Comment: ‘HCPSS is a victim of its own success’
Patch readers weighed in this week on the performance of the school board in light of recent controversies.
Patch columnist and parent Kate Yemelyanov struck a chord with readers with her plea to have a school board that “functions more as a platform for the concerns of the community and less as a stage for the individual biases and dysfunctions of its members.”
Her sentiments came at a time when the school board has come under heat for its contentious debate and decision in February to eliminate formal middle school reading classes and for its conflict management during meetings.
In February, Paul Lemle, the president of the Howard County Education Association suggested that the board seek outside assistance to resolve chronic in-fighting that he said hindered it from addressing school system business.
School board President Sandra French has told Explore Howard she would be open to participating in "some sort of mediation."
Yemelyanov, who has three children in Howard County schools, wrote that the school board “does not seem to have learned from the voter sentiment that brought its new ‘opposition’ members into office or from the intervening months of public infighting among its members.”
Here’s what Columbia Patch readers had to say about Yemelyanov’s column:
“You need to run for school board. You've got the credentials and you could be the one to make a difference.” - Mary Manjikian
“You say that the students of the HCPSS MAY not be getting the education they deserve, which I agree with, but then you go on to attack the new board members. It is the three incumbents who are up for reelection that are the ones denying that the school system has some serious problems, not the new members.” Corey Andrews
“You are right that HCPSS is a victim of its own success - we are allowing our number one ranking to hide the fact that there are so many students that are not getting what they need from our school system. We have become so beholden to the almighty standardized test that we have forgotten to teach students about the world around them and how to explore it and connect with it.” Leslie Kornreich
“What are the parents doing to bolster their children's education? It is not the sole responsibility of the school system to educate and propagate well-rounded adults. The school system just doesn't have the time and money to teach everything to everyone. If there is something missing or short-changed, the parents should be filling in where HCPSS leaves off.” Nicole
Comments have been edited for spelling and length. See the original comment stream here.
What do you think? Is the school board merely a stage for the individual biases and dysfunctions of its members? What is the ideal role for a school board member?