Students need an education on the Board of Ed


Be honest. You skipped past the Board of Ed coverage on page five.

Tell me you at least read the lede.


Come on, guys.

All right, so I’m biased. On the off chance that you tune into channel 79 on Monday nights at eight, you’ll probably see my mother sitting up there on the right wearing the necklace I told her was a little loud for a budget meeting.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been attending Board of Education meetings, alternatively as a member of the board, later chairwoman and as director of human resources for the district. Monday night at my house is notoriously a time for ordering in or pre-made casseroles–if you catch her at the wrong moment, you might even see Marge glancing down at her phone mid meeting to text some quick reheating instructions.

And at 11:00 p.m. –on a good night– when the meeting ends and my mom comes home, I get a full debrief. What is most surprising about these run-downs, other than the fact that the public comment on cutting Art Smart lasted two hours, is that I had no idea they were thinking about cutting Art Smart.

Local government, though potentially less glamorous than its national counterpart, is quietly, and constantly, making decisions that directly affect us.

Turn on C-Span on any given day, and you might see a congressional discussion establishing Buffalo as the national mammal. But turn on public broadcasting, catch a BOE meeting, and it is exceedingly likely that the subject at hand will have an impact, however small, on your daily life.

This is why we can’t afford not to know they’re thinking about cutting Art Smart, or changing the start time, or implementing new standardized tests. A lot of times, changes occur in the school system and are implemented, and the student body in general is caught by surprise.  While there is undoubtedly room for more communication by the board, a little student initiative to be informed can go a long way.

Years ago, when Arena was being cut, no students showed up to plead its case. The board then took this as an indication that no one cared. But if no one cared, why were the sophomores in my math class complaining all through Communication ime and asking what they could do?

But it’s impossible to speak at a meeting in favor of (or against) Arena if the meeting has already happened.

Decisions about the school that we all go to should not be happening to us. They are happening around us and we should join in making them.

This doesn’t mean spending every Monday night in the Staples cafeteria. Rather, look at the meeting agenda that’s published online the week before. Glance over the proposed budget, also conveniently available online. Included in this budget are goals the Board has for the year.

Last year, one of the goals was to reevaluate graduation requirements. To the seniors now suffering through electives they hate, but need in order to graduate – you missed your chance.

So maybe flip back to page five and check out that budget coverage. It’s not “hot parents,” but it is just as pressing.