Yeah, yeah, I know there’s a Presidential election going on but this post isn’t about that race. Frankly, that race is a dumpster fire and I’d rather not spend any more time than I have to thinking about it.
Locally, we have a school board election going on. And while it hasn’t been as bad the national stuff, it’s still been a little disheartening to see the levels some will stoop for positions of power.
In one shining example, we have one candidate who decided it was a good idea to set up a fake The Facebook account and troll citizens and other candidates: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article245638050.html — Yes, a grown man, thinking it’s okay to catfish people on the internet to help advance his cause of getting elected for a non-paid, school board trustee position.
We live in an area with good schools. Lots of folks have moved to our community based on the school district and the schools inside of it. I googled it and we get an ‘A’ rating in whatever measurement is being used.
In the race, there are three positions up for grabs. One empty seat and two seats that incumbents are trying to get re-elected into. (And for full disclosure, I know two of the candidates on a first name basis on the ballot. Both incumbents; both good people; and both have done a good job, in my opinion.) There are seven candidates running for three spots. And while I had wondered about it a month or two ago, it wasn’t fully clear until this week that most of the candidates had essentially grouped themselves (or had been intentionally arranged together by outside forces) save for the one lady that unfortunately doesn’t look like she stands a chance.
Note: I have an opinion that school board elections or trustees shouldn’t be much in the way involved with partisan politics. Sure, what you believe may leak out a bit in all that you do subconsciously — but at the same time — you are called to make decisions for the greater good of all 13,885 students and 1,000-ish teachers. It isn’t typically party line stuff.
Unfortunately, it’s 2020 and we’re all keenly aware of how that’s treated us.
For clarity’s sake, let me break the available ballot options for you:
Trustee, Place 5
- Coley Canter (a)
- Lori Crenshaw (c)
- Tommy Snyder (b)
Trustee, Place 6
- Casey Ford (b)
- Doug Noell* (a)
Trustee, Place 7
- Jorge Rodriguez* (a)
- Cacy Tischer (b)
* incumbent candidate
(a) (b) (c) candidate groupings have they have come to light
All listed alphabetically by last name
I got some mail this week.
Of the snail mail kind. Two pieces that came — ironically — on the same day.
Both pieces exist and have the goal of swinging my vote one direction or the other. Both are printed and presented in the (a) (b) groupings above; neither are advertisements for a single candidacy.
And frankly, both made me want to throw up in my mouth a little.
Group A:This may seem trite to you but design actually matters to me. And if it doesn’t matter to you, it should.
Design — good or bad — can sway things. Emotion, decisions, elections… I could go on. Unfortunately for group A, somebody decided to pay for and mail out a flyer on their behalf that is atrocious. There is statement on the back that it is not affiliated with any candidate; it is also fairly clear about which candidates it wants me to rally behind.
What’s not clear is anything else it wants me to understand.
After some time spinning it around 360 degrees to read everything; sifting through the magnitude of typefaces and sizes; holding my nose through the blatant partisanship; I ultimately ended up being most disturbed by the last line on the back of the piece:
Paid for by a proud Trump voting, gun toting GCISD parent
I have zero idea if any candidate has falsely claimed to have been appointed to West Point. But now I have to wonder. I have zero ideas if any of the candidates in group B wants to raise taxes. But now the seed has been planted. I have zero idea if any candidate in the B group has ever said, “let’s de-fund the police in schools” (I highly doubt it) but it’s a hot button topic so let’s add that into the mix as well.
What I do know is that while group A did not create, pay for, or mail out this flyer; they just got tied to Trump whether they wanted to be or not. It was unnecessary and unfortunately it may hurt them more than it helps them.
Takeaways from the flyer for group A:
Your flyer is ugly — design matters and this hurts people’s eyes. You’ve co-opted the ‘fake news’ narrative while putting unsubstantiated claims all over your piece. You’ve firmly pulled candidates into a partisanship situation when they may have not wanted that at all.
You get an F.
Group B:Your design, though not appealing to me, is at least better from a digestible standpoint. There is hierarchy to it. The typefaces are legible. It’s fairly organized. It’s immediately clear on who it supports. It’s also clear on the partisan politics side where you stand.
What matters to me is that, content-wise, this isn’t a win either. As someone who tries to care — at least somewhat — about grammar, this flyer also gets an F.
It’s probably a little hard to read here but there are five “questions” on the front of the document. And five sets of possible answers for each question, all true or false options.
The problem is, in any case that I can think of, True or False problems/questions on any test are never that: questions. True or False “questions” are always statements and you are presented with two options: to agree or disagree with that statement.
1. Did the School Board Trustees vote unanimously to ignore their own surveys and parent input?
a. TRUE b. false
5. Has the in-classroom/remote learning hybrid model been an unmitigated disaster for GCISD teachers, students and families?
a. TRUE b. false
Now, I will agree that these questions are ones with binary answers (yes/no). But they are not statements that should be agreed with or disagreed with (true/false). And that’s where I see the issue lying… this flyer was created for candidates running for election to be leaders over a school district; one where we should be teaching our students proper grammar and use cases. If we expect our students to know how to take tests and answer binary questions/statements, shouldn’t we have the right to expect the same from our leaders?
Design (and/or paying freaking attention to details) matters.
What I’d like to vote for
What GCISD needs isn’t party line politics driving our school board elections (and the ironic part is that all six candidates in group A and group B are Republicans tryout to out-Republican each other).
What we need is intelligent, service-minded folks who care about kids, school finance reform, and figuring out how we educate students in the modern era. Tell me your vision for what schools should look like going forward. Tell me what you think kids should be learning. Tell me your great ideas on how to bring all students up while doing away with the insane standardized testing routine we’ve had for decades.
Also, tell your PAC and trump-loving, gun-toting buddies to hire a real designer and a content specialist.
PS. Tommy Snyder, you need a haircut. That thing on your head is gross.