Monday, July 30, 2007

Remember the Mayor's Role in Education

It has gotten pretty far down the list of posts, so I want to bring it back because it is central to my judgement that David Briley will make a better mayor for education than the other candidates. He, more that the rest, has the experience and understanding that will enable him to hit the ground running with the proper role for the mayor's office in the educational policy context. Clement and Dean have good ideas, but it will take a while for these ideas to be translated into actions. The school board, and central administration guard the idea side of things by tradition and authority. The mayor must create a context in which those good ideas move forward and educational policy is supported and celebrated. Dean, Clement, Dozier, and Gentry may be able to do that, and on that list, I think Gentry has the most promising experience and statements, but Briley knows exactly how to do it. He has done it both at the Lockeland school and on the City Council. If you support public education, and everyone has called this the education election, then Briley is the clear choice.

1 comment:

Nashteach said...

David Biley will be best on education for several reasons. First, he's been involved- he's been a part of the dialogue. Even though the mayor's role is, in some ways, secondary, Briley's reputation and experiences will make him a relevant part of any dialogue about schools going forward. Right now in Metro Schools, there is a lot of division, especially between teachers and the Garcia administration. Morale is low. There is a huge lack of trust. Principals are expected to be more responsive to Dr. Garcia than to their own community stakeholders. Briley is in a unique position to pull all these "factions" together and make us feel like the TEAM that has disappeared in MNPS over the last six years.

Second, Briley's idea for a long term budget plan will be good at removing the political manipulations that take place most every year and hit a fever pitch every fourth (tax reassesment). As an employee, parent, and political activist, I have seen the damage this annual "crisis" does. To get more money, stakeholders are expected to decry the terrible conditions in schools. Some is true, some is overblown, but sadly, the kids and the community are listening and lose confidence in our schools. This vicious cyce must stop. Briley is the only candidate to address this problem, and he has come up with a thoughtful solution: a longer term budget plan. This will also improve public confidence in the way MNPS spends tax dollars.

Briley gets the big picture and the long term picture in a way no mayoral candidate does or has. That's one of many reasons he gets my vote.

Tom