February 18, 2011

A broken Electorate system. The Cobb County school calendar poll results visualized.

Last year, the Cobb County Board of Education voted on a balanced school calendar that starts school at the beginning of August and provides more frequent breaks throughout the year.  Despite this being voted in as a three-year calendar, some of the recently elected board members put forth a motion to change the calendar back to a more traditional calendar.  Here are the results from the survey they conducted to get community feedback:

View the School Board’s version of the results here.  I wonder if they intentionally put the results on separate pages to make it difficult to compare them side by side.  In the view above, you can clearly see that community overwhelmingly favors the August 1 calendar (the current calendar).

Which way did the school board vote?  4-3 in favor of the August 15th calendar.  Seriously!  How the hell does this happen?  Watch the motion hearing here.

Needless to say, parents are outraged. 

In a Democracy, an Electorate system is often put in place so that the interests of many are represented by a few.  The way it is “supposed” to work is that the representatives heavily weigh the opinions of their electorate when making decisions, but clearly four members of the school board have not in this case.  It’s incredibly sad that special interests appear to have played a part in the vote, but then again, that’s nothing new here in the USA; votes can easily be bought (see campaign contributions and pork barrel spending).

Some quotes of note:

WSB-TV: School board member Tim Stultz said “I'm not prepared to let one side just rule because they have majority numbers.”

Marietta Daily Journal:Beth Kriebel (a parent, PTA member, and my wife) spoke at the meeting and said “I think you’re taking a huge risk in changing something that greatly impacts any family that has a student in the school district. While campaign promises were made last year by some of you, what about the majority of Cobb County parents who have adjusted to the balanced calendar on good faith that no changes would be made?”

I’m proud of my wife for standing up and representing the interests of the great majority of Cobb County residents.