Over this past weekend, I was mentally composing an anti-Ann Delacy (De Lacy? deLacy? DeLacy? Incorrectness wholly my fault.) post that complemented (and sharpened) this week’s bit on the Patch. This morning, I saw that by doing so I would be joining an online pile-on. So pile-on, briefly, I shall. (A special hat-tip to Kirsty for drawing my attention to candidates and online commenting.)
To recap: in the next few years, negotiations between the Board of Education and county teacher’s unions are more likely to be contentious than in the past, as the Board will (finally) be footing a more significant portion of the overall bill, and dollars will be scarcer. Although “inmates running the prison” is perhaps too harsh a metaphor, we need to ensure that the seated Board can weigh all needs and parties equally.
No candidate should be judged solely on who endorses them, just as no candidate should be judged on who didn’t. However, all six candidates need to face more vigorous questioning from the electorate, and we need to hear more specifics on how they intend to handle millions of dollars in new liabilities. De Lacy, in particular, will need to address how she will balance her former allegiance to the HCEA and the needs of her new, expanded constituency.
De Lacy, for her part, seems regrettably combative even before actually reaching the Board. In response to her primary victory, De Lacy was quoted as saying “I don’t mind throwing rocks,” when we all know full well rocks thrown break windows, and as a behavior is (hopefully) banned in our schools. Shouldn’t we ban it on our Board as well? The primary election removed one major obstruction from the Board of Education, and given the murky financial and fiduciary waters ahead, the time for platitudes and polemics has passed. The surviving Six have seven months in which to convince us they are up to the coming challenge.
I, for one, already chose not to vote for a candidate with at least fifty percent of that decision based on the tone and implications of their Patch commenting. De Lacy will now make two. To candidates: yes, in an online, wired world, it can be tempting to directly engage your critics, no matter how…crazy they are. In doing so, though, in engaging directly in the hurly-burly no-man’s-land of online commenting, you’re just reducing your own credibility. (If you’re interested in tracing the problems of online commenting, I would investigate Gawker’s changes throughout the years. [“The tragedy of the comments.”])
(End note: I feel the need to stress that my wife is a teacher, a member of the teacher’s union, and a strong supporter thereof- as, in fact, am I. [Most of the time.] However, in this instance, I think the election of Delacy to the board throws off the balance of groups that essentially should act as checks and balances on each other. So please don’t misconstrue my position or post as unthinkingly anti-union.)