The Oakland school board convenes its twice-monthly meetings at 4 p.m. — at least an hour earlier than most. Sometimes, they don’t adjourn until the next morning.
No matter how mundane the agenda, or how straightforward or short, the meetings almost always carry on into the bleary-eyed hours of the night, or morning. And around 10 p.m., like clockwork, the discourse starts to disintegrate — or maybe it’s just my own diminished ability to comprehend what’s being said.
Tonight, just before 11 p.m., board president David Kakishiba noted the hour and — to our collective relief — asked to postpone the last discussion item. I’m still fuzzy on what happened next.
We had made it to the “New Business” section, and some board members were trying to get certain issues on the next agenda (the status of an English teacher position at Paul Robeson High School, a staff report on the “substandard” facilities at Cox Elementary). Others — sometimes, simultaneously — tried to sort out what was policy-setting and what was micro-managing, and who decides what makes it onto the agenda.
“This must be what waterboarding feels like,” Ward Rountree, a former teacher’s union president executive director and board meeting regular, said after it finally ended.
I have a policy proposal. I know I’m not supposed to make these, only report them. But maybe someone else with educational credentials or clout can get this on the agenda one of these days, as the board figures out its new identity and what to do with its new-found powers.
The school board of the Oakland Unified School District shall not govern while drowsy, as the habit practice often results in a slower reaction time, decreased awareness and impaired judgment.
I’d leave the implementation of the policy for board members and staff to figure out. After all, I’m just a journalist. Who’s writing while drowsy.
image from deepereyes’ site on flickr.com/creativecommons