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What does it take to be a school board candidate

By Gerald Totten
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2004

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Postings in the chatham chatlist as well as the Chatham Online Bulletin Board have suggested some qualifications for school board candidates. They can't live in the Governor's Club area, they must not be transplanted "Yankees", one has to be black, one has to be female and they almost have to be native born in Chatham County. Any less qualification is thought to be a disqualification.


What we really need are people with vision, people with logical thought processes, planners, people with a real interest in improving the educational opportunities for our children and, above all, people with integrity. Having lived in many areas of the world, the ability to capture ideas from others has been nourishing. We could all learn from many of our newer residents.

Ignore the superficial and look into what makes the candidate tick.

The fact some people have earned the ability to afford a million dollar house should not be a detriment of our beliefs about them but it shows success just as much as those of us who live in less expensive houses enjoy. As Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs shows, we seek our own levels.

Next, many of the residents who have chosen Chatham County bring to us more solid school backgrounds than we offer. We should capitalize on those attributes rather than shun them. The abilities of these folks should be the primary consideration of who gets elected to our boards, not whether they talk southern or enjoy chitlins and Philly hoagies over our black eyed peas and turnip greens.

It has been suggested a visit to the BOE meetings in Chapel Hill would be an eye-opener. Their meetings are said to be logical, thoughtful and, because of the interest residents have in their actions, reasonable. We do not enjoy that unity. We appear to want to continue the we vs. they, black vs. white, male vs. female, eastern Chatham vs. western Chatham, the haves vs. the perceived have nots, etc. instead of taking the best from both worlds and getting on with the business of improving Chatham County. UNITY.

When will we realize mass of forces is going to accomplish much more than the splintering effects we have now?

Ignore the superficial and look into what makes the candidate tick - honesty, responsibility, desire to do a good job for all of the residents instead of a small segment and then hold them accountable. We fail miserably in that arena to my mind.

By continuing to make sure candidates only meet the criteria as summarized in the first paragraph, we continue to get what we have now. We don't learn from our past history and by not doing so, we will repeat that history.

It's too bad but we have overlooked some mighty good, honest people with our narrow-mindedness. It isn't too late to correct our course.

What does it take to be a school board candidate

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