Speaking of diversity, as a result of last Tuesday's election results, the Broward County School Board will now be an all-female enclave: expect even more micro-managing and time wasted on trivial matters made melodramatic because these particular people, literally, can't help but pander; Broward Schools Supt. Robert W. Runcie to be in Hollywood on Thursday night at Boulevard Heights Community CenterI was going to post this collection of news and tidbits last Friday afternoon but thought better of it since I thought few would see it then, and as you'll see, I'm glad I waited, since in the time since I first typed some of these words last Friday morning, I've already seen others in the community and in the press writing about the composition of the new School Board who, in my opinion, lack appreciation for why having an all-female School Board is not exactly reason for taxpayers or students to celebrate.
Based on my own observations and what others who are much closer to all things education in Broward County have shared with me about some of the people elected, I think Broward taxpayers and parents have good reason to be concerned about backsliding on ethics.
While I could always turn out to be wrong, my overall sense of things is that this new crew might not only be more spiteful than professional at times, and attempt to make far too many issues that come before them personal, but also indulge a bit too much in creating straw men for them to attack when the Board is being properly chastised by the public or the news media, or otherwise held to account for inaction or bad judgment or lack of fidelity to rules and procedures.
I also suspect that there will be more instances than perhaps need be when after talking for hours, Supt. Robert W. Runcie will say that it's time to stop the talking and time for voting and actions.
This particular crew seems destined to try to talk everything to death, as if that wasn't already enough of a problem with the current crew of characters.
As most of you already know by now, here's what happened last Tuesday:
District 4: Abby Freedman defeated Shelly Solomon
District 5: Rosalind Osgood defeated Torey Alston
At-Large District 8: Donna Korn defeated Franklin Sands
At-Large District 9: Robin Bartleman defeated Barbara Houston Wilson
Over the past 2-3 months of observing political campaigning all throughout Hallandale Beach -and Hollywood- such as it was, given that there were never any chance there'd be actual bona fide candidate debates of the sort that everyone here desperately wanted, owing largely to Mayor Joy Cooper, Comm. Anthony A. Sanders and former Comm. Bill Julian desperately NOT wanting to be a part of any event in the city that they could not control, where they'd be forced to answer pointed questions from well-informed citizens, I only once saw a re-elect Robin Bartleman yard sign in a HB resident's front yard.
As it happens, it was located in a front yard in Southwest HB of someone who also had one for do-nothing Comm. Sanders, so you can well imagine what I thought every time I drove past it,
just off of S.W. Third Street -it's not exactly the sort of illustrious company you'd necessarily choose to be associated with.
While I was certainly glad that Bartleman attended the educational forum in HB in June of 2011 on what was REALLY going on at Hallandale High School with respect to what the School Board was doing to remedy longstanding problems that led to a lawsuit that the School Board lost, a forum that my friend, Catherine Kim Owens hosted and superbly moderated, THE first such serious meeting on education in this city during the eight years that I'd lived here up to that point, despite how crucial that subject is in this community for reasons I've previously mentioned here -and yes, Ann Murray was a no-show at that meeting in HB (again) just like Jennifer Gottlieb was!- considering what I'd seen and read about Barteleman's involvement and performance during the disturbing Douglas High School cheerleading coach saga, I'm not sure if her winning was really such a great thing for Broward taxpayers and parents long term.
See my post on that subject from October 8th, titled,
Dynamite! Bob Norman adroitly uses facts and context to lower-the-boom on the Broward School Board for their abysmal handling of the purported Douglas H.S. cheerleader coach 'scandal" -and drops School Board member Katie Leach squarely on her head; One month before the election, docs show Donn Korn opponent Franklin Sands funds his race with lots of money from his stepson’s lobbying firm -shocker!; @mattgutmanABC
Last Wednesday I received the following message from the City of Hollywood with the subject header: Meet and Greet Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie
City of Hollywood residents and members of the community are invited to meet Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Boulevard Heights Community Center, 6770 Garfield St. in Hollywood. Mr. Runcie will be available to answer questions from the public about local public schools and other education issues. Members of the public who are interested in attending and asking Mr. Runcie a question are encouraged to arrive early to fill out a question card.
Light refreshments will be provided.I've now seen and heard Broward Schools Supt. Robert W. Runcie three times in person since he was hired by the Broward School Board -twice in Hollywood and once in Hallandale Beach.
For more information, contact Donna Green at email@example.com.
(Surprise! Not present at that meeting in HB was School Board Chair Ann Murray, who is this area's representative on the Board, but whom as I've mentioned here so many times, has assiduously avoided showing her face in public in Hallandale Beach for well over a year.)
I've personally videotaped Runcie all three times -and have taken plenty of photos, too- though I've chosen not to post them here or on my YouTube Channel.
At this point, I feel fairly confident that I can tell what direction he's going to take a discussion based upon what the question posed to him is.
That's actually part of the problem -how the questions have so often been posed to him.
I don't know who first told told Mr. Runcie that the idea of having Broward taxpayers and parents write questions via index cards -read by someone else- was a great idea, but it's not.
I see it as both patronizing and condescending and it's precisely the sort of awkward attempt at (mis)communication that the Broward Schools needs to get away from -quick.
Mr. Runcie is very articulate and an agile conversationalist who can talk about a host of issues for long period of time if he wanted to.
He does not need -nor do taxpayers want to see- someone there as a handler, largely to translate what are almost always very understandable questions.
If I'm going to show up for something like this, I think I can also pretty well frame a relevant question for him in the hours and days leading up to the meeting.
Maybe several, and having attended three of these before, I also know what NOT to ask.
For those folks who show up and can't ask a question in the form of a question, it's not my problem.
Everyone there can either laugh at them or ignore it, but I have to say that this notion that so many School employees are necessary to be present at these get-togethers, to form a phalanx of protection, is getting more preposterous with each passing meeting.
One person will do, nicely, thanks!
If you ask me, that same person could/should also pop a videocamera onto a tripod and point and then get out of the way.
That there hasn't been at least one person within the school system who had the common sense to tape the remarks he's made at any of the dozens of places he's been and put them online on a School system website or a YouTube Channel for taxpayers and parents to see, is ridiculous.
Not tape every meeting but at least one of them?
I seem to personally have more of them on DVDs near my computer than the entire Broward School system does.
What gives with all the continued indifference and half-assed effort?
Where are the signs of those positive changes we were promised?
Some content originally contained in this post has been moved to:
More business-as-usual at Broward School Board is NOT good news for students, parents or taxpayers; Why the need by Broward Schools officials to impose omertà on school volunteers in Broward?; the very curious Hallandale High School roof situation reveals much about School Board's culture; Why is South Florida news media largely ignoring Broward Schools Diversity Comm. and their Audit Comm.?