In August, the WCAT’s interview team met for half an hour with each of the ten Ann Arbor Public School Board of Trustees candidates for the November 4, 2014 election. We asked each candidate the same questions.
We were impressed by the good will, the intelligence and commitment to public service of all ten candidates. For this reason, we believe that we could work with any of them, should they be elected.
Nonetheless, four candidates stood out to us owing to their commitment to a School Board policy process that fully includes teachers and staff, as well as parents and community organizations, in discussions concerning how to deal with the difficult challenges that funding cuts in Lansing have forced upon us.
Of course, our School Board is elected by the community to make the final decisions as regards AAPS policy. That is how it should be. But the four candidates we endorse strongly believe that the more fully employees and community members are included in deliberations about how to respond, the better the Board’s decisions will be.
The tougher the decisions that have to be made, the more important it is that they be informed by sustained dialogue with those most directly affected. More input from more perspectives may slow down the process somewhat, but it will result in better informed and smarter decisions. In addition, such a process increases the chances that the policy adopted will be supported by all stake-holders – often a critical condition of a policy’s success.
We are confident that our endorsees will do their best to ensure that such a process becomes the norm governing all important policy decisions our Board makes over the next four years. Our four endorsees are:
Here is an endorsement leaflet (PDF).