Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb. 11, B: In Praise of Small Town Government (ALSO: 10, not 11)

Just back from a school committee meeting to discuss how to arrange the classes next year to increase savings while dealing with an only partially-built k - 8 school building. The 8th graders have been kept up at the high school this year, in less than ideal surroundings, and I was very alarmed when I read that the school committee was proposing to send next year's 8th grade back up there to save money while finishing work on the new school. I wrote letters (respectful ones), made phone calls, rallied the troops. . .oh, I think I discussed this in my "oops" post of this morning! Anyway, I was nervous.

Well, the meeting ended up being a really positive experience, as they often are. I was impressed by the demeanor of the whole committee--they were very professional but not in a threatening way, they moved through their business rapidly and efficiently, and they encouraged people to leave after the items they cared about were done, thus making that uncomfortable moment of leaving okay. Not only did the committee commit (!) to keeping the grades together, but they were clear in their commitment to educational quality.

And, most of all, I was once again reminded of, and humbled by, the amount of work some people do for no pay, little thanks, and certainly no recognition. That room was pretty full tonight, but I bet that most meeting nights the room is pretty empty and they still carry on. Impressive. And, ultimately, incredibly American. Wow.

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