Wednesday, February 15, 2006

District 7 Votes for Status Quo

The results from the forgotten Valentine's Day vote for TPS school board district 7 seat was:

Tulsa School Board
Office 7
Francis Skonicki 309
Matthew Livingood 787

Only 1,096 people bothered to vote in District 7, a heavily Republican district.

The status quo has been maintained.

Our local school district will continue its slide, incapable of truly reforming itself.

But the TPS board meetings will be well run.


Anne Hutchinson said...

I think Skonicki might have been ahead, but then inexplicably in late afternoon a rush of pro-Livingood supporters came to the polls. I was scratching my head until I read your 4 PM endorsement for Skonicki. Sorry, dear. Try not to take it too personally.

As for the fate of TPS, what will you do to change things? Of course, it is pretty easy to throw insults from the outside. What about rolling up your sleeves and making a personal difference? Volunteer in a public school. I do and its wonderful ... it makes a difference to a few young children without having to rely on anyone from the School Board. Oh, and in case you were wondering, very little political acumen is required. ;-)

TTFN ... Anne Hutchinson

Anonymous said...

Since a change in local government structure seems the way to achieve change (per "Tulsans for Better Government"), could this not also be applied to TPS?

Perhaps it would be beneficial for Tulsa citizens to consider modifying things such that each TPS Board member is voted upon by all of Tulsa (that is, all of TPS District No. 1), not just a small sub-district. Since each board member is elected one at a time, such that the makeup changes slowly, it would seem the entire city would be interested in every member of the board.

Besides, they all represent Tulsa School District No. 1, by region. And, their qualifications are more issue oriented than in representation of a sub-region's interest. There is no real 'representation' by district, as it is.

Anne Hutchinson said...

My, my what a global thinker you are! What change are you after? My last comment was a practical challenge designed to bring about real change at the level where its needed the most---person to person. Your response is many times removed from this ... and lacks any evidence that if enacted would accomplish anything useful.

"....their qualifications are more issue oriented than in representation of a sub-region's interest."

Aside from the fact that your premise makes no sense (qualifications are more issue oriented???), this statement is just plain mistaken. When was the last time you saw Board Members Lana Turner or Oma Copeland attend any event in a school in south Tulsa? How active has Mr Livingood or Ms Fate been in schools in east Tulsa? Despite your presumption to the contrary, Board Members do work actively for the schools in their own "sub-district." Ms Turner is actively involved in leading the north Tulsa School Initiative. Gary Percefull has been instrumental in fostering a community spirit among schools on the west side. Mr Livingood challenged Memorial and other schools in his “sub-district” to develop specialized programs of choice --- the result at Memorial is now called the Engineering Academy there and is getting rave reviews. And the list goes on with each Board Member.

Yes, the Members must consider the entire district when they vote as a body, but don't be deceived into believing that they do not focus on, work for and support activities in schools within their part of the District. This is a good think and not lightly to be done away with.

"....There is no real 'representation' by district, as it is."

Huh? What exactly do you mean by "no real 'representation'?" Do you mean, you wanted Mr. Skonicki, but couldn’t get out enough support to oppose Mr. Livingood? Do you mean neither one does or could “represent” that area? By what standard do you presume that Mr. Livingood does not represent that district ... that you oppose him?

If poor voter turnout is your standard, then not one single elected representative--local, state or federal--meets your standard. Yes, only 1,100 persons voted in yesterday's TPS Board race, but, unless some news item escaped my attention, not one single voter in that district was prevented from exercising their right to vote.

If voters throughout the TPS District have an interest in who is elected in District 7 as you suggest, they have a funny way of demonstrating it. Or perhaps I missed the hue and cry from throughout the entire District of people upset with Mr. Livingood and demanding, donating to and campaigning for a change.

Rather than start by re-designing government just because you can't control the present construct to your liking, perhaps you could tell us about your personal efforts to get someone else elected. Did you actively campaign for anyone? Did you contribute one dime to anyone's campaign? Did you recruit any candidate to run a more challenging race? Did you invite anyone even to file against Ms Grey, who ran unopposed? Did you attend or invite anyone to attend the candidate forum which was held?

You apparently did not like the outcome of yesterday's election, so your solution (for change) is to blow up the decision making process. What unintended consequences do you think that might foster? You lament that the Board cannot be changed all in one election and overlook that a majority of the Board could have been changed between February, 2005 and 2006. Last year, two incumbents left office. This year, no one even ran against one candidate and the other race was pretty much a walk. Perhaps ... just perhaps the present system is well designed to attract candidates who have a strong passion for education rather than for politics. Lord knows, they aren’t seeking office to get rich. District-wide Board elections would result in politics, pandering and partisanship. What kind of change will that bring about? And how will that change result in improvement for our students?

Sorry if this sounds too harsh. But there is change which is simple, profound, long-lasting and germane to the mission of public education and then there are proposals for change which are little more than pontificating.

As someone said, "I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another."

Be awesome.

Anne Hutchinson

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anne, I could not have said it better myself. Mr. Chiggers is a one issue voter. Thankfully, not everyone in this district is like that. Mr. Chiggers is in this for one reason~ himself. Mr. Livingood may not like charter schools, but he does work hard for TPS. It is all about the leadership. Senor chiggers should try to affect the selecting of the next superintendant. That is where change would lie if change could be had. The bigger problem is that most people like the status quo.

Red Bug said...

I do not post comments anonymously. Go back in my posting history to see that I started this blog to highlight issues of My choosing and charter schools are one of those issues.

People fear what they don't understand. One of my goals is to raise the level of awareness on charter schools and assuage the fear. Heaven knows, there's alot of misinformation out there about them.

Thank you all for reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

Anne Hutchinson said...

To be clear, I did not presume, nor did I indicate in my last post that the "Anonymous" posting was from the host of this blog, "red bug."

I do understand and appreciate red bug's passion for charter schools. I just think the anti-TPS strategies and invectives expressed in pursuit of that passion are about as useful as bikini sales in Antarctica. They might be nice for some to contemplate, but they don't really address the real issue.

Anne Hutchinson

Anonymous said...

Addressing the issue(s) is precisely why change is needed. It wasn't about the candidates, it was the FACT that 8 of 9 of TPS High Schools have failed to achieve minimum educational standards.

You assumed an awfully lot about me. And, no I'm not Red Bud or whomever.