April 19, 2023

Barbara Geistwhite: Take time to learn about school board candidates: the education of your children depends on it

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As some states enter election season, retired educator and school board member Barbara Geistwhite reminds us that school board elections really do matter.

Rarely have school board elections been more important to the health of our community and the future of our children. To listen to only the loud voices proclaiming what is wrong with our local schools does all of us a disservice. Central Pennsylvania is fortunate to have some of the best performing school districts in the state.

By any measure, most of our students perform well and find a path to productive citizenship. For those who struggle, districts have a vast network of services in place to level the playing field and make it easier for students to learn. Sadly, the dissident voices we are hearing at school board meetings are not productive. To hear their impassioned speeches, you would think schools are doing nothing right.

They continue to find fault with the many efforts made by schools and dedicated educators to give all students the tools necessary to succeed. These voices would have us think equity is a dirty word when, in fact, it means just the opposite.

I would argue that fair isn’t always equal. Would you ask a blind child to learn the same way you would a sighted one? How about an autistic one? Of course not. Their needs are not the same.

Geistwhite lists a few more of the accomplishments of local school districts and then turns to the question of selecting board members.

So, what do we need going forward as we engage in deciding who will best serve our community’s needs in the upcoming school board elections? It isn’t people who are endlessly finding fault with what our schools are doing.

We need intelligent, dedicated people who are willing to build on the successes of our local school districts and continue the hard work of making them better.

Please take the time to get involved and educated. Talk to those who have students in our schools. Find out about all the quality learning being provided. The future of our children and our community depends on it.

Read the full op-ed here. 

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