What a surprise this morning to find my blog read and linked by Mark Schultz of the Chapel Hill News about my interest in running for a place on the school board of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). Yes, the movie and story of "Milk" is an inspiration. However "Milk" was but one more inspiring message to run for public office, or this public office, which I have thought of for quite some time.
My interest in this position comes from many reasons:
* My bachelor degree (B. Music Ed./Therapy from the Univ. of Kansas, 1978), also brought me into special education contexts in working with young children with severe or profound disabling conditions. I worked for over two years in special education contexts;
* My M.Div. (Princeton Seminary, 1983) focused on human development and religious education;
* My Th.M. (Harvard University, 1985), focused on more courses on human development, education, and religious education, with most of my courses from Harvard Graduate School of Education;
* I have a Ph.D. in Special Education, with a focus in religious education, from UNC-CH, 1988. In other words, educationally I have experience in public schools, especially special education, and knowledge about educational systems and theories that I would like to see experimented with in the CHCCS;
* I have two children who went through the CHCCS schools, along with a former spouse who works in one of the elementary schools. I have seen the good, the bad, and the quite repugnant of CHCCS for almost 15 years. I am very interested (to paraphrase Clint Eastwood) bolstering the "good" of the system, addressing the "bad" of the system, and recognizing and addressing the areas of "in need of improvment" of this system, so that it is a better system for all children and their educational team;
* I taught Christian religious education at Duke Divinity School for over a decade until I was denied tenure because I am an out gay man;
* One of the groups of children, and faculty, staff, and administrators who have had a rocky time in the CHCCS are those who self-identify as LGBTQ. Now, two of the comments on the link made it sound like being an out-gay person running for the CHCCS would be easy:
Hey, it's also kind of like if you ran for Grand Wizard of the Klan!
But here is where reality breaks through: students, staff, administrators, and teachers who are openly LGBTQ do not have it all that easy in the CHCCS. They face subtle discrimination, are bullied, and treated as outsiders, as do the the children of those of us who are out and gay. What is mis-leading about the RDU area, especially Chapel Hill-Carrboro, is that the area is all "O.K." with out LGBTQ people...and that is not the truth. Out LGBTQ parents with children in the CHCCS have a hard time because our children are bullied by other children, staff, teachers, and administrators.
I would run for a seat on the School Board with interest in bettering the educational opportunities for all students in the CHCCS, including those students in special education contexts and those who are LGBTQ.
Click here for more!
O.K.: I'm very interested in running and close to announcing my nomination for a seat in the next election cycle.
Is there support for my nomination? Let me know!
And thanks, Mark, for reading the blog!