Sunday, December 13, 2015

ESSA and Iowa Schools: Meet the New Boss (Guest Post)

[I’ve been putting off the task of posting about the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is the successor to (and in some ways a departure from) No Child Left Behind. I tend to react to changes in federal and state education laws the same way I react to severe weather: I just hunker down and prepare for the worst. Fortunately, Karen W. from Education in Iowa offered this great summary of how the new Act will affect school districts here in Iowa. —CL]

The big education news last week was that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era has officially ended with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). There are a number of articles and websites summarizing various aspects of ESSA:

  • US Department of Education, ESSA page (includes a comparison chart with NCLB and waivers plus ESSA highlights and links to other documents)
  • Alliance for Excellent Education, ESSA page (includes links to one-page fact sheets and short videos on accountability, assessments, high schools, and teachers and school leaders)

Any of these links can get you started. However, a key change in ESSA is a shift in responsibility for the details of policies from the federal government to the states. This means that understanding--or predicting--what ESSA might mean for Iowa schools requires looking not just at the language of ESSA, but also looking at current Iowa law, the Iowa Department of Education (DE), and the Iowa State Board of Education (State Board).

For this post, I have looked at parts of the ESSA and tried to link to related Iowa state law and statewide education policies. Note that this post isn’t a comprehensive look at ESSA.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why I voted against ThoughtExchange

At our last meeting, the board voted 4-3 to enter into a three-year contract with ThoughtExchange, an online platform to solicit ideas and opinions from district residents. The contract cost $106,462. I voted against it, for several reasons.

The cost alone was not my primary objection. I can imagine issues on which a well-done survey of community opinion would be worth paying for. My concerns about ThoughtExchange were:

1. Although ThoughtExchange was presented as a way to “take the temperature of the community”—the vendor even referred to it as “polling”—it was not at all vetted for that purpose and is very clearly not up to the task.

There is a difference between tech expertise and statistical expertise; the vendor provided no information about the statistical capability of ThoughtExchange to measure the opinions of the community as a whole. He probably couldn’t, even if he tried. Participation is not random; some users might make one quick visit while others might visit repeatedly and participate for long stretches; it’s fairly easy for people to have multiple accounts; and the total number of participants on any given issue is likely to be a small fraction of the total community population. As a result, the margin of error, if it could even be calculated, is likely to be so enormous that the results would tell us very little about community sentiment.

That problem is compounded by the fact that a significant chunk of our community (estimated at about six percent of households) does not have regular internet access, and that’s probably not a random chunk, but skewed toward low-income residents.

2. I’m concerned that the motivation to use ThoughtExchange is more about putting on a show of community engagement than actually engaging in a meaningful way. (I had these same concerns about ThoughtExchange’s predecessor, MindMixer.) There’s no point in asking the public for input if we’re not willing to adjust our decisions accordingly once we get it, but it often seems like the district wants to do the former and not the latter. In those instances, people just feel worse than if their input was never solicited at all.

The district’s likely strategy is not to ask any questions that it doesn’t want to hear the answers to, and to word the questions in ways designed to push participants in certain ways. Three years ago, I made fun of the district for using MindMixer to ask, “What are the school district’s biggest strengths?” Then, when the ThoughtExchange vendor made his presentation, one of his examples of a question that could be asked was, “What are some things you appreciate about your school this year?”

Unfortunately, my (1) and (2) correspond to the two things we’re actually paying for (that we wouldn’t get from engagement through, say, the district’s Facebook page): (1) the “data” analysis (which is of little value if the data is not representative of the community as a whole), and (2) the manipulability and control that comes from being able to decide what questions to ask and how to ask them. We should not pay for either of those things.

It’s hard not to see ThoughtExchange as primarily a public relations campaign posing as a concern for community input. The board should consider whether that might put off as many people as it attracts. As commenter Amy Charles wrote, “No, do not tax me in order to build a case for more taxes. Spend the money on the frigging schools, and do it sensibly.”

Pay no attention to the “AP Honor Roll”

On a pretty regular basis we see reports like this—this one apparently prompted by a College Board press release. I wish we saw fewer of them.

