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Forest Park, don’t ignore the D209 election

As campaign information gets distributed via mail, e-mail, news media and word of mouth, I am constantly reminded of the chaos that’s been the trademark of Proviso high schools.

From a generalist’s perspective the real challenge is clearly the status quo versus a focused move to positive change. Let me define a generalist’s perspective. A “generalist” in physical conditioning terms would yield Lance Armstrong. A “non-generalist” in physical conditioning terms would yield Popeye’s forearms!

A problem solving process taken out of context and from specialized isolated only positions will produce convoluted results. Educational, civic and social issues are complex, relational and interdependent.

Some BOE candidates are repeatedly prescribing the same tired rhetoric of education reform and the promised security of tried and tested business practice remedies for the salvation of District 209.

What has happened in addressing educational issues as the main topic? Are we as voters, parents, elected officials and the media considering a generalist viewpoint? Addressing testing and or finance allocations are the most popular but clearly not all the important issues. Armstrong or Popeye? Progress or pandering?

Here is an example; there is a BOE candidate who is also an instructor at Triton College. He teaches a class in their finance/business curriculum. He maintains the poor quality of Proviso students he is paid to teach that take his class. I wonder how the students feel. Wearing his hat as finance professional he is convinced that as a board member he will correct the misguided 209 funding by properly accounting for every penny of taxpayers’ money.

Here is another perspective from Jim Collins, a teacher formerly on the faculty of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

“We must reject the idea-well intentioned but dead wrong-that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become ‘more like business.’ Most businesses-like most of everything else in life-fall in between mediocre and good. Few are great. When you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness.”

So why would should we want to import these practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?

I am inclined to appreciate Mr. Collin’s views. I would hope that the other teacher/finance professional/BOE candidate might want to exchange ideas with him. His teaching website is www.jimcollins.com.

I am passionate in this challenge to all Forest Park citizens and voters. Please give the District 209 Board of Education election the “time of day.” The Proviso Rising initiative has merit, check it out. Find out what the candidates really stand for. Consider the role of a BOE member. Give public education and our Proviso high schools the attention and priority it needs to succeed. It will take an election to get there; don’t waste this opportunity to vote responsibly.

Bob Cox
Forest Park

Greetings, columnist

Welcome to new columnist Andrea Blaylock! I look forward to reading what’s on her mind in future editions.

Shelley Sandow
Forest Park