Also, last Monday, after we left the committee meeting, the kids and I attended the school board meeting. A couple of quick thoughts on that. First of all, I found it very interesting that their was an emphasis at one point in this meeting on promoting a program to help gifted children. On the surface, this is a wonderful idea, but what troubled me is that the conversation shifted briefly to using this program to lure more parents and others into the district to improve revenue. I scoffed at this only because it sounded more like a marketing ploy by a corporate board than it did a meeting of educators looking after what's in the best interest of our children.
The second and perhaps most important experience I had in attending the meeting was that upon my arriving and even when I was leaving, some appeared shocked that I would want to be part of this public gathering. One person - when I entered the room with my kids - literally said (almost with a look of dismay): "what are you doing here?" This individual was practically unsettled when I said that I just wanted to see what was going on in the meeting, and they remarked - a little defensively - that they're just not used to seeing citizens visit for this meeting. Additionally, both when I came in and when I left, I was approached about whether I needed something.
I know that citizens don't regularly attend any of these meetings, but they should attend and they should also be welcomed without question. These are open to the public because they are dealing with OUR CHILDREN using OUR TAXDOLLARS. I wasn't asked to leave and these people were still polite towards my family, but the attitude projected towards me as a common citizen was quasi-confrontational only because I was expected to have a motive for attending beyond my wanting to learn more about the inner-workings of a local government body.