If there were a metric that could accurately show that our educational policy choices were enabling more kids to succeed at challenging coursework, that would be worth celebrating. But the number of students taking AP courses, and the number of students getting a 3 or above on an AP exam, are absolutely awful, utterly useless proxies for anything worth measuring.

First, whether AP courses—courses geared entirely toward preparing for tests created by the College Board—are the most valuable type of advanced coursework is entirely debatable. That debate is less likely to happen if people take “honors” like these at face value.

Second, there are ways to raise AP participation and score numbers that are academically unsound—but become incentivized when people start valuing this kind of “honor.” For example, a district can simply open the doors to AP courses regardless of whether the students are ready for the course. The district can then encourage only the most successful students to take the AP test in that subject. Many students might be poorly served by that kind of course, but the College Board gets more business and the district gets an “honor”!

Our district has celebrated this kind of accolade in the past (examples here, here, and here). In our district, some students—more than just the rare outlier—are invited to take AP courses in the first semester of their freshman year in high school. Are those really “college-level” courses? If so, are they really right for high school freshmen? The answer might well be “no” to both questions.

The fact is: we don’t know what the “right” amount of AP participation is. The last thing we should do is start chasing isolated numerical indicators, which is just a recipe for unintended consequences. That’s all the more true when those indicators are in service of thinly disguised advertising for companies like the College Board.

Some thoughts on the superintendent’s visit to Hoover

Our superintendent visited Hoover School last week to talk with parents about the planned closure of the school. There wasn’t much new in terms of rationales for the closure, but he did make three interesting statements:

1. Hoover parents have repeatedly been told that the loss of Hoover won’t be so bad because there are other nearby schools that Hoover students will end up attending. Longfellow is frequently given as the example; it would be the closest alternative for a big chunk of Hoover’s attendance area. Some of Longfellow’s attendance area is an “island” out in the easternmost part of town, whose students would almost certainly be redistricted into the new East elementary school. The idea has always been that the departure of those students from Longfellow would create room for kids who are displaced from Hoover.

But the superintendent recently informed me that there are currently 79 Longfellow students who live in that “island” out by the new school. Longfellow’s enrollment, however, is currently 80 students over its capacity. So I asked the superintendent how there would be any room at Longfellow for Hoover students when the school closes. He said that it is unlikely that there would be many seats at Longfellow for Hoover kids.

That fact has big implications for current Hoover families, as well as for families at Lucas and Lemme (the two other likely destinations for Hoover kids). It means many Hoover kids would end up at schools much farther from their homes. The redistricting of Lucas and Lemme will also be that much more difficult if those two schools have to accommodate almost the entire population of Hoover.

2. One parent asked the superintendent what would be the worst consequences of leaving Hoover open, and how big a role City High’s needs play. The superintendent said that City High’s needs would not even be in his top three reasons for the closure. Instead, he emphasized the operational cost efficiencies that could be achieved by having one less elementary school to run.

I found that response to be significant for two reasons. First, it seemed to be an admission that the “City High needs the land” argument is not particularly persuasive, especially since the district is still unable (unwilling?) to tell the public what will actually appear on Hoover’s land.

Second, the operational cost efficiency argument is the argument that is most transferable to other schools, several of which (Lincoln, Hills, Horace Mann, Longfellow, and Shimek) are significantly smaller than Hoover. In my view, the argument that This One Additional School Is Breaking the Bank is simply inconsistent with saying But Schools That Are Smaller Than Hoover Have Nothing To Worry About. (It is also arguably inconsistent with the district’s simultaneous exploration of starting a magnet school, which would almost certainly be more costly than the average school to operate.)

3. One parent asked whether enrollment will still be over capacity when all the projects in the facilities plan are completed. One major goal of the facilities plan, after all, was to alleviate overcrowding. The superintendent said that under current projections we would be right at capacity, but that we’re a growing district and thus will probably have to start talking about building new schools as soon as the facilities plan is done. I don’t disagree with this statement, but it certainly drives home the point that destroying over 300 seats of elementary capacity has a serious price tag. What’s incredible is that over two years after the board voted to close the school, the district has still not put a number on the cost of replacing 300+ seats of elementary capacity and how much it will increase the district’s future bond request.

