and research before coming to the meeting so you are well informed on the issues and able to make an informed decision.  Don't even get me started on Iowa School Finance!  There are other things that will come up, but I don't want to scare you off.

All of that being said, if you ask any one of your board members that are currently serving, they will tell you that it is all worth it.  They would do it again, and in fact many of them have.  They have served multiple terms and provided a great service to the community and school district.  I only hope they choose to run again and take the opportunity to serve another term.

With all the challenges and sometimes headaches that come with the job, why do it?  Is it really worth it?  Absolutely.  You have the opportunity to have a voice at the table.  To be a in a position of leadership in the community and school district.  The Core Purpose of the Hudson Community School District is to "Create Effective Learning Environments That Result in Success for All Students".  To be a Board Member is to shape that purpose; to mold; to craft; to vision!  Anyone who has served or is currently serving will no doubt tell you that to be a member of the Board is nothing that they thought it would be--it is much more.  Satisfying, fulfilling, and most definitely rewarding.  To be a member of the school board certainly takes courage and determination. 

At the beginning of this post I described the challenges with politics and how it often seems as though we are really going nowhere.  Perhaps, the foundation upon which this country was built is alive and well in our local governments, and no place is it more prevalent that in your local school board.  One could argue that the local school board is the purest example of democracy that we have left in our nation.

The time to act is now.  Papers for you candidacy can be picked up now at the Central Office.  Filing dates for the election this September are from July 11 to August 4, with the election date of September 4.  If you have any questions about board membership you are encouraged to contact anyone who currently serves and visit with them.  As you discern your candidacy I am available at anytime to visit with you and answer any questions you may have.  More information can be found at the Iowa Association of School Boards website.

Are you ready to make a difference?

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