Sit Down Together and Work Things Out

Today, I was digging through the archives of the School Administrator which is published by the School Superintendents Association and revisited an article co-authored by my friend, Harry Eastridge (who is now deceased), and me.  The gist of the article entitled “Getting Caught in Your Underwear,” is that in the rush to get through the school day, important decisions routinely are made without consulting the people who will be affected by them.  Even when we take the time to establish special committees and other representatives of the people to help connect us with the broader community, most residents still feel left out of the process and do not clearly understand the problem school leaders are trying to fix.  As a result, school districts often get drawn into what are called “solution wars” where residents battle over the right thing to do and then end up trading one set of problems for another.  To avoid getting caught up in our underwear (one of the favorite expressions of my mentor, Jerry Bell, whose Oklahoma roots equipped him with an abundance of horse sense) and complicating matters, all we often need to do is simply sit down together and work things out.

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