The Hoover closure is a big topic, and it’s impossible to discuss all aspects of it in one post. Right now, it’s clear that there are not four (out of seven) votes on the school board to reconsider the closure. The next logical moment to consider the issue will be when the board starts drawing the attendance zones that will apply to the east side when the new East elementary school opens. The board is planning to draw those zones this coming Spring (even though they will not go into effect until 2019). I anticipate that it will be harder than expected to draw workable attendance zones without using Hoover’s capacity, so that will be a good moment to stop and rethink whether the closure is worth the associated costs.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Topics on the December 8 board meeting agenda

Some of the topics we’ll be discussing at this Tuesday’s school board meeting:

We’ll hear a review of the district’s progress in addressing disproportionate referral of African-American students to special education services. Info here.

We’ll be revisiting the topic of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. After having failed to persuade the legislature to require these very expensive standardized tests, the State Board of Education decided it had the power to impose them without legislative approval, and did so via an administrative rule (over the formal objection of our board). Info here. What’s the next step?

We’ll discuss the possibility of exploring a year-round school alternative. There are no details about this topic included in the agenda.

We’ll hear the district’s annual financial audit report. Info here.

We’ll hear from the committee that examined the issue of discretionary busing. To be entitled to a school bus under state law, a student needs to live a certain distance from his or her school — over two miles for elementary and junior high, and over three miles for high school. We’re free, though, to provide buses for kids who live closer if we choose to. We can’t afford to do much of that “discretionary busing,” however. A committee has been considering what our standards should be for offering discretionary busing.

We’ll hear a proposal for how to handle athletics as part of the transition to opening Liberty High. When Liberty opens in 2017, students who are juniors and seniors at West will have the option of staying on at West. That will pose some challenges for fielding sports teams during Liberty’s initial couple of years. The administration will discuss its recommendation for how to handle those challenges. Info here.

And more! The full agenda is here; please chime in if anything attracts your attention.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Agenda topics for November 24 meeting

Some of the topics we’ll be discussing at this Tuesday’s board meeting:

Superintendent discretionary leave. Info here. Our superintendent’s contract provides that he can take up to ten paid personal leave days each year for personal business, consulting, and other activities “that will contribute to the betterment of the district.” His use of these days must be mutually agreed upon between him and the board president. Do we need to change this practice going forward?

The Open Meetings Act. Info here. I believe we may have the board’s legal counsel present to take questions about it from the board.

The district’s facilities master plan. Info here.

ThoughtExchange. Info here. See this post for previous discussion.

“Administrator attrition.” We have recently had significant turnover in our central administrative positions, so I assume this topic is to discuss transition plans and the possibility of changes to our organizational structure that might be part of that process. Info here.

And more! The full agenda is here; chime in if anything attracts your attention.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

On not leaping to conclusions

It’s no secret that I’ve had my disagreements with our superintendent. I hope that gives me particular standing to urge people to be fair—not to be quiet, not to be uncritical, but to be fair—in their reaction to the articles this week about the superintendent’s work outside the district. I don’t see any accusations of wrongdoing in those articles or any showing that the superintendent did anything that was not permitted by his contract or by law. Whether the board should have negotiated different contract terms, whether the superintendent should have made different judgments, whether more questions should be asked and more information made available, whether we should have different practices going forward—those all seem like very reasonable questions (many of which probably have two sides to them). But I hope people will recognize that working for a company where other people are later accused of wrongdoing is not the same as wrongdoing. Guilt by association is not only unfair, but also a logical fallacy.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Agenda topics for Tuesday, November 10

This coming Tuesday, there will be a regular board meeting followed by a work session. Both agendas are now available (here and here). Some of the topics we’ll be discussing:

1. The certified enrollment report for 2015-16 is now available.

2. We’ll be doing our annual review of the facilities master plan. Info here.

3. We’ll be discussing plans to create attendance zones for Grant Elementary and the new east-side elementary school (“Hoover East”). Info here.

4. We’ll be discussing the bell schedule. The board already voted to create a task force to re-examine the bell schedule, so this may just end up being an update on that process.

5. We’ll be hearing about the transition planning for Liberty High and the new east-side elementary. Info here and here.

6. We’ll be discussing discretionary busing. Info here.

7. We’ll be discussing whether to add a representative of our before-and-after-school programs to the district committee (“CEDAC”) that supervises those programs. Info here.

