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Guest opinion: Thank you, citizens

by Randy Green

When I filed for the position of Douglas County School Board Trustee-Area 4, I learned that any written editorial comment by a family member or me would not be published until the election was over. Now that my First Amendment rights have been restored to me, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the citizens of Douglas County. The most valuable aspect in enduring the campaign and subsequent legal controversy has always been the people I have met during this process. Your support and encouragement have helped me understand my responsibility to this community, and my commitment to continue the pursuit of an office to which I have been elected.

Also, thank you to the many friends and colleagues throughout the entire school district and to current and past students who have given me the strength to challenge a structure that has responded as such structures always do, never out of principle, but always out of threat.

I could have never made it through this process without the love and support of my family and, more specifically, my wife, Karen. For 26 years, she has always encouraged me to pursue my passion for education and has always been there as a source of love and inspiration.

The one other person I must thank is George Keele. George is an exceptional person, and without his advice, knowledge and support, I would have never been able to challenge a structure that is so unresponsive to the community’s educational concerns or needs. George’s commitment to this effort, both financially and in terms of time, is something I can never repay. It just lends further evidence to something I have known for quite some time: George Keele is one of the finest people I have ever met.

I would like to thank the community for its support. I know I would never be able to list the names of all the people who made it possible for me to win this election. So, for all those people who know who you are, my sincere thanks, and hopefully, my indebtedness to you can be repaid by the decisions I can make as a school board member.

I wanted to wait until the Nov. 14 school board meeting was over to write this thank-you letter and to inform the public about the direction this process is going to take. In attending the school board meeting on Nov. 14, I watched events occur that confirm my belief in the need for real change to take place in the decision-making process involving education in Douglas County.

A workshop was provided by district employees concerning the number of students who have taken the competency assessments and the performance levels of those students. During this, I watched one board member finally have a revelation concerning the quality and difficulty of the math competency assessment covering Integrated I, while another board member at the conclusion of the presentation stated it looked like the school district was right on track. These assessments don’t reflect achievement or move students to excel in the classroom. Keith Roman and I have been trying to tell the school board for a year that answering 20 questions correctly out of 40 possible responses does not measure competency.

I also watched the school board commend themselves for the recent visitations to schools in the district. While I applaud their efforts to increase the level of dialogue and communication with classroom instructors, in fact, I marvel that it took eight years to come to this conclusion. These meetings should involve all seven members at each site and be open to the public and press.

During a break in the Nov. 14 meeting, one of the board members asked me how I thought the vote about asking the courts for declaratory relief would go. I responded that I believed the board had already made its decision. The proceedings I watched confirmed this to me. The board has always taken the position of protecting the educational status quo, which is responsible for the state of education today.

The offer that George Keele tried to introduce was not a formal offer from Scott Doyle, Douglas County District Attorney. It reflected a conversation that George had with Scott Doyle to reach a decision about my ability to serve in the most cooperative and cost-effective way. As one board member stated during explanation of their vote, they felt compelled to follow the advice of legal counsel. It is ironic that the advice of legal counsel (the only party involved with a real financial conflict of interest) would obviously not advise on pursuing resolution in a cost-effective way. All George and I have ever wanted was the opportunity to provide the merits of our perspective before an objective third party for consideration. It was my original intent that the board could have been an objective second party, but those hopes ended quite a while back.

I encourage the community to stay in contact with me. I will be in the process of cleaning up my Web site, http://www.randygreen.com, to provide information to the public. I can be reached at my e-mail address: rgreen4board@aol.com. I will continue to work at my primary task of teaching U.S. government, advising the senior class, assisting coach Keith Lewis with the varsity basketball team, being a member of the District Accountability Committee, the Graduation Committee and the Student Learning for Desired Results Committee.

I know it’s hard to believe that a person who has lived in the first home he ever purchased, still works at the first school in which he ever taught, feels he’s fairly compensated and has been involved in education throughout his entire life just wants to contribute to the process of improving the quality of education in Douglas County for no reason other than that of feeling he can make a contribution. However, it is possible. Just give me a chance to prove it.

Randy F. Green

Gardnerville

Nov. 27

Randy Green is a teacher at Douglas High School and a Gardnerville resident. He was elected to the Douglas County School Board Nov. 7. The DCSD is asking a District Court judge to decide if it is legal for him to sit on the school board if he remains a teacher.