I think I've said before that I don't like unopposed elections. I like the contests to be credible, to offer a choice. But to me that's just the point - we voters deserve a choice. There is alternative thinking - real thinking, going on about issues that effect our community, our country. I have meaningful relationships with some politicians, but no matter the relationship and no matter how much I might like him or her, no politician earns the luxury of thinking they have a 'right' to their office.
So imagine my surprise when I find out that in the upcoming May 14 Dallas Independent School Board election there are NO CHALLENGERS TO ANY SCHOOL BOARD SEAT!
As a matter of fact, Colleen McCain Nelson of the Dallas Morning News writes...
"In the Dallas school district, not a single race will be contested. In fact, DISD may go ahead and cancel the May election..."
"Three seats on the DISD board of trustees were supposed to be on the ballot. But as it turns out, incumbents Adam Medrano and Carla Ranger drew no opposition. Trustee Jack Lowe isn't seeking re-election, but even his open seat compelled only one brave soul, Mike Morath, to take the plunge and run."
"This decided lack of interest in the school board -- and perhaps, by extension, the school district -- comes at a time when DISD is staring down crippling state-imposed budget cuts. Teachers will be laid off. Class sizes will grow. Schools will suffer as a result. The trustees will be forced to make tough but important decisions as they consider how to do more with less. And no one is willing to step up to the plate and seek this job?"
"Parents are staging rallies, pushing back against the district's proposed cuts. Yet no one would get involved and run for these posts? Admittedly, serving as a DISD trustee is a daunting and probably pretty thankless task. But it's disheartening to see elections canceled for lack of candidates at a time when the district urgently needs strong leadership."
Public education is facing its most significant challenge, both in terms of it's effectiveness and funding...not to mention teachers, facilities, curriculum, charter schools, school closings...and NO ONE has a better idea?
If we want to know just how disengaged we have become, this may be what people call 'the canary in the coal mine'.
Be afraid...be very afraid. Or ashamed...