And more! Prepare to settle in for a while if you’re watching this one. I am swamped with work at the moment, so will probably not be able to reply to comments, but I will certainly read them, so please chime in on any of the above.

Notice: The only opportunity for community comment at either of these meetings will be at the beginning of the regular board meeting, which starts at 6:00. There is no comment period at the work session, though you can address those topics (or any school-related topic) at the community comment for the regular board meeting.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What kind of help does the school board need?

School board members in Iowa—unpaid volunteers who often serve while holding down full-time jobs and trying to raise kids—inevitably have to depend to some extent on information provided to them by others. That’s part of what our paid administrators do: gather information and make recommendations to the board about school issues. The board also sometimes creates committees or task forces to make proposals on particular issues; at our last meeting, for example, we voted to create a task force that would look into possible changes in the district’s bell schedule.

Nonetheless, the final decision on many matters is the board’s. How can administrators and task forces best help the board make its decisions? I’m worried that our board’s approach to that question sometimes delegates too much of its role to these other groups.

The problem is that the help the board gets is often in the form of advocacy for a particular conclusion. I would rather hear a more objective analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of a particular course of action, including discussion of possible alternatives. A bottom-line recommendation can be helpful, but, on issues where there is a potential for differing value judgments, the best thing the administration can do for the board is to give the board enough information that it can reach its own independent conclusion.

An example is the discussion at our last meeting of the ThoughtExchange proposal. The central administration recommended that we adopt the proposal—and again, I appreciate receiving a recommendation. The administration, though, apparently saw its role more as advocating for its recommendation than as providing an objective assessment of the pros and cons. The only material it provided, other than the $170,000 price quote, was . . . promotional material created by ThoughtExchange. Then, at our meeting, the ThoughtExchange vendor was given the floor for over forty minutes to make a video presentation advocating for the proposal and to take questions from the board.

Whatever you think of the merits of the proposal, hearing only from advocates on one side of an issue is never the best way to make a decision. As every law student quickly learns, a good brief is usually very convincing until you read the opposing brief.

One of the things I liked about Director Lori Roetlin’s proposal to create a task force on the bell schedule is that the task force will generate multiple options and that there will be a period of public comment on those options. In other words, the model is less focused on advocacy and more on providing the board with multiple perspectives.

What board members need is good information. What they shouldn’t delegate is important value judgments. A system that relies too heavily on one-sided advocacy makes it hard to draw that line.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The costs of accountability

Not much time to post this week, so I thought I’d link to Jerry Muller’s great survey of how “the virtues of accountability metrics have been oversold and their costs are underappreciated.” A few quick excerpts:

The characteristic feature of the culture of accountability is the aspiration to replace judgment with standardized measurement. Judgment is understood as personal, subjective, and self-interested; metrics are supposed to provide information that is hard and objective.

. . .

But, in many cases, the extension of standardized measurement may suffer diminished utility and even become counterproductive if sensible pragmatism gives way to metric madness. Measurement can readily become counterproductive when it tries to measure the unmeasurable and quantify the unquantifiable, whether to determine rewards or for other purposes.

. . .

Accountability by metrics imposes a simplification not only of goals but of knowledge. In [James C.] Scott’s insightful formulation, metrics and performance indicators, like many forms of cost-benefit analysis, “manage, through heroic assumptions and an implausible metric for comparing incommensurate variables, to produce a quantitative answer to thorny questions. They achieve impartiality, precision, and replicability at the cost of accuracy.”

. . .

Many matters of great importance are too subject to judgment and interpretation to be solved by standardized metrics. In recent decades, too many politicians, business leaders, policymakers, and academic officials have lost sight of that distinction.

A lot to recognize in this article. On this topic, more to come.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 27 board agenda

I’d love to use this blog as a way to hear some thoughts about issues that appear on our board agenda. The agenda for this coming week’s meeting is here. Among other things, we will be discussing:

The bell schedule. The district changed the bell schedule this year, extending the elementary school day and adjusting the daily start and end times for all students. I was against the change and, especially given some of the unintended consequences we have experienced (for example, with bus schedules), am strongly inclined to revisit it. My fellow director Lori Roetlin, who also wants to revisit the issue, has written a letter explaining her thoughts about how we should move forward with the issue. What are your thoughts?

