Schools are not only a backbone to the economy but a defining factor in our country. The levels at which we maintain and uphold our school principles significantly determine what we get after giving education to students. However, the governance of schools is a new reflection level as the diversity of performance, and excellence standards are all influenced by the way schools are governed. While trying to be an active citizen in the public realm, I attended a public meeting of the City Arts and Tech High School which had many elected members invited from the Republican and Democratic parties. The main agenda for the public meeting at the school was diversity, and how to ensure that nobody feels left out in the push for achieving racial equality goals in the school. The elected members were the main speakers of the day so everybody was eager to see how they would handle the issue of diversity without exposing their political differences. The paper therefore, seeks to explain the measures that City Arts and Tech High School needs to implement to promote integration and the roadmap that will be used to ensure that nobody feels discriminated.
City Arts and Tech High School is located in 325 La Grande Avenue, San Francisco. The school harbors students from the ninth to the twelfth grade. Its staff is dedicated to empowering students with skills and knowledge to enable them to join and graduate from college. Despite the recognition of diversity in the institution, the management felt that it was not doing enough concerning promotion of racial integration in the school. That is the main reason for the public board meeting and the invitation of elected members from different political parties to brainstorm on ways in which the City Arts and Tech High School would become more inclusive.
During the meeting, a lot of issues concerning diversity were brought up. From the meeting, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) group was reportedly excluded from the diversity discussion. The board members argued that if City Arts and Tech High School was to achieve inclusion, it had to incorporate the LGBT individuals as they were also part of the San Francisco community. As soon as the issue of including LGBT was raised, a heated debate followed between the Republican and Democratic representative. The Democrats argued for the recognition of LGTB and not to be discriminated against, since they exercise their rights and freedoms. On the other hand, the Republicans were against the LGTB recognition since it can lead to depopulation as procreation will cease. The board members did appreciate their differences, but it is understood that they come up with their policies independent of their political influences. They suggested that high fines and court prosecutions be imposed on people found to be discriminating against LGBT people or even expulsion from school if the individuals happened to be students. The board arguments were based on the laws passed in the United States on June 26th, 2003. The rule concerning the LGBT explains that no individuals should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and references. The board members unanimously agreed that the law would not be implemented in the schools day to day governance. That made the Democratic party representatives storm out of the meeting angrily.
The board members also raised an issue concerning gender and employment stating that the working population should not be gender biased. They referred to the problem of having either many males surpassing that of females by far or the other scenario where women exceeded the number of males in the members of the employed staff. The board members emphasized that for diversity to be seen in an organization, it had to be visible from all dimensions with the workforce as a visible aspect. They all applauded, and unanimously agreed on the issue.
Another point made at the board meeting was the factor to deal with different races interacting and feeling comfortable around each other. Some of the present members of the board emphasized that most students who felt the ability of not plugging into the environmental school society resulted in being introverts or even loners. Suggestions were given to make the current art and creativity clubs more active and to give them support to attract more members of different backgrounds and races. This directive would serve as a useful measure to get rid of the racial tensions among the students and the staff too. However, I was a passive member, and I did not give any contribution to the meetings proceedings as it was a closed door meeting. Despite being an inactive member, I received a lot of insight on how public schools should be run and how the management should be there to ensure that no discriminatory activities take place during their tenure of the Directorate. I also learned that despite the difference that crops up in the meeting, there is also need to proceed with the agenda of the meeting. For instance, even after Democratic representatives left the meeting halfway, the meeting did not end because there were other issues to discuss.
The board meeting was appropriate as it showed the commitment of the school management towards ensuring that the society was an equal place for residing to all individuals from various backgrounds. The event touched on my personal experience as I had once faced gender-based discrimination when I was contending for a students leader position. From the meeting, I learned that good governance is the ability of a person or a group of individuals to make decisions on the best-evaluated choices (Grindle, 2012). The board meeting I attended at City Arts and Tech High School exemplified good governance as decisions were made and based on the fact that they were essential for the running of the institution. Democracy was upheld in the meeting as suggestions were tabled for all board members to vote while consensus was reached when means of voting could not solve matters of argument. The public meeting supported the American democracy as the arguments were based on the Constitutional Law governing the country and the voting based on the individual support about a raised issue and not based on dictatorship. Despite the earlier confrontation from the political representatives, the meeting was held with a lot of integrity.
The meeting procedures were conducted transparently in the public view of everyone present at the school. It was a perfect illustration of good governance regardless of the differences. Gender equality was also ensured in the meeting with both members of staff and the student leadership represented. All the agendas in the meeting were based on the facts, and a general feeling was that the rule of law in the school had not been applied effectively. Therefore, an urgent solution was needed to salvage the institution as well as the application of the discussed issues, such as gender and employment, race, and the case of the LGBT community to prepare students for future citizenship. To everybody’s expectation, the difference between the Democrat and Republican representative emerged, but the host board did not fail to accomplish their mission of discussing issues rather than concentrating on political differences that were profound.