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From the Publisher’s Desk


Dear Readers,

In today's chat, I'm diving into a topic that might stir the pot a bit. Now, before you jump to conclusions, hear me out. My aim isn't to point fingers or cast blame. Far from it. I'm here to nudge a conversation into the open, one that's been buzzing around my mind and, perhaps, might get you thinking too. So, let's approach this with open hearts and minds, shall we?

Here's the thing that's been keeping me up at night: school boards. More specifically, why do they often consist of individuals who haven't spent a day teaching in a classroom? It's a genuine curiosity of mine, not an accusation. I can't help but wonder, why are folks without a background in education shaping the policies and future of our schools? It's an intriguing conundrum, don't you think?

Consider this: Managing a classroom is no small feat. It requires a deep understanding of educational theories, practices, and, above all, the nuanced needs of students. So, it puzzles me how decisions about such a complex and delicate ecosystem are frequently made by those who haven't experienced it from the trenches. It's a bit like directing a play without ever having set foot on stage, isn't it?

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that all school board members lack insight or passion for education. Far from it. Many bring valuable perspectives and a fervent desire to make a difference. Yet, the question lingers—how does one navigate the intricacies of education policy without firsthand experience?

Let's chew on another morsel of food for thought. When schools were pivoting to hybrid or fully virtual models—a monumental shift—the decisions came from the top, from those school boards. Yet, when the dust settled, it was often the teachers who found themselves under the microscope, bearing the weight of critique for challenges far beyond their control. It strikes me as somewhat unfair, doesn't it? The teachers, who adapt, innovate, and strive to engage their students against all odds, end up facing the music for decisions made far from the classroom.

To draw a parallel, imagine electing a sheriff with no law enforcement background. While it's within the realm of possibility, it begs the question: Is it what we truly want for our communities? It's a comparison worth pondering, illustrating the broader theme of expertise and experience in leadership roles.

Now, as we meander through this topic, I want to stress that my aim isn't to undermine or devalue the contributions of current school board members. Many are undoubtedly committed to the welfare and success of our students. Could there be a missing piece of the puzzle, an explanation that makes the absence of educational professionals on school boards a net positive?

In the spirit of open dialogue, I invite you to ponder this with me. Perhaps there are angles I haven't considered, facets of the debate that shed light on the benefits of this structure. After all, every story has more than one side, and every question opens the door to deeper understanding.

So, as we wrap up this little heart-to-heart, remember: This isn't about casting blame or pointing fingers. It's about asking questions, sparking conversations, and maybe, just maybe, finding ways to bridge gaps in our understanding. Because at the end of the day, we all want what's best for our students, our teachers, and our communities. Let's keep the dialogue going, with open hearts and minds, always aiming for a brighter, more inclusive future for education.

Warm Regards,
Chris Herbolsheimer
West Plains Daily Quill & West Plains Gazette