The possibility of buying into ThoughtExchange, an online platform for gathering and aggregating public input on school issues. I have some initial thoughts about this issue that I’ll try to post separately. You can read about ThoughtExchange (or at least see advertisements for it) by clicking on the links and PDFs here. The service would cost $170,000 over five years. Your thoughts on ThoughtExchange?

The preliminary report about this year’s class sizes. You can read the report here. I’ve heard a lot of concern about our class sizes this year. Chime in if you have thoughts on the issue.

You may find something else in the agenda that catches your eye. Feel free to post a comment.

UPDATE, 10-29:  Thanks, everyone, for the terrific comments.  I’ve had less time the past couple of days to respond individually—as will inevitably happen here—but I always read the comments and I really value the input.  At our Tuesday night meeting, we voted unanimously to adopt Director Lori Roetlin’s proposal to set up a task force to examine the bell schedule and make recommendations.  The proposal is designed to get the process going soon there will be plenty of time to get input from the community before any decision gets made.

We also heard a presentation from the ThoughtExchange vendor and discussed the service at some length, but we did not vote on it.  Some of my fellow board members are very supportive of the proposal, while others want more information about alternatives, while others (including me) are pretty skeptical, so the discussion will continue at a future meeting.

The board president summarized our clarification of the threat protocol that occurred at last week’s work session, and the issue will go to board committees for further discussion.  The class size report focused (as I would have expected) on the shortage of supplemental state aid and on the district’s choices about how to put available funding to the best use.

Government ≠ corporation

It is striking how the establishment view of school boards differs from how we ordinarily view elected governmental bodies.

What I’m calling the establishment view is that school board service is no different than service on a corporate board. That view does make sense in one way: the relationship of the school board to the superintendent is very analogous to that of a corporate board to a corporate CEO. In each case, the board has to decide just how much it wants to delegate to its chief employee and what boundaries to put on his or her authority; that chief employee then makes the day-to-day decisions about how to run the organization within those boundaries.

In other ways, however, an elected government board is very different from a corporate board. During our recent orientation to board service, for example, our school board members discussed the “norm” that once the board makes a decision, the board members will unite in support of that decision, even if the initial vote was not unanimous. I think it’s true that this is very much seen as a norm of good governance on corporate boards.

Elected governmental bodies, though, strike me as a very different matter. No one suggests that the Democrats in Congress should unite in support of the Bush tax cuts simply because Congress at some point passed them. I certainly wouldn’t want the Democrats in our legislature to unite behind Governor Branstad’s approach to prioritizing tax cuts over school funding just because he got his way this past year.

Sure, constantly changing course can be a way to get nowhere. On many matters, an out-voted minority might decide it’s better not to pursue its disagreement with the majority. But it’s quite another thing to think that “good governance” obliges it to do so.

There’s a good reason for distinguishing between corporate and government boards in that respect. If a corporate shareholder dislikes the direction of the corporate board, she can always sell her shares and buy shares in a different corporation. It’s a very different thing to suggest that a voter should “love or leave” her country or state or school district. Voters (and thus their representatives) are entitled to try continually to bring the government around to their point of view.

Moreover, in the corporate context, there is typically a shared underlying goal: maximize profit. In the governmental context, there is no similar agreement about fundamental values. That’s what elections are fought over, and then fought over again. The ongoing debate about those value differences is exactly what elections are for. When important value differences are at stake, the minority shouldn’t be expected to close ranks around the majority’s decisions.

Yet somehow, the idea persists that good governance requires school board members to rally around their board’s decisions. In any other governmental context, such a “norm” would be seen as transparently a device to protect the status quo and stifle dissent. What is it about the school context that elicits a different response?

Iowa City Community School District votes to oppose Smarter Balanced tests

The Iowa Board of Education has proposed an administrative rule that would require Iowa school districts to implement the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Earlier this month, the school board of the Iowa City Community School District voted to submit the following comment opposing the rule. A more extended argument for opposing the rule appears here. Comments on the rule are due by November 3; you can read about how to submit one here.

