Let’s step back, act thoughtfully

The dissension in the Everett School District Board of Directors is, on the surface, laughable. But parents of former, current and future students of the district should give this issue a close look. What happened Tuesday night will likely play out in the media for several months. Opinions will be formed at water coolers and barbecues alike. We need to be smart in how we choose to view and fix this problem.

These things are easy:

1. Read an article, watch a video, judge them as power-hungry tyrants, corrupt politicians, trouble makers or buffoons.

2. Post a comment online about civil servant idiots.

3. Talk to your coworkers about how wasteful our elected members are.

4. Rouse the rabble.

5. Form a baseless opinion and proliferate ignorance.

These things are difficult:

1. Leave work early, attend a board meeting that begins at 4:30, gain first-person experience.

2. Do your own research about your district’s policies.

3. Email or talk to board members, administrators and teachers about your concerns.

4. Keep ignorance under wraps; don’t infect others with baseless views.

5. Bog yourself down in the details and don’t make swift, summary judgments.

Spend your energies wisely. Send $50 to famine relief in Ethiopia or donate bottled water to the next tornado-affected town because sometimes the further away the problem is the easier it is to help. But don’t forget the local disasters as well. Broken things like our Board of Directors cannot be fixed by $50 donation checks. The problems of our board are in part a result of the lack of involvement from its constituents. Form ignorant opinions about the federal deficit super-committee, or how the NCAA should keep football players off the take, or even whether global warming is real. Whether you would recognize it or not the board and administration in your district has a direct impact on your life.

Don’t rely on others to form your opinion. Form it yourself. The big losers in this fight aren’t the board members, they’re the education our children receive, and the society they’ll build and on which we’ll rely on when we’re old and tired.

Carl Shipley

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