Friday, January 22, 2010

No kumbaya but CMS board aims for respect, tolerance

I'm back from the morning part of the annual retreat for Charlotte-Mecklenburg board of education at the school system's Leadership Academy on Neal Road - an apt place to hold the morning session since the focus was all about the board's leadership. School members and Superintendent Peter Gorman are taking on the more controversial issues of equity and student assignment this afternoon. But the morning session had its moments of high interest.

New member and board chair Eric Davis distributed copies of a vision for what the board could be like in two years - a vision gleaned from the stated desires of the other members. Given the troubled dysfunction of boards of the past, this vision sets the bar high. What would they like the board to be like? Here's part of the list they came up with.

"The BOE, works as a team, inspires confidence, and has won the trust of a majority of the community."

"BOE has become an effective group that makes logical, understandable decisions. The decision making is clearly defined, staff and the public understand the phases of BOE decision making, and BOE members have multiple good choices when making decisions.

"BOE members vigorously debate issues based on data/facts, but do so in a spirit of respect."

"BOE does not inflame the public's passions but carefully informs the public about the complexities of the issues and engages the public in developing effective solutions."

"BOE members listen to each other and display small courtesies of respect. They genuinely respect each other."

The board seemed to get off to a good start on these at the retreat. The camaderie was apparent, with joking and laughter going on. Still, a few bumps in the road were apparent as ideological stands differed over how to support the board's decisions and whether public disagreements were fruitful. Gorman noted of some board behavior in the past that if his "staff had behaved that way they would have been dismissed." That's dismissed, as in fired.

Board members agreed to be respectful but one noted there'd be no "sugarcoating" disagreements and singing "kumbaya".

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

It is sad to see how some board members want to revert to the past. Do they not understand how blacks were not getting educated then and hidden by the way stats were presented. Second, others are wanting to continue with the same way thinking only more money is the answer and to heck with getting no results. The definition of insanity is continuing to the same thing and expecting different results.