Quorum Call

I’ll start with the good news. Yesterday I got far enough in my house painting so that today will be the last day I have to fuss around with oil based primer. If the good weather holds out I’ll be able to finish up tomorrow by covering over the worst of the paint damage from last winter with a nice coat of latex paint. Simple water and soap clean up.

Then I attended the EEAC meeting. My notes from the meeting are in my car along with a bunch of three ring binders that were left in the Administrative Office hallway with a sign saying recycle/re-purpose. The offices are all being changed around because of an administrative reorganization and the Board room is all higgledy-piggledy with old office equipment that will soon be auctioned off.

The key word in EEAC is one of the E’s – “Equity.” That is the new word that the Red Plan unleashed to make sure that East High got its own stadium while Denfeld got the worst testing scores for minorities in its history. The old word, in what amounts to the same committee, was “Deseg,” short for Desegregation. Desegregation is out of favor now which accounts for the name change. Like a rose by any other name it still smells the same but I don’t think I would describe the order as a fragrance.

I’d describe the committee as being a little like Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She was Teddy Roosevelt’s eldest and most ornery child. Years after her Father’s death she made the comment that she would rather vote for Hitler for President than her fifth cousin Franklin. Teddy said of her that he could either run the United States or manage Alice. He chose the government. I think that is how a long line of Superintendents have operated with this committee.

When I was on the Board eighteen years ago I was blessedly unable to attend its meetings except in the Summer when our church choir was on hiatus. That’s because it met on Wednesdays during the year when our choir practice also took place. My recollection of the few Deseg meetings that I did attend is that they were always having trouble getting quorums to make decisions. Its membership, those not discouraged by its disorganization, were culled from various minorities in an arcane process determined by bylaws that made the Committee look a little like the Lebanese Government. Like Lebanon that make up has led to civil war. Different minorities got different numbers of votes on the committee due to whim, apparently. Things hadn’t improved judging by last night.

Like Deseg, Equity isn’t sure what its rules are; what money it can spend; whose in charge and what’s on second. One of the big discussion points had to do with why it couldn’t spend money on meals for its meetings any more. Its different minorities seem to be in a state of tension with different goals. Predictably it took an hour for its quorum to materialize. I’m not sure it ever did because I might have been counted as part of it despite the fact that I’m not Art Johnston’s alternate and Art was missing. The quorum left after about an hour and a half when three members from one ethnic group looked at each other and left together with apologies. The crux of the meeting, testing results showing how inadequately our district has addressed the needs of minority students, were passed out when the Committee was down to about three of the necessary eight members for a quorum……I think they were counting me.

I can’t do much about the School Board at this point and I’m not a member of Equity which seems to match the Board’s dysfunction. But Equity is not Alice Roosevelt. Its part of our school government. If we want to give our minority students (or free and reduce lunch kids if you want a non-ethnic characterization) a leg up, we will need Equity in the District whether it comes from this committee or not.

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