AAPS Board of Education Election: Could A Juicy Sex Scandal Make the Elections More Compelling?
by P.D. Lesko
I once had an English teacher who once walked to the chalkboard and scrawled in huge letters: SEX. The class snapped to attention. In fact, I would venture to say that what with the bombardment of news and electronic media 24-7, it’s a better bet for page views and comment counts to write about sexual harassment scandals, than the Occupy Wall Street movement, education, or ballooning child poverty in the United States. It’s tough to make income disparity, educational achievement gaps, structural budget deficits, state and local politics compelling. Fortunately, A2Politico doesn’t rely on page views and comment counts to pay the bills.
By now, you have realized that there is no AAPS Board of Education candidate who was snared in a sex scandal (sigh). However, I do have your attention. So sit up straight, eyes forward and do your best to take good notes.
It matters whom you vote for on Tuesday November 8, 2011. Oh heck, let’s take a step back and just say that it matters whether or not you hoist your petard off the sofa and get thee to the polls (with a photo i.d. in hand). For the first time in a very long time, there is a peck of school board candidates from which to choose. Though it might seem expedient to vote for the candidate your neighbor says is the bees knees, that is like copying from your classmate’s paper. What if the kid you copied from didn’t really know the answer? Not to be a killjoy, but asking friends and neighbors whom they’re voting for is a symptom of a disease that has Ann Arbor in its grips, and not how some of the smartest people in the country ought to select school board wanna-be’s.
The best way to decide whom to vote for is to listen to what A2Politico tells you, of course. Really. For the first time ever, A2Politico is going to endorse school board candidates. Doing so will make us feel like we’re a big deal news outlet with more smarts than you—and that’s saying something here in the town in the U.S. with the second most educated populace. It will give the impression that A2Politico is completely unbiased and has examined all of the candidates and their positions on the various issues.
Are you chortling yet? You should be. Know why? Because you should not let anyone tell you whom to vote for. Not your neighbor. Not your local newspaper. Nobody. Unless, of course, you’ve been diagnosed with that disease that makes it impossible to make rational decisions. I think it’s called menopause in women, and middle age crisis in men.
Seriously, though, it’s about time people in Ann Arbor started behaving as though local elections mattered. They do. Deeply.
Why? For starters, those jokers on the Ann Arbor Board of Education will oversee $190,000,000 of your money. Not that all of it came from you, but the schools get 29 cents of every property tax dollar you pay every year either directly by writing a check to the city, or indirectly by kiting checks to your unsuspecting landlord. The BOE members will set policy that impacts 16,500 students.
So what’s a busy voter to do?
Realize that no registered voter can possibly be too busy to inform oneself about candidates and elections. Elections are the tests. Will you go to the poll unprepared, or worse yet, just skip the test? No one ever wants to be unprepared for a test. Who among us does not have the occasional nightmare that we are back in high school, and completely unprepared for the test? For extra credit, you’re naked.
What would you think if you heard this story: A high school kid flunks a test and, by way of explanation, says that s/he had bigger fish to fry, there had been no time to prepare for the test.
“I was just too busy watching T.V. and washing my hair to study, Mom. I asked a friend about the test, then just decided not to take it. Whatever.”
If it’s someone else’s kid, maybe you’re chuckling. If it’s your own kid? There might not be adequate blood pressure medication to bring yours down quickly enough to avoid a stroke.
Voting is the Civics exam administered regularly.
So let’s assume you want to cram for the test on Tuesday? Excellent. First get out a piece of paper and make a list of 4-5 items related to public education that are important to you. Here are mine: student achievement, teacher evaluation, responsible spending, and achievement gaps (Ann Arbor has one of the largest achievement gaps between white and non-white students in the entire United States.).
Ignore the writer’s “endorsements.” Read the short Q & A interviews with each of the candidates.
Then, look at the candidates’ web sites:
Albert Howard: http://alberthoward.org/default.aspx
Ahmar Iqbal: http://www.VoteAhmar.com
Patrick Leonard: http://www.patrickleonard2012.com/
Simone Lightfoot (incumbent): http://www.simonelightfoot.com/
Larry Murphy: http://www.Murphyforschoolboard.org
Andy Thomas (incumbent): http://www.thomasfora2schoolboard.org/
Don’t vote for the incumbents because they’re incumbents. Don’t vote for anyone based on a political endorsement. Don’t vote for Simone Lightfoot because she’s a woman or because she’s black. Don’t vote for Ahmar Iqbal because he’s a Republican supporter. Don’t vote for Albert Howard (Just my personal opinion). Vote for the candidates your own research and reading lead you to believe will best represent your views on education, and do the best job on behalf of taxpayers, the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and the 16,500 students the District educates.
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