Thursday, August 6, 2009


The distract, where I attended school K-12, just had a levy fail. The school board has decided to cancel band and football. I think this is a shame. Do I think it is the voters fault. Nope. Clearly the school board did a poor selling their plan and knowing the mentality of the distract when I was there and I have to ask myself, why would that have changed, they put it to the voters - VOTE FOR THIS LEVY OR LOSE FOOTBALL. Right because all of us know, who have any marketing sense that threatening people gets them to make a positive buying or spending decision. Sometimes marketing through fear works I suppose, insurance companies bank on that, you fear losing your life's savings so you insure it.

But voting on tax levies, I am not sure the marketing through fear and threats is the way to go. I would not have swayed me.

In the hopes of full disclosure I did vote for the levy in the shamrock city. I wasn't going to, but I read the materials provided by the distract and I reviewed how they planned to spend every single nickel and decided, I agreed with their assessment and their plans. I was behind the improvements for the security of the buildings. I agreed with the districts appraisal of future long term revenue figures and I appreciated their conservative approach to their forecasts, especially in a down economy.

Threats work for the mafia but not so much for business. In case you are wondering, School Distracts are a business and should be run like one. They are a not for profit, but the decisions made must be grounded in financial principals and economic realities. if the tax bases is doing with less, they need to do with less. If the tax bases is forging raises then the teachers and administrators and board members do with out also.

I will also say this. While I believe extracurricular activities are very important to social development, in Europe and Japan, the sports and music and clubs are not school affiliated. They are after school, and separate from the school day. If you play soccer in Germany, in may be with the same friends you attend school with, but it is not for the school team, it is for a local club team. If you plan in musical trio or sing in the choir, you do so at school, for a private music school or attend a performing arts school.

I think if we truly want to compete academically with schools around the world, we need to have more focused instruction and less extra curricular. Extra curricular is for after the school day.

Now if we want to offer a well rounded package, which focuses on the overall well being of our children, then I think that is a different story. I do not happen to think we can do both, with the funding system we have in this country. In Japan and India, pressure is on in the schools and it is about learning, not being a well rounded social participant.

As with everything there have to be trade-offs. There have to compromises. The problem is, I think, that we are unwilling to make a commitment to those trade offs and continue to want it both ways.

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