Editorials

School board members ought to do the homework

One of the major components the public education system asks of students is homework.

We sure wish our local school boards would ask the same of themselves, and do their own homework before taking votes on critical -- or any issues -- before them.

More than once in recent memory a Tri-Cities school board has had to reverse a decision because those who voted in the first place said they didn't understand the consequences of their actions. And if they'd only known then what they know now, the original vote would have been different and controversy would have been avoided.

Most recently, the Kennewick School Board reversed a decision it made a month earlier on access to school resources by noncurricular clubs.

The policy prevented those clubs from using school yearbooks, newspapers and the PA system to tell students of their activities.

Federal requirements dictate that all noncurricular clubs be treated equally in regard to school resources. The issue had come about when the board was discussing how to provide for gay-straight alliances in its schools. And rather than grant all clubs the same access to resources, the board voted to remove their access altogether.

That decision had far-reaching consequences, taking away privileges from clubs that promote academic achievement and conduct food drives, for example.

That's something the board members say they didn't understand at the time. But they should have.

Instead, it appears that the board members cast a vote on something they really didn't have the facts in place to make a decision about. We certainly would expect them to be well-versed on topics that require a vote of the board. It's their sworn duty to do what's best for the district and they can't do that if they don't understand the issues at hand.

It really reflects poorly on the board members that they do not take into consideration the gravity of their decisions. But it is heartening to know that they can admit when they are wrong, and take another vote to correct their course.

It's just too bad they didn't do their homework in the first place.

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