Denver Direct: Denver School Board is a dysfunctional mess

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Denver School Board is a dysfunctional mess

Opinion by Gerald Trumbule

I’ve signed up to receive an email every time the DPS Board goes live on the internet. It’s quite a show, and thanks to live streaming at Ustream (and the team at, we get to experience it in “real” time (although it does seem to drag). The members seem to truly distrust each other (shall we say abhor?) and are constantly bringing up the importance of trust. They go on and on and on. Leaderless, they flounder, trying to reinvent the wheel for even the simplest task. Currently that task is how to choose a replacement for Nate Easley, who is stepping down.
My partner Pat and I are political junkies, but of separate strains. She loves democracy, volunteers to work on campaigns, and participates in local party activities. She comes from a political family and says that it’s in her blood.
I think of politics as a sitcom (situation comedy) and as a continuation of the early documentary filmmaking of Frederick Wiseman. He showed that if you leave the cameras up and running (especially without camera people behind them), the inmates (for Wiseman, in an actual insane asylum in Titicut Follies) will eventually forget that they are being filmed and act naturally, thereby revealing themselves.
So it is with the DPS Board. Their insidious way of addressing each other, their body language, their position at the table, even their wandering around the room eating snacks during breaks gives us more insight than we may be able to bear. They seem to forget that they are being watched, and we can’t help but watch.
Last night, about an hour into the meeting, Pat jumped up and said “I can’t take it any more. Turn it off, please. It’s making me sick.” 
So we switched over to “House of Cards” on Netflix, using our new Roku. At least the political mess on that show is done by professionals.
And now (oh boy! future meetings will be so much fun) this press release: