The Contrarian issued a challenge to the IPS School Board candidates on Friday. Honestly, I didn’t expect anyone to respond. But two candidates did respond, and as I committed, they are getting my votes. I have two political yard signs in my yard for the first time ever. And most of all, I feel pretty good about it all.
I believe that after all the talk of education reform and grandiose debates over myriad issues all worthy of debating, that finding a way to engage the parents of IPS students is the most important thing. Not everyone agrees with that. Some people seem offended by the suggestion. While it is the most important thing to me, I know it’s not the only thing.
Mary Ann Sullivan tracked me down Friday night. She has a history on the topic. She authored House Bill 1150 as a state representative in 2012. The bill established the family friendly school designation. It would have required the Indiana Department of Education to establish a common sense program that would give school districts some tools in the parental engagement area. The bill passed the House unanimously and then died on the Senate calendar. It became law the next year. The exact language was passed into law in Senate Bill 422, even though that bill did get some odd votes against it by some members of the Senate (another blog for another time).
As I wrote above, there is more to serving on the school board than just my top issue. But Mary Ann called me out on my challenge as she should have, and I am voting for her as my at-large pick. I hope all of you that can will follow suit.
Lanier Echols also sent me an email Friday night. Which led to two days of messages via phone and email this weekend between the two of us. My issue is an important one for her as well. I was hard to reach this weekend and she worked hard to make sure I knew her stance on the matter. She is my pick for the District 5 seat on the board. I hope her hard work on the campaign is indicative of the hard work my smaller neighborhood can expect from her if she wins the seat.
This has been a wonderful exercise for me. I have been working in and around the government for twenty five years but have always sat in the cheap seats when it comes to campaigns and elections. These two candidates reminded me that it’s easy to engage in a conversation with someone running for office. More often than not, we are the ones who haven’t shown that we care by participating the way we should.
These two deserve to be on the school board. We can all talk later about whether that sounds like an endorsement or a punishment. Good luck on Tuesday to both of them.