If this is, as you, Evan Brandt, wrote in your article about the new director of Paid, " ... the Urban Land institute recommended, among other things, that economic development be taken out of the hands of politicians and put into the hands of a professional staff." the most intelligent way of inspiring economic growth in Pottstown, wouldn't it follow that promoting educational excellence would be best accomplished by putting it in the hands of a truly professional staff ?
Some of the least equipped politicians are those first time school board members many of whom where elected on single issue platforms. With very little training they took their seats with an idea to make their single issue the dominant theme of the new year. By enlarge, they're not the professionals the education system sorely needs. How many years have been wasted on board member bickering over the arcane idea of walkable schools. Walkable schools were mandatory for most students a century ago when one roomers were centered in small but more highly populated areas. This is the 21st Century quite different from earlier times. How many tax dollars have been spent on dusty, shelved architect studies ? I bet you can't guess !
School districts hire professionals to be educational superintendents, and principals, and teachers, and administrative managers but not to be therapists hired for immature school board members. Districts should be regionalized as already accomplished by The Intermediate Unit concept, something like twenty seven regions dividing up the state. Then existing school properties could be organized into a more efficient use of the public's assets. Taxes, however levied, would be broad based and used much more equitably for every student. Teacher's salary packages would be broadened out to the regions average, which in our Intermediate Unit area would be the whole of Montgomery Country.
Educational professionals are not to be confused with systems professionals. Each effective in their own field but are of different values to their bosses, the tax payers. Just as economical development is different from governance, so is running a school district's business different from teaching students. Until we accept these differences and climb out of the box titled, "We've Always Done It This Way", we will never change the system rooted in the thinking it still serves an agrarian era and imitates the structures of an industrial time.
Ronald C. Downie