Mr. Phil Wise
Administrative Rules Co-Coordinator
Iowa Department of Education
Second Floor
Grimes State Office Building
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146

Re: Proposed amendments to Chapter 12, “General Accreditation Standards,” Iowa Administrative Code

Dear Mr. Wise:

As the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District, we write to urge you not to approve statewide adoption of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, for these reasons:

First, we are concerned that the state has insufficient information about the full cost of adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessments. In particular, there is insufficient information about how much it will cost to establish and maintain the technological infrastructure that will be necessary to implement these tech-intensive tests. Without information about the full costs of the tests, there is no way to evaluate whether the benefits of the tests are worth the cost.

Second, the partial information that is available indicates that the cost of the Smarter Balanced Assessments will be high. The Smarter Balanced consortium estimates the per-test price of its assessments to be $23.50, and that does not include the cost of the science assessment that the law also requires. The total price is several times higher than the per-student price of the Iowa Assessments, which the state currently requires. The price is also significantly higher than that of the Next Generation Iowa Assessments, which the task force determined was also Iowa-Core-aligned, and which, like the current Iowa Assessments, are produced in Iowa by the Iowa Testing Programs.

Third, we are concerned that the costs of the Smarter Balanced Assessments will fall ultimately on the districts. Even if the state allocates money to pay for the tests, it seems likely that that allocation will result in less money available for state supplemental aid. We are concerned that those costs will force districts to make cuts in instructional programming and other educational needs, at a time when budget dollars are already stretched thin.

Fourth, we are concerned that Iowa districts may not be technologically ready to implement the Smarter Balanced Assessments by the 2016-17 school year as the governing statute would require. See Iowa Code 256.7(21)(b)(2).

Fifth, we are concerned that the State Board of Education does not have the legal authority to adopt the Smarter Balanced Assessments through the administrative rule-making process, given that the governing statute states that the “state board shall submit to the general assembly recommendations” about new assessments. Iowa Code 256.7(21)(b)(4).

Thank you for your consideration,

Board of Directors,
Iowa City Community School District
1725 North Dodge Street
Iowa City, IA 52245

Why Iowa school districts should oppose the Smarter Balanced tests

The Iowa Board of Education has proposed an administrative rule that would require Iowa school districts to implement the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Our school board recently voted to submit a comment to the Department to oppose the rule. (Thank you, fellow board members!) Here is the letter I wrote to the board to explain why I thought we should submit that comment. The comment we submitted is here.

Dear Fellow Directors,

Thanks for your willingness to consider an item that I asked to put on the agenda about the state’s possible adoption of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

The State Board of Education is currently considering adopting an administrative rule that would require Iowa school districts to use the Smarter Balanced Assessments instead of the Iowa Assessments that the state has required until now. As part of the rule-making process, the State Board has solicited public comment on the proposal; comments are due by November 3. I believe our board should submit a comment opposing the adoption of the Smarter Balanced tests.

In short, the Smarter Balanced tests will be much, much more expensive than the tests we have been using, both because of the cost of the tests themselves and because of the cost of the technology that will be necessary to administer them. It is not clear whether the state will allocate money to cover those costs. Even if it does, every dollar allocated to pay for the tests is likely to be one less dollar available for state supplemental aid. By requiring these tests, the state will, in effect, be deciding for us that we should redirect a large amount of our spending toward high-tech standardized tests, even if, in our judgment, the money would be better spent on preserving curricular programs, preventing class sizes from growing, or providing additional resources toward schools with particular needs (to name just a few possibilities). I’m afraid that the decision to adopt these tests will affect the state’s ability to provide supplemental aid for years, and could lead to additional rounds of budget cuts like those our district saw in 2014.

The purpose of this letter is to give you some background on the issue; I have attempted to provide links to sources or to more information wherever I could. I am separately attaching a first draft of a possible comment letter that we could submit; I mean it only as a starting point for our discussion if it is helpful.

Welcome to Another Blog About School

Welcome to Another Blog about School. As a new school board member, I’m still not sure exactly how I will use this blog. I hope I can find ways to use it to solicit ideas and arguments on school issues, to explain some of the choices I make as a board member, and to do some thinking out loud about education and about the experience of being on the board. I chose the name as a reference to my previous blog. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to spend on it, but I’ll give it a try and see where it goes.