November 8, 2005 Election Day </p>
Great schools begin at the ballot box and this year is no exception. Many people believe that since we don’t have a statewide or national election we don’t need to be as attentive. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many school boards are holding elections. The job of a school board member calls for intelligence, analytic skills, responsiveness, integrity, honesty and the ability to make decisions based on accumulated data. They should not be pushing an agenda; rather they should be a conduit so that they can be reflective of what it is their community wants for their schools.
This year, in our metro area there are school board candidates running on the issue of Intelligent Design in their school’s science curriculum. Some are opposing International Baccalaureate programs because they have too global a flavor, instead of an American focus. In one district there are 4 seats on the school board that have yet to be filed for; that means any one person who writes their name in is elected.
Also, pending resignations are on the horizon. Special elections on Nov 22 will be held for Sen. Mark Ourada (R-Buffalo)—entering business and Sen. David Gaither(R-Plymouth) taking the spot as Chief of Staff for Gov. Pawlenty.
Rep. Joe Opatz (D-St. Cloud) has accepted the interim presidency of CentralLakesCollege and Sen. David Kleis (R-St. Cloud) is running for Mayor of St. Cloud. If needed, special elections are scheduled by the governor.
Special Session </p>
If a special session is called, chances are that it will be the week before Thanksgiving. How ironic that a “sex cruise” may be the end of stadium talks for the Vikings and may be the kiss of death for a special session. We continue to watch this activity very closely—I mean the special session—not the sex cruise news!
What Can I do? </p>
Do you know what your school board candidates stand for? Do you know what your city council candidates think about public schools? Are all of your elected officials making decisions based on what is in the public’s best interest?
Have you been to a forum—or called a candidate? As candidates, they want to share their views and as educated voters, we need to vote wisely. These choices are critical. I encourage each of us to know who it is we are voting for.
FYI-I am attaching questions that are being circulated by the former Maple River Coalition—now called EDWatch. These questions reflect the agenda they want local school boards to adopt. They are very telling. (attachment)
Open Appointments </p>
Did you ever wonder how people are selected to sit on state committees? Those especially mandated by statute? Well, it is an appointment process—appointment usually by the governor—and is done through applications. This link will show you which committees have open appointments. You apply and the selection process begins! This is a way to sit on a state committee and use your voice efficiently!
Heads up on Early Childhood. Two of these appointments deal with early childhood. The Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Intervention and the MELF committee. If you remember, MELF is the group that received a $1 million in the K-12 omnibus bill to work at determining effective early childhood programs. It would be great to have one of us on this committee!