When my group started thinking about what project we could do that would benefit the community, we started analyzing the aspects of education we cared about. What we realized after working with students in an ELL program and in a high school writing center, that we cared about too many things: budget, policies, curriculum, graduation and dropout rates, classroom size, and how the state evaluates children’s progress. With a helpful nudge from our Professor, we went down the only logical path for us; an informational campaign to remind people why voting in the school board elections is important.
Voting for the people who run the School District is important. How we want education to look like and be is up to us as a community. If we do not show up at the ballot boxes we are allowing our voices to be silenced about budget spending, resources for classrooms, transportation, and teacher training.
My team plastered the PSU campus with reminder flyers, saturated our social media with various fun memes, and even handed out flyers at a local famer’s market. We wrote blogs detailing the various candidates and their stands, as well as, sending flyers home with the students we work with. Unfortunately, even with all of our efforts very few people voted in the last election. The Oregonian’s article Voters shouldn’t let meager percentage of ballots determine election: Editorial by The Oregonian Editorial Board on May 18th, 2015 reported that “in the PPS races, less than 13 percent of the309,000 eligible voters within the district boundaries” had cast their ballot the day before the deadline. As Election Day pasted and the ballots were counted, a scant “17.1 percent of the county’s registered voters” showed up to vote, as reported by Shasta Kearns Moore of the Portland Tribune (2015).
The School Board members work for you. They are appointed to serve our community and they set goals for our schools. According to the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) website they state that member’s duties include decisions “to be made on content, materials and methods of instruction” and that they are there to facilitate our education system, so it can “meet acceptable community standards as well as national, state andlocal mandates for school improvement”(2015). The Oregonian Editorial said it best though “Strong schools anchor neighborhoods, prepare students of all income levels for careers and future success and help ensure that businesses have qualified job candidates to help them grow” (Board, 2015).
Board, T. O. (2015, May 18). Voters shouldn’t let meager percentage of ballots determine election: Editorial. Oregonian. Retrieved from http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/05/voters_shouldnt_let_tiny_perce.html
Moore, S. K. (2015, May 21). Kohnstamm leads in Portland school election counts. Portland Tribune. Retrieved from http://cni.pmgnews.com/pt/9-news/260973-132637-kohnstamm-leads-in-portland-school-election-counts
Resources. (2015). Retrieved from The Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA): http://www.osba.org/Resources/Article/Board_Operations/What_Does_a_School_Board_Do.aspx