If our board members didn't have time to properly engage with charter management agreements, what chance is there that our community members did?
During last Monday's contentious school board vote on management agreements that effectively handed control of 18 SAISD schools to non-profit "partners", board member Christina Martinez admitted to having spent a long, difficult weekend grappling, not only with the questions of concerned constituents, but also with the size of the board packet, and the enormous, complex management agreements to be voted on:
“It was hard coming in today not feeling like I had all of the information that I needed. I don't want that to happen again. I don't know how we do that, or how we get better about that, but I need more time to be a well-informed board member and be prepared.” - Christina Martinez
Inexplicably, Martinez followed this statement by voting, not only to approve of the proposed management agreements for all 18 schools, but also to waive board policy in approving the charter applications for two of the district's most prestigious high schools.
So, we should ask, why the rush?
And why the disconnect between realizing that you haven't had enough time to seriously engage with such vital subject matter, and realizing that our communities have had far less of a chance to engage meaningfully in the conversation.
If our board members - our elected officials, charged with stewardship of public education in San Antonio - didn't have time to properly digest and discuss the management agreements, how were the rest of us meant to do so?
Related: SAISD School Board Waives Its Own Community Voice Policy To Push Through “Community-Driven” Charters
And in what sense can SAISD leaders claim, under such circumstances, that community members and teachers were meaningfully included in the conversation about what was going to happen to their schools?
There's a major democratic deficit in SAISD. Our leaders aren't listening, our communities aren't consulted, and our teachers are ever-more sidelined and excluded.
And our board members don't seem to care.