In an email to supporters yesterday titled “Contract with Collier County – AN URGENT CALL TO ACTION in Advance of the August 26, 2014 School Board Election,” Doug Lewis, with the support of SWFL Citizens Alliance, wrote,
If, on August 26, we elect candidates from each of the three Districts who have signed the “Contract with Collier County”, voters will have a Board majority that can return a voice to parents and teachers, protect our students, and improve the quality of our local educational system.
In my opinion, what’s in the contract is beside the point.
Candidates for elected office should not commit to ANYTHING in advance. They need the flexibility to consider the facts and circumstances of each decision, with appropriate community input AT THE TIME.
That said, their “Contract with Collier County” contains these points, as summarized in their email:
- Returning memorization, multiplication tables and phonics to our elementary classrooms.
- Moving Board meeting times back from 4 pm to a time that allows working taxpayers to attend.
- Establishing protections to ensure that all textbooks (including all newly purchased Common Core District textbooks and materials that will be in our classrooms this year) are factually accurate.
- Eliminating the Bring Your Own Device program from our elementary schools.
- Authorizing the District to lobby against data mining of our children to protect privacy rights. [For background on this, see PolitiFact Florida, here.]
- Fixing the Superintendent’s current contract to give the Board the ability to properly manage and incentivize the Superintendent, etc.
While some of these ideas may be worthy of Board and community discussion, there’s no need to require candidates to sign a “contract” or pass a “litmus test” before the election.
We should make our voting decisions based on candidates’ values and experiences, not their willingness to sign a “contract” to get this group’s endorsement.
The SWFL Citizen’s Alliance email goes on to identify the School Board candidates who signed the contract, and those who did not:
District 1: Kelly Lichter and Jacob Winge signed; Kathy Greenawalt did not.
District 3: Erika Donalds and JB Holmes signed; Luis Bernal and Kathy Ryan did not.
District 5: Tom Andler signed; Roy Terry did not.
SWFL Citizen’s Alliance has targeted District 5 in particular, noting that “District 5 is the key race for majority control of the Board and voters need to know that Tom Andler was the only candidate in District 5 that signed the Contract with Collier County.”
I support Kathy Greenawalt for District 1, Luis Bernal for District 3, and Roy Terry for District 5. Read why in my post of July 25.
ALL REGISTERED VOTERS in Collier County can vote in this election, in ALL THREE School Board races, regardless of the district they live in.
Early voting starts next Thursday, August 14. For information about voting and the elections, including early voting dates and sites, go to www.colliervotes.com.
There is MUCH AT STAKE in this election. Not only is it important that YOU vote, but it’s also important that you help GET OUT THE VOTE.
If you’d like to help me do so, let me know.