Here's what this campaign is about:
Ensuring equal opportunities in curriculum and programming for all students
Providing our students and faculty with safe, healthy, technology-driven learning environments
Committing to our neighborhood schools
Guaranteeing responsible stewardship of public funds
Celebrating the diversity within our district
Engaging parents to become active participants in the schools
Making data-driven decisions with measurable results
Friday, September 13, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
From the beginning, I promised to run a positive, issues-based campaign. I laid out what issues I believed in and went out with the help of my awesome campaign staff and my good friend and new MBA grad, Amber, and we tackled this seemingly impossible task. I don't know how the journey will end today, but if nothing else I know I've formed a lot of great relationships.
I believe that we need to take control of this unique moment in our history and focus on our district's long-term future in both facilities and programming. We need to ensure that every child in every neighborhood has an opportunity to achieve their highest potential. That's what a public school system should be about. To have the perception that there are good and bad schools does a disservice to our students and our teachers and is unhealthy for our community.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way and the sentiment is district-wide. The outpouring of support both in sweat equity and in donations to our cause was humbling. We couldn't have run our campaign without all of you. Win or lose, I am forever grateful.
When the campaign finance reports came out last week, I did a little breakdown:
68% of our contributors gave under $100 with an average of $37.50
32% of our contributors gave over $100 with an average of $135
There were 127 total donors and I have known most of these people for much of my life.
By ZIP code 42% were from 52240, 4% were from 52241, 1% from 52244, 34% from 52245, 14% from 52246, 4% from 52317, 1% from other areas.
You can view all of the candidate reports of income and expenditures by clicking on each candidate's individual dollar amounts HERE if you don't believe me. It's all public record now anyway.
Some have focused in on the record contributions this year. I think it speaks volumes of our community that collectively $35,000 was donated to help the candidates get the word out. In our 24/7 media based society that's a tall order. People obviously do care about education and it's future in our district. I think it's a relatively small price to pay to raise awareness of the issues facing our students and teachers.
Speaking of the other candidates, I have a great respect for all of them. I've met nearly all of the spouses and children and I have just as much respect for them. I know everyone has given it their all and it shows. The physical, emotional and mental toll is incredibly difficult to deal with and I don't wish it on anyone. Jim, Jason, Chris, Karla, Sara, Phil, Tuyet and Greg, my hat's off to all of you and whatever happens today, I've enjoyed getting to know you. Believe it or not, we share a common bond now. I think our little "reality show" is going to set an all time record for voter turnout. No one can ever take that away. Best of luck to all of you today!
What a long strange trip indeed.....see you at the finish line!
Now, get out there and vote. Find your polling place HERE
Our community is at a crossroads. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for all of our kids. I hope you'll join me.
Monday, September 9, 2013
While these traits definitely were a blessing and a curse in the classroom, I think that my teachers all hit the nail on the head. I do play well with others and, yes, I do socialize too much. As a potential board member I hope these traits serve me well. It may be too late for me to try to change.
I guess if you really want to know something, ask a teacher.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
As I read through it, trying desperately to understand a man who had never opened up to any of his family, I was struck by one question in particular. Under the section for History and Politics, in response to a question about what issues and causes he felt strongly about, he answered "Apathy of American voters. Democracy will fail if 70% of eligible voters do not: 1. Inform themselves and 2. Vote. Apathy is one of the reasons for the sad state of politics today - we get what we deserve."
This is true of school board elections in particular. People don't inform themselves and sadly, people don't vote. Typically here in our district, we can only expect 4500-5000 voters to vote in school-related elections. That's less than 8% of eligible voters. Sad, indeed.
I believe and have stated numerous times that schools are the most important public service that we can provide to our citizens. Roads, sewers and stoplights are important, but people don't move to an area because of those things. They move to an area because of the schools.
Our schools prepare our kids for their future. Our schools teach our kids to think critically and analytically. Our schools provide the social structure where our kids learn about the world beyond their community. Our schools can provide inspiration and teach not how our world is, but how it ought to be.
We owe our entire district and all of our kids a fair shot at a good beginning to the rest of their lives. We owe them safe facilities that inspire and nurture them. We owe them creative programming that allows them to achieve their highest potential. It is our duty.
I feel that if you believe in something strongly, you should roll up your sleeves and work for it. I believe that if you feel that there is injustice, you should work to make it right. I feel that you should advocate for those that can not advocate for themselves. That's why I'm doing this and that's why I want you to get out and vote.
If you're tired of feeling like it should be better for our kids and teachers, get out and vote.
If you're fed up with the back and forth tit-for-tat in this district, get out and vote.
If you believe that our entire district deserves to have a bright future, get out and vote.
If you are optimistic that we can be more transparent and communicate better, get out and vote.
If you believe we can do better and should, then get out and vote.
Voting is the only way that anything is going to get better. No matter who you vote for, just get out and vote. Apathy is the enemy.....
Pass it on.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not."
-Dr Seuss from The Lorax
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Before you read any further, read this amazing bit of trivia: Carver and Borlaug There may be a quiz.
It seems our very own Iowa hero Norman Borlaug who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his efforts to combat world hunger is only two generations removed from George Washington Carver's famous pioneering work in agriculture. All it took was one woman guiding and advocating for the young Carver to create a ripple that saved over a billion lives.
Here's how this relates to our district.....
We currently have an alarming performance disparity between minority students and their peers when measured at all levels. Across our district, there is an 30% or greater disparity in proficiency in Reading and Math. See for yourself on page 5 of this document: District Report Card
There are a few ways to address this issue. First and foremost we need to go to teachers and see what they think. No initiative is going to work without their input and enthusiasm.We also will have to enlist parents and community leaders, because we already know that the most powerful changes start with the broadest base of support. I do have a few ideas of my own though, if you were wondering.....
- I believe expanding access to Pre-K is critical. Ensuring kids get started with a solid foundation in reading and math concepts will help to streamline their kindergarten matriculation. If you start off behind your peers, it'll never be easy to catch up.
- I believe we need to actively recruit recently graduated minority teachers from across the country. This effort should be fully funded by the district. Good healthcare, low crime, great schools and a university town should be attractive to many. Having positive role models in teaching and administrative roles is a must.
- We can create a "career cluster program" to have minority students mentored by teachers who are people of color in order to foster a love of teaching in our own students who may show interest. Working with community groups we can commit to scholarships as well for minority students that are pursuing an education degree with intent to teach in the area. Recruiting from within may be more powerful than recruiting elsewhere.
- As minority teachers leave the district, we must truly dig into why they left as part of the exit interview process. We need to know what we can be doing better to retain these talented individuals and role models and we need to commit to fixing it.
For us not to insist on every single child reaching their highest potential means that we are failing all of our students. We need to try harder, because what we're doing isn't good enough.
So which child is it? Which student just needs us to try a little harder? Which one, through a small act of kindness like Etta Mae Budd's advocacy for Carver, may go on to do great things? Which of our current students is going to be the one that changes the world? Let's find out.