The Eugene Weekly Slant take on the District 4J administrator boycott of board meetings (10/14) was a bit over the top. “Spilling blood”? Come now.
I invite readers to listen to the audio recordings of past 4J board meetings to see if you hear a lack of “courtesy and respect.” What you will hear are board members doing the work of critical thinking and simply asking serious questions, including follow-up questions, in order to make quality decisions.
This has not been the norm in 4J or many other school boards. The usual pattern is a presentation by district administrators followed by a few perfunctory questions. Boards tend to trust, sometimes far too much, whatever the district “professionals” say.
But this tendency to rubber stamp district practices and policies has come at a cost. This is, in large measure, how we have become a solid but conventional district; how teaching and learning have become dominated by standardized testing and data-hoovering; how curriculum and instruction have become increasingly standardized and dictated to teachers — minimizing teacher creativity and innovation; how the humanities have become sidelined because they are not “tested”; and how many dynamic teachers have become dispirited and have left the job they loved.
It’s way past time to question the top-down, standardize and test path we’ve been on for 20 years. It is the ethical imperative of conscientious school board members to ask questions that deserve to be asked. I applaud the board members who are bravely doing their job.