With great reluctance, I removed my “Micah Watson for School Board” sign from the front yard. I just read the article on the big challenges facing the Prince George’s County school board. Do our school board members have the education, skills and resources to help lead our county school system in the right direction? Some yes, but I’m unable to say with confidence that all do.
A recent Washington Post article on the number of local school board members possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher gave me great pause. Nationwide, 85 percent of school board members possess at least a bachelor’s degree. All school boards from districts in the greater metropolitan D.C. area have 100 percent of their members with at least a bachelor's degree — with the exception of Prince George’s County. We only have 25 percent.
Today’s bachelor’s degree is yesterday’s high school diploma. Do all of our board members really know what 21st century schools/students/colleges/workplaces need — and how to go about brokering the community partnerships to deliver the resources?
My District 4 board representative could not even be bothered to answer The Washington Post reporter’s call on this story. And I cannot remember the last time she sent her constituents like me any information on the work of the board/her performance. I do, however, remember attending a candidate's forum earlier this year. She was unable to answer my specific questions about her effectiveness to date.
Decisions on who represents our families, our local communities and our county on the school board are often one of the most overlooked ballot choices. I know this from conversations I've had with community members, one of whom said she left the board section of the ballot blank because, she said, “I didn't know anything about the candidates.”
The quality of our school system affects our children’s ability to succeed in college and careers — and it affects our property values and the overall quality of life in our communities. When are the citizens of Prince George’s County going to stand up and demand more? Regardless of whether you have children in the public school system (as I do), you owe it to the children who do attend to give them the best support they deserve. Sadly, District 4 did not deliver for our kids in this election.
Barbara Michelman, Cheverly