Why Not Have Report Cards for School Board Members?

People often ask me why I got in the race for School Board. Frankly, I saw things that disturbed me. First, the current Board spent close to a quarter of a billion dollars of your tax money without publishing construction bids, naming bid winners, or itemizing expenses.

Second, while bragging about a two-year-old award from a grocery store naming the Humble ISD “the best large district in Texas,” the board somehow overlooked the fact that almost a quarter of our seventh graders can’t read at grade level.

Then when the State’s new A-F rankings showed half of the high schools in the District failing on “career readiness,” the Board lobbied Austin to change the grading system instead of fixing the problem.

Oh, and don’t forget that the current board is waiting until after the school board election to spring the need for more bonds on you. They could total more than a third of a billion dollars at a time when interest rates are headed up and one of our middle schools is more than 40% over capacity!

The School Board currently only gets graded once every four years – at election time. So when the Lake Houston Chamber Magazine asked me, “What factors do you believe the state should consider in their accountability rankings of school districts,” I replied, in part, that Districts should be compared on “Customer-service ratings for school-board members.”

Here is a first solo attempt at creating a “report card” for board members.

Grade School Board Members

Member name:_____________   Grading period:_____________

Financial Transparency     A          B         C         D         F

Champions Reading           A          B         C         D         F

Leadership                           A          B         C         D         F

Listens                                  A          B         C         D         F

Timely response                 A          B         C         D         F

Straight talk                        A          B         C         D         F

Visits campuses                  A          B         C         D         F

Communication                  A          B         C         D         F

Grading Guidelines

Financial Transparency

A = Fights to publish itemized details on construction bids, bid winners, overruns and delays

B = Itemizes architectural and engineering fees, where bond money is being spent, and who land is purchased from

C = Keeps you in the dark while rumors and suspicion grow

D = Charges you to make “open records requests” to see how your money was spent

F = Spends a quarter of a billion dollars of your tax money without publishing details

 

Champions Reading

A = Fights to improve reading scores in early childhood so kids don’t fall behind in other subjects

B = Works to build partnerships with charities, volunteers and other governmental organizations to facilitate early reading intervention

C = Brags about exceeding region and state averages when almost a quarter of Humble ISD seventh graders can’t read at grade level,* and Texas education ranks in bottom quintile of states**

D = Ignores problem

F = Hides failure in “averaged” reading scores for entire District

 

Leadership

A = Fights publicly to improve education for ALL students

B = Makes sure teachers have the time, training and support to do their jobs

C = Goes along to get along; follows the herd

D = “Let’s just give people vouchers and let someone else worry about the problems.”

F = “When does cocktail hour start?”

 

Listens:

A = Listens attentively; accurately understands your concern(s)

B = Appears to listen

C = Looks at watch, yawns or answers emails while you’re addressing the Board

D = Sends you a form letter that never acknowledges your concern, but tells you what a great job s/he is doing

F = Never even bothers to send you a form letter

 

Timely Response:

Replies to your questions, concerns, or inquiries:

A = Within same or next business day

B = A week

C = A month

D = A blue moon

F = When pigs fly

 

Straight Talk:

A = Always gives you straight answers – even when disagreeing with you

B = Answers with a maybe or a “guess so” thrown in

C = Gives “wishy-washy” answers that never tell you where s/he stands

D = Mostly evasive – answers a different question or spouts half-truths

F = Gives inaccurate, or totally false and untruthful answers

 

Visits Campuses to Learn Their Needs:

A = All campuses

B = Half or more

C = A handful

D = Makes symbolic attempt to see one or two

F = Why bother with symbolism?

 

Communication

A = Builds a good case for the way s/he votes, even if you don’t agree

B = Explains pros and cons of possible solutions to controversial issues

C = Discusses issues in private and rubber stamps them in public

D = Avoids discussing expensive bond issues during board election

F = Master of hidden agendas

 

What would you include on such a report card? What grading guidelines would you use? Please share your ideas at: http://rehakforschoolboard.com/your-thoughts/


*TexAcademicPerformanceRptPg12015_16

** http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2017/2017-state-education-grades-map.html

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