Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Orleans Parish School Board

If you'd like to run for the Orleans Parish School Board, you've got another day or two to qualify.

The Times-Picayune is reporting that many incumbents are electing not to seek reelection and that there appears to be little interest amongst potential challengers.

The article is interesting to read. It would appear that people don't seem as interested in the school board because it doesn't represent as firm a political stepping stone as it used to.

As the power of the OPSB has been gutted and ceded to charters and the RSD, board members have become disenchanted with their ability to make news for the purpose of furthering their own political ambition.

According to the article and the unsubstantiated buzz I've been hearing, power brokers are questioning the necessity of the OPSB altogether.

Here's what I think:

The OPSB is still extremely important for two glaringly apparent reasons:

First, because the RSD is meant to be a temporary bureacracy empowered to steady schools administration while a unified New Orleans school district is planned and established. The OPSB will be necessary to administer the schools after the RSD is disbanded to give way to a unified district.

Second, the OPSB should be the bureaucracy charged with administering Orleans Parish schools because the OPSB is actually directly accountable to the voters of Orleans Parish. The RSD brass serves without regard to public opinion or voter accountability. Anyone that suggests abolishing the OPSB in favor of more autocratic control for the RSD should be greeted with skepticism.

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Yet, for me there is an even more intriguing reason why this OPSB election is so important.

That typical stepping stone politicians are passing on running for the OPSB presents an extremely rich political opportunity for local progressive reformers to step in and make real noise in this city.

The next OPSB can make Orleans Parish schools the vanguard of progressive cirricula. The next OPSB can insist on transparency from the RSD and Charters more effectively. They can advocate forcefully for the reunification of Orleans Parish public schools and set the foundationf for an eventual transfer of power. While the power of the body has indeed been reduced with the rise of the Recovery School District, it is not powerless. It is still a pulpit. These are still critical leadership positions that we, as citizens, must fill with qualified candidates that represent a progressive vision for public education.

One way or another, for this city to survive, citizens must take responsibility for electing more honorable and visionary leaders than those that have routinely violated the same people they have sworn to serve.

UPDATE:

Check out which OPSB district you live in by checking out the maps on the OPSB's cumbersome website.

5 comments:

Dambala said...

- Yet, for me there is an even more intriguing reason why this OPSB election is so important.

That typical stepping stone politicians are passing on running for the OPSB presents an extremely rich political opportunity for local progressive reformers to step in and make real noise in this city.

that sir, is a damn good point

E said...

SERIOUSLY. WE HAVE GOT TO GET PEOPLE TO RUN FOR THESE POSITIONS.

Landrieu's seat that covers uptown, the irish channel, the garden district, central city, and broadmoor is OPEN and ripe for the taking.

Amy said...

Hello, I am Amy Lafont and I am running for Orleans Parish School Board District Three, which includes the Bayou St. John, Gentilly, and Lakeview neighborhoods of New Orleans. I am a 10th generation New Orleanian/Cajun, public schools parent, professional facilities consultant, and active community volunteer.

My top 10 priorities as an Orleans Parish School Board member are to:

1. Advocate for equality for all New Orleans children – in terms of opportunities, good treatment, access to support systems, and stability;
2. Re-establish adult education and literacy programs and centers;
3. Emphasize vocational trades and life/resiliency skills in addition to college prep and the arts, to end the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’;
4. Institute meaningful charter monitoring to empower families to make informed decisions;
5. Promote students' voices and participation in decision making;
6. Insist on more public input in budget processes and financial matters;
7. Ensure families have access to a great public school in every neighborhood;
8. Preserve, renovate, and revitalize our structurally solid buildings to sustainable standards;
9. Recognize, value, and apply the expertise of local stakeholders and community partners to address our issues and implement best practices;
10. Earn back local governance of our public schools through quality, healthy, accountable and transparent school management.

Please let me know what your experiences, concerns, and priorities are. Together we can create a healthy public school system for New Orleans.

Thank you,
Amy Lafont
(504) 416-9766
opsb3amy@gmail.com
www.amylafont.com

E said...

I know Amy to be an outstanding educational advocate through my occasional work with the Frederick Douglass Community Coalition. She has also been extremely persistent in demanding accountability from the RSD. She will likely receive my enthusiastic endorsement once election day draws nearer.

Christian Roselund said...

Your link to the school board maps is bad. This one works: http://nops.k12.la.us/uploads/File/2007/board/maps/district3.pdf