Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back on the Radar Screen

I have been uncharacteristically quiet for the past year or so. It feels like time to get back into the blogging business. People have expressed concerns about the issues and challenges facing the schools in Newburyport. Local media is not always able to, or inclined to present nuanced issues in all their complicated and messy glory. Other commendable local blogs are helpful, but don’t focus on the particular issues affecting schools regularly. A real public conversation about the schools is usually limited to a brief period before School Committee meetings; and thus far, even that is available only to those attending the meeting. The rest of the debate is held in blog posts and through letters to the editors. Those places provide great vehicles for expressing an idea, but leave a lot to be desired as a way to bring new and fresh ideas to the table for vetting.

The community should have a place to go for a dialogue about the long-term implications of the challenges we face. We need information, context, explanation, and a place to challenge assumptions and raise concerns about our schools.

Schools are no less important to me, and the larger community, than they were when I last posted in 2008. Some of the issues are old, some of the challenges we face as a community are new, and unprecedented. I’ve always believed that if you give the community all the information they need to make a decision, you significantly increase the likelihood they will make a good, compassionate decision. Solid, factual information is truly the down payment on the democratic process, and impending elections are always a good time to ante up.

Over the coming months, I will attempt to clarify some of the complex issues facing our schools and the community. Too often, local news reporting fails appreciate the larger context in which issues arise. Sometimes they do not, or cannot examine issues that cannot be easily rendered in black and white. I hope this blog will help. I will continue to strive for balance in the presentation of those issues; but again, I strongly believe that transparency rules, and that an informed community will get it right most of the time.

I write as a member of the community, as a parent, and as one of seven elected School Committee members. I do not write on behalf of the full Committee; nothing I say should be construed as representing the deliberations of the full Committee. I’m on my own here, folks. Again. Thanks for taking the time to read. And to think for yourselves. Those two practices make Newburyport a far better place to raise our kids.

Check back in the coming weeks, y'all. Let the conversation begin.


Marilyn said...

Hi Bruce,
I'm glad to see you're back in the blog business. Thanks for keeping us informed. I really appreciate your work.

Your daughter is a spectacular kid, and your little son seems adorable as well. You must be very proud. Thanks for all you do.

Tom Ryan said...

Welcome back, Bruce. It's been a strange year without your written voice out there.