I’ve long supported an elected school board here in Norfolk. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening any time soon, unless the PTB decide they want it. Norfolk residents have so many things on our plates that this simply isn’t a priority.
An article in today’s paper raises an important point: the terms of the school board members. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the short terms – just two years – means that there is constantly a training phase going on for new members. The article doesn’t mention one other problem with that: a lack of institutional memory.
We touched on this lack of institutional memory in the media yesterday when I was on Hearsay with Cathy Lewis, but it permeates nearly every part of our society. There’s this whole “you don’t know what you don’t know” thing going on – and when you combine that with a lack of inquisitiveness, it’s a recipe for ill-informed decisions and information. The need to have experienced people there to save the unexperienced from themselves cannot be overstated.
Two-year terms, regardless of how they started, are simply too short. That needs to change now.
Another thing: I about laughed out loud at the argument that, “Limited commitments encourage a more diverse group of people to think about serving.” A lot of folks think about serving, but are never given the opportunity to do so, due to the flawed appointment process. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, either. But we can work on that after we get the terms extended.