Monday, October 19, 2009

Political v. Professional Models, Encore

I find myself once again stuck on a professional board, this time for BOCES. I've written often about the tension between political and professional boards, or perhaps the tension between me and professional boards. Once again, I'm the subject of an executive session on correct v. incorrect board behavior. Once again, I wonder whether this is worth the effort. Last time, things worked out. This time, I care less about the outcome, which makes me think it's time to bail. We'll see.

To some extent, I blame the New York State School Boards Association. Here are the association's thoughts about what makes a good school board member:
What makes a good school board member?
The legal requirements for board membership are few, but qualifications for effective service are many. The most effective board members possess most or all of these attributes:
Effective Communicator – Can describe what he or she wants and describe what others want; a good listener
Consensus Builder – Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve that goal
Community Participant – Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to the community
Decision Maker – Knows his or her own as well as others’ decision-making styles, can support group decision-making
Information Processor – Can organize priorities and schedules to handle lots of verbal and written information
Leader – Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and Community Leader – Willing to take risks, be supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community
Team Player – Helps promote the board’s vision and goals

What's missing here? Any notion of representation. I consider myself a representative of my (assigned) school district, its taxpayers, employees, and children. For that reason, the notion of rubber stamping administrative decisions is distressing to me.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this as time goes by.

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