Every month a Board member is asked to deliver inspirational remarks to start the meeting. Here are mine from last night.
I want to welcome Mr. Thurmond to his first board meeting as our interim superintendent. You have come to us in tumultuous times. On behalf of all the children and taxpayers in DeKalb, I wish you much success.
I shared with the State Board of Education, on my blog, and now I share with you - We have three deficits:
1. Academic achievement
Please seriously examine and address these deficits. Focus on returning competence and skills as the only credentials for hiring. Please make every decision in the best interest of kids and taxpayers. This sounds simple. But it often gets confused when the board talks about “things”. Remember, every dollar spent on something beyond the classroom teacher and other staff directly engaged with children in a classroom, is a dollar not invested in education. Things don’t teach children. Programs don’t teach children. Scripts do not teach children. Good teachers teach children. This is especially important for our most impoverished communities. Nothing can replace the gentle hand of a teacher reading and rereading a passage in a book and encouraging a child to think beyond herself, beyond today and imagine the possibilities of a full future.
Please communicate with the public. Please don’t let that be one-sided.
Please watch the budget like a hawk. I will.
Meet every principal and empower them. Tell them to tell you when they face a bureaucratic obstacle. Then, remove it for them. Principals are your CEOs; your field generals.
Empower each school community. Return discernment to our system. Don’t let heavy-handed, onerous, administrative regulations put up a wall between the school and the community of parents. Give principals, indeed every employee, the power to do what is in the best interests of children on the spot. Support them.