Board must welcome partners

Published 11:57pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The bulk of the responsibility for raising a child is ours, the parents.

A teacher, who may have about 18 students in a class, does not have enough time to satisfactorily instill the needed values on all 18 students.

That’s my rationale for believing parents must be given opportunity to participate in the decision-making affecting their children in schools.

The Selma City Board of Education said we are committed to partnerships with parents, business leaders, community members or any agency or person who is interested in quality education for Selma’s children.

The Board stopped the audience from asking questions or making comments during our work sessions. It is my hope this did not turn off some partners.

In partnerships, you have what is called active, sleeping/dormant, and nominal partners.

Active partners take active roles in what goes on in the organization. Sleeping or dormant partner does not take an active part in running the business, but contributes capital and shares in gains and losses. A nominal partner just lends their name and never contributes anything and does not participate in profit sharing or running of the business.

Most parents who I have spoken to lately, want nothing less than active partnership.

Education research ranks parents and community involvement as the third most important factor in improving student achievement. It is established students perform well in schools based on the extent to which parents and the community are supportive and involved in school business.

I honestly applaud and respect some community members who come to our work sessions and board meetings. I may not like everything that audience says, but I respect the fact they care and are interested in our progress.

Any move to completely ignore their contributions, questions, or concerns during our work session may undermine the partnership.

According to our attorney the Board may decide to tolerate comments or questions from the audience during a work session.  Information or knowledge is pertinent in decision-making process, and I want all the information I can during our work session so as to make a good decision.

Experience has shown me members of the community, may every so often, have information and questions the board categorically needs to respond to.  Moreover, some of these citizens are well-respected leaders with admirable expertise.

When we exclude expert opinion, we exclude significant information needed to make wise assessment.

For example, if we are talking about school safety and a former or present police officer raises hand to help, I believe he or she should be heard. Similarly, if we are talking about students’ health and a physician, nurse, or other in the medical field wishes to help, I believe that’s an offer we shouldn’t refuse.

I do not see what’s there to lose when we brainstorm with all interested in proper education of the community’s children.

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