By Web Master, 9-21-12
By John Fuller
An often over-looked office in the quadrennial election season is the statewide election of the superintendent of public instruction.
Besides being a member of the Land Board, the state superintendent supervises the disbursement of both state and federal education funds as well as executes the administrative rules of the Montana State Board of Public Education over all public K-12 schools.
Despite being last on the radar of voters when they choose statewide elected officers, the office (after the governor’s) may actually have the most influence on Montana’s families’ daily lives.
A seminal difference in the platform of the two candidates for this office this year is their views on individual local school boards.
Local control over local schools is as old as America, but statists know that who controls the schools, controls the children.
And for over 80 years, the growing centralization of school policy, funding and control has been promoted by those who believe that big government is necessary to do all things for the most people, including controlling the education of our youth.
So voters need to determine which is better for their children: local parents making policy or union-dominated experts promoting liberal agendas from afar.
By Joe Carbonari
It seems to me that the most important ingredient in determining the success or failure of an individual’s learning process is whether they are actually engaged in the activity.
Subject matter, physical environment, and a host of other factors come into play, but the teacher’s presentation, the human element, makes the biggest difference.
We need the benefit of state and nationally developed basic curriculum guidelines and educational tools. The freedom to adapt and innovate is perhaps even more important.
The interaction between teacher and student is the key, and each student and each teacher is different. To be successful, approaches have to vary.
These considerations suggest strong, supportive local boards working with teachers both to assure flexibility and to develop meaningful input for centrally administered funding and guidelines, which allow for locally determined, results-oriented evaluation and adaptation.
This also calls for a degree of involvement in local boards by parents and community members sufficient to assure that extremes of ideology, parsimony, or parochialism don’t come to inadvertently dominate an under-appreciated, under-attended board.
It’s our duty to participate fully, or suffer the consequences of letting others “mess” with our children’s minds.