Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Post-Election, Post-Executive Order Thoughts

In Ann Arbor, the guy who withdrew from the election--though not in time to remove his name from the ballot--and didn't campaign (Adam Hollier) beat the guy who did run, and did campaign (Ravi Nigam). Considering the low turnout, obviously the withdrawal wasn't publicized well enough. But I have often wondered, when people go to vote and they don't know who is whom, are they influenced by names? Was the "foreign-soundingness" of Ravi Nigam's name the ultimate factor in his loss? I'd hope not, but somehow I think so. Alternate explanations will be happily accepted.

In Saline, Craig Hoeft won one seat, but there is a close contest over the second seat (right now, Amy Cattell is ahead of Bari Lynn Livsey, but fewer than 50 votes separate them). 

In Willow Run, the long-time incumbent Andy Blakita has lost to two current parents, Joi Jenson and Anglesia Brown. Here's hoping that they keep the students' best interests in mind. In a recent Ann Arbor News article about closing Kettering School, board member Sheri Washington is quoted as saying, "Kettering is the closest school to enemy lines," she said. "It's a strategic school for us." No! No! No! That is the wrong attitude. Ypsilanti, Van Buren, Lincoln, Plymouth-Canton, and charter schools are NOT the enemy. The enemy is apathy and infighting that keeps Willow Run from seeking the best for its students. For its students--whether that means rejuvenation for WRCS, or merger. Good luck, Jenson and Brown! Remember: it's about giving Willow Run kids the best that you can.

The state is required by law to have a balanced budget, and it is the use of stimulus money that required the state to protect K-12 education in the latest executive order. Don't think, though, that yesterday's executive order won't have an effect on kids. (If you want to see the actual executive order, scroll down to the bottom of the page at this link.) Cuts to Department of Human Services, cuts to the Department of Community Health, cuts in payments to child care providers... the state budget director put it well when he called the budget "horrible." But there is probably worse to come, even in the next few weeks. It's hard to be an optimist.

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