Sunday, August 12, 2012

Is This the PSU Butterfly Effect?

We've observed a marked change in the Sun Prairie School Board of late.  Maybe its the new faces we have on the board.  Maybe it's subconsciously some sort of butterfly effect coming in the wake of the PSU/Sandusky firestorm.   Maybe it's both.  For whatever the reason, we like what we're seeing.

Board members are engaged.
They're asking good and pointed questions.
They are appear to be moving towards cleaning house of all old and soiled district laundry.
They are establish a new way to do business.
And it's the way a school board SHOULD operate.

There's a great article in the latest edition of ESPN the Magazine regarding the sanctions leveled against Penn State, entitled, "On Death's Door".  One of the subtexts of the article discusses the failure of the PSU board of trustees to take any action--or even ask any clarifying questions-- in the wake of an early briefing on the scandal.

"The shock wasn't just how little the board had known; it was that even knowing just a little, they still had done nothing. ...after being briefed about the Sandusky criminal investigation by then-President Graham Spanier at a May 2011 board meeting, Penn State's trustees were so incurious about the matter that none of them posed follow-up questions at meetings in July and September."--Don Van Natta, Jr, "On Death's Door"", ESPN the Magazine, August 2012

Let this be a lesson to the Caren Diedrichs and John Whalens that want to be a rubber stamp for the school district administration.  The school board has to manage.  You like to hide behind a shield emblazoned with "That's micro-managing".  It's not.  As Jill Camber-Davidson put it, what you term as micro-managing is requisite problem identification and resolution.  And sometimes, the district needs to give a pretty hard tug on the reins.

Now, certainly Sun Prairie isn't suffering from any evils even close to the magnitude of PSU, but there are darkening blemishes that the district administration has ignored for too long.

And this school least the five members not named Diedrich or Whalen...seem poised to take on all comers.  Bravo to the five that seem to be taking a stand to truly mold this district into what it SHOULD be, based on a foundation of equity, character, and integrity.