Friday, May 22, 2015

I would like to remind the Collier County School Board

I would like to remind the Collier County School Board that the stakeholders (taxpayers, parents and Collier residents) are above ALL of you on the District’s organizational chart.  The elected board members all ran on their commitments to improve education in our community and EACH of you swore an oath to uphold the Constitution.  Each board member represents the STAKEHOLDERS of this county.  The Board does not represent the Superintendent.  The Board does not represent the District’s Lawyer, and the Board does not represent the District’s Staff.  The board (that body situated BELOW the public on the District’s organizational chart) has delegated certain responsibilities to its Superintendent, Dr. Patton, who is situated below the Board on that same chart. 

In recent years, unfortunately, the organizational chart has turned upside down.  Today, we have District staff steering the ship, effectively positioning themselves over the board and the stakeholders.  How has the Administration accomplished this you ask? 

First and foremost, when elected sitting Board members request workshops, the Board members should be directing the workshop, NOT an unelected Superintendent or her staff.  When elected sitting Board members ask to bring in outside experts with decades of experience armed with volumes of research on the damaging effects of High-Stakes testing, that request MUST be honored.  Further, when a parent requests additional time to publicly present his or her findings as they relate to High-Stakes testing and faulty curriculum matters, that parent MUST be afforded the opportunity to do so.  In no case should District staff be empowered to vet ANY parent or outside expert that a sitting board member wants to hear from in this chamber.

Second, with the approval of this board, District staff has developed and implemented policies which infringe on the public’s ability to direct the Board; saying things like “those are operational issues” and claiming that neither the public nor the Board should be interfering with the Superintendent in the exercise of her duties. Neither the Board nor the Superintendent has the right or power to create policy which interferes with the stakeholders’ ability to fulfill their position at the TOP of the organizational chart.  The education of our children is the parent’s responsibility.  Just because we delegate these duties to the Board and Superintendent, that DOES NOT mean that we have given you the power to lord over us.  WE are the stakeholders.  WE are the parents of the children we have entrusted into your care.  WE are the citizens who have elected and hired you to do OUR bidding. 

It is time that the Board, Superintendent, Attorney and Staff of this District START doing what the citizens want.  It is high time for those we’ve hired to STOP doing what THEY want in OUR schools and with OUR children.

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