Public Mistrust Needs to be Built Not Trampled

Good evening. I urge the Board to deny Item # 1. The description is a tangle of words making it impossible to understand this proposed transaction of $ 3 million for a 3 year contract to “co-create the blueprint to recenter equity, innovation, and design into our schools”.  Why doesn’t this start with inclusion of teachers and school staff, students, and parents? The Racial Justice Organizing Committee and the Melanated Educators Collective have been doing this work for years. Being in the District they are acutely aware of the challenges. This Item continues this administration’s dismissal of the knowledge,expertise, and experience within the District. Outsourcing work has escalated during Dr. Hite’s tenure. Hopefully the next superintendent will see the value of  rebuilding district capacity. How was Network 2 selected? Network 2 schools cover a  wide range of neighborhoods. Will the professional development be tailored to each school community’s needs or will it be a one size fits all package? 

The Search for a New Superintendent appears to have public involvement, but transparency and accountability continue to remain major hurdles. Instead of posting notes and/or transcripts from each Listening  Session for public viewing the Board will issue their report compiling the data. How can we trust what is selected for inclusion without having seen any written materials? Will the public be able to comment on the job description? The Board handpicks an eleven-person Search Advisory Committee. How can eleven people represent the diverse city we live in? If the Board were committed to rebuilding trust they would end speaker suppression. How can you claim to support public engagement when our voices are silenced by your ever changing procedures? The Board’s selection of their eleven-member Search Advisory Committee behind closed doors brings to mind how this Board has been selected behind barricaded doors far away from public scrutiny or involvement. If you want trust you have to… [ SPEAKER’S MICROPHONE WAS CUT OFF HERE. The following is the testimony she was not allowed to finish.]

…consciously rebuild it not stomp on it. You discarded Board Committees, cut speaking time and capped the numbers of speakers, and are now considering silencing school staff through Policy 911. Proudly proclaiming there have been over 1,300 Listening Session participants is cringe-worthy when there are over 200,000 students in the District. Outreach at the last minute to engage people does not replace ongoing genuine public participation as part of your duty as government officials.