Wednesday, the Christina residents who chose to vote in the operating referendum, elected to reject our request for $0.37 per $100 assessed value. At first this made me sad, then mad, now I am in “fix what’s wrong” mode.
In my six years on the board we have allowed the state to demonize us and tell the world who they think we are. We have been the cowards. We have refused to stand up for ourselves with the conviction necessary to sell Christina’s successes and have refused to confront our own ineffective areas with viable solutions.
Contrary to some advice offered to me recently, defending yourself from a vicious, sustained policy attack is not doing nothing or not offering ideas. It’s actually the epitome of leadership, particularly when the policies are so poorly conceived, designed , and implemented that the HARM children.
Policies that disrupt schools, policies that deploy failed methods of improving teaching like merit pay, policies that shame and label schools crippled by poverty into a place where they are so undesirable that no school could possibly deliver a stable environment for young children, are just a few of the unrelenting attacks of idiocy offered by our DOE that have earned our deserved opposition.
We have tried to fight. But in the end, we seem to just undo ourselves. It’s hard to fight the DOE. It’s enervating. While I may personally have the stamina to keep telling the DOE to take a long stroll on a short pier, none of that matters right now.
Our classrooms are going to be difficult next year. All because we have been the cowards. We failed to message ourselves, over time. As a result, we will CONTINUE to manage the finances responsibly and our classroom sizes will rise as a result.
Those who voted no did not want this. They were told it would happen, yet they voted no anyway. Why? Why would they do this to kids…I’ve been muttering to myself? Well, I’ve decided that the NO voters have simply reached their limit.
Well, there’s my common ground.
Our referendum committee Co-chair, Christy Mannering, whom I shared a WDEL radio segment with recently (http://www.wdel.com/features/christina-referendum-fail-recap01.mp3), has been saying this phrase lately: let’s build bridges.
We need our NO voters. As much as I could not have disagreed more with their vote, we need them. More now than ever.
Let’s win them back. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m all in.
Let’s do this. Whatever it takes.