Last Thursday I attended Back to School night at Ellicott Mills Middle School. For those readers who have never taken part of this annual ritual, on Back to School night parents get to experience their childs school day schedule first hand by moving from classroom to classroom and meeting the teachers. Towards the end of the evening I began to notice that while a couple of Peanuts classrooms were adorned with Ravens stuff (Wacco for Flacco and so forth) I did not see any evidence of Redskin fans.
Looking for hidden meaning in this, my convoluted mind drifted to the school board race. In an earlier post, before the primaries, I winnowed my preferences from the field of eleven down to eight candidates that I believed deserved greater attention. Of my eight picks, only one David Gertler, didn't make the cut. Now, with only a few weeks to go before the general election, I'm ready to pick my final four.
So what does that have to do with Back to School night and the Ravens?
Well, for me, the pick of the final four candidates for school board is like choosing between black and white but since I have Ravens on the brain today, I thought it might be more appropriate to phrase it as a choice between purple and black. With the exception of one candidate, the choices are just that stark.
On the one side, lets call it the black side, are the candidates that would lead you to believe that the current board is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the school system. These candidates believe they would do a better job of questioning the superintendent and his staff. In other words, they seem to suggest they are smarter than everyone else. These candidates are Cindy Vaillancourt, Brian Meshkin and Leslie Kornreich. All three of them are also a little too cozy with Allen Dyer who I consider to be the worst board member since Laura Waters.
Then there is Robert Ballinger. I happen to like Bob and think that he would make a good board member but I like the other remaining four even better. That's makes it hard. If we were looking to replace Allen Dyer this time around too, Bob would get my vote as the fifth candidate.
That leaves my final four. I think both Frank Aquino and Sandra French have served the board well over their tenure and therefore deserve reelection. Larry Walker has to the potential to become one of the best board members ever. His record of community service tells me that he cares very deeply about kids. David Proudfoot brings frontline experience to the board and also a cool demeanor. In fact choosing between Bob and David was my toughest call.
We have a great school system in HoCo. I suffer no illusion that it is perfect but at the end of the day, it is pretty darn good, Much of the credit for that can be laid at the feet of the board and the Superintendent, Dr. Sydney Cousins.
We don't need people on our school board who think they are the smartest people in the room. We need people who can work together collaboratively to deliver the best product for our students.
The choice for me then is as simple as purple and black.