In the daily battle of politics, it can be enlightening to attend a different public or political meeting just to observe, have a good laugh, and see that someone else has it worse than you.
At a recent Charleston County School Board meeting, I experienced all three.
I respect the members of the board due to the elected position they hold, and I know they have no easy task. However, some of them are clearly not acting in the best interest of the children who attend our public schools.
Each of us is entitled to our own opinion, but those who are elected and appointed to public positions live in glass houses and must guard their actions and words carefully.
I believe that the chair of the school board, Chris Fraser, handled the meeting well by allowing his fellow board members to ask questions and make their comments regardless of how silly and off-base some of them were.
In one of her many weird comments and noninformative speeches, Elizabeth Moffly said she does not like homework and would, if she could, remove homework from school. I almost fell out of my chair when she said that, and others in attendance looked at each other, dazed. She may have said it jokingly, but such comments are best left in one's head. It amazed me that she questioned every action of the district staff and the superintendent, as well as past board actions as if she has all the answers and knows what is best for the district. It seems to me that she should be willing to learn the facts and not be so quick to judge. Then again, she has her own constituent group to please.
Elizabeth Kandrac wasn't any better. How can her board packet be the only one missing information? And how can she be the only board member who hasn't received answers to questions she asked two years ago?
This is not about politics. This is about preparing the students of Charleston County School District to compete globally, excel in and outside the classroom, and ensure that public dollars are spent wisely. To argue about communication between board members and district staff is a complete waste of time. You would think the board did not receive any training on their duties and the role they play based on the questioning and poking by Kandrac and Moffly.
Why does it appear that school board members are always in conflict with the superintendent and her senior staff? Neither the superintendent nor her staff is perfect. They do not walk on water and none of them believe they are the best thing Charleston has to offer. Has anyone been charged with misappropriation of funds? Has the district not educated the public on building projects and the financial plight of the district year after year, building after building, and dollar after dollar? Countless projects have come in under budget and on time, and every penny has been linked to the mission of CCSD.
If our students are to replace us in our respective positions in the county, should we not work to ensure that all schools have the same resources, all kids have the same opportunities, all teachers have the same tools, all parents have the same options, and all communities are proud of their neighborhood schools?
Regardless of how one may feel about the status of our school system, every taxpayer ought to prefer to spend more money on educating students than imprisoning them in jail.
Each of us must hold Dr. Nancy McGinley, the school board, faculty, and staff accountable if we are to be part of the solution and not simply adding to the problem. If the latter fits you, please move.