At what point does experience becomes entrenchment? Conventional wisdom suggests: “There is no substitute for experience.” “Experience” does not necessarily equate with longevity in office. It could mean a person gets one year of experience followed by eleven years of doing the same thing over and over. Long-term service also allows for an unhealthy familiarity with management. The check and balance between the legislative school board and the executive administration can be lost.
Ossification (solidification or entrenchment) in office is a clear and present danger, especially in times of significant change. If the current incumbents running for re-election all serve another term, they will have been in office an average of twelve years. Twelve years ago the Y-2K meltdown was looming large, 9/11 was unthinkable, the high tech bubble was building, unemployment was around 4%, the fear of global cooling was being replaced by a fear of global warming, and George “W” was running for his first term in office. Long-term office holders often have trouble adjusting to changing conditions and become blind to important options that are needed for the survival of the institution. Many suggest that the U.S. educational system is now in a survival crisis, pitting needs against special and/or entrenched interests.
The current ASD administration, with the support of the current School Board, is making the rounds to all the schools presenting their case for a new bond issue. This is the path administrators have followed for 100 years. They are proposing to increase our debt from the current $389,000,000 to around $600,000,000 in a deteriorating economy. We are in a post 9/11 era that demands a fundamental shift in our thinking and a return to a check and balance condition in the Alpine School District.
We need school board members who have fresh ideas, who are innovators and entrepreneurs by profession, who recognize the political indoctrination that is creeping into our schools, who are achieving academic excellence with their children. Tim Osborn is the newest board member and has led a one-man crusade for parental involvement and innovation in the school system. We need to elect others who share his vision. We need to use technology more, focus on basic skills, teach the importance of a constitutional republic and provide a way for parents to get more involved in their children’s education.