116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
With all this talk recently about school reform, and the importance of education, and our children being our future and everything, I expect turnout for Tuesday's school board election to be - weak.
That's because despite all the lip service we pay to the idea of excellent schools, school board elections have, across the board, the most flat-out pathetic voter turnout of any election.
But all the nuts and bolts of educating - how many kids to a class, the condition of that classroom and materials, where it is, who the teacher is - I could keep going - is all decided at the local district level.
Even for voters who don't have kids, or don't care much about how they're educated, local school districts have their thumbs on a considerable amount of tax money.
So I'm always flabbergasted when only 3 percent, 5 percent of the voters bother to take a 2-minute trip over to their polling place to fill out a ballot.
OK, maybe 10 percent will make an effort if there's been some local scandal.
Just a few thousand dogged voters determining the direction of the local school board. So much for the voice of the people.
And I don't mean to single you out here, but did you even know there was a school board election on Tuesday (Sept. 13)?
You're not alone. Lucky for you, there's still time.
Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass is jetting off to Brazil to study how the schools are working there, but you don't even have to leave your house to help bring good ideas to our schoolrooms.
It's always important, but maybe especially so this year, when so many seats are up for grabs.
In Iowa City, 10 candidates, only one of them an incumbent, are running for five seats. Nine candidates are seeking four open seats on the Cedar Rapids school board.
Even in Marion, where five people are vying for four at-large seats, you've got some choice.
It's unusual for us to have so many competitive local school board races (don't even get me started on that). This year, candidates have stepped up to do their part - researching their districts, talking with teachers, sharing their ideas at forums and more. Now it's your turn.
So get off yer duff and vote on Tuesday. Make me eat my own jaded words. Believe me, I'd like nothing better.
Comments: (319) 339-3154; jen
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