Board Members to Forever Hold Their Peace?August 28th, 2009 by Steven Gardner
Over on the Kitsap Education blog Marietta Nelson raises questions about the North Kitsap School District’s discussion of policy it’s considering.
A proposed item in the policy states, “The board speaks with one voice.” There’s more that, as Nelson puts it, “gives pause,” but the main argument made by one board member argues is that item would quiet dissent once the board as a whole makes an agreement. The logic can be phrased as, “Sure, you disagreed with the decision, but now that you lost please make sure you work with the rest of us to see that program works well.”
Would Congress adopt a policy like that?
Several members of Congress voted against the Iraq War (not technically) and then said they wanted the war to be successful. Some continued to call for immediate withdrawal. Nothing besides the impact it would have in the next election prohibited any member of Congress from speaking freely, even after the fact.
It seems to me, and the headline of this post was inspired by a comment made by Bob Meadows, that after the board makes a decision, time passes and circumstances change. This policy could have the chilling effect of not making it easy for the board to overturn a policy it once regarded as favorable, but upon further reflection wouldn’t seem to work. Under this policy, the argument goes, there would be no further reflection.
Is that advisable for a group of publicly elected officials?