Commentary: It’s time for the school board to pass the torch to the next generation

A painting that reflects how technology has changed.
(Courtesy of Irvine Fine Arts Center)

Technology has changed almost everything we do. Today’s young adults shop differently, work differently, play differently and communicate differently than my generation. I am 65. This may be good or bad, but one area in which the new technology has had its great impact is in education.

In the past six weeks, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District has reversed two major initiatives at the last minute. One was the “4x4" learning schedule and the other was the delay of school re-openings just five days before students were due to return.

It would be easy to blame these recent miscues on the pandemic, but that is not the root of the problem. The pandemic is merely a vehicle to show us that all across the education spectrum, all across the country, it is time for new, younger leadership.

Many of the young adults running for education-related offices grew up with the technology that is increasingly dominating the school learning experience. Those a bit older, say, in their 40s, are still light years closer to the rapid changes in technology than my generation.

For both groups of younger candidates, the technology is second nature.

Today’s students deserve school board members who are closer in age to their learning experience. They deserve representatives, elected and hired, who understand what technology can and cannot accomplish because they have been living with it their entire lives.

This is the main reason why I am vigorously supporting challenger Leah Ersoylu in school district Area 1 versus Vicki Snell, the only incumbent running. Having worked closely with Ersoylu on her campaign over the past several months, I am both amazed and impressed with her understanding of the capabilities and limits of this new way of learning.

Whether it has been organized community Facebook chats, a political campaign app that monitors every aspect of outreach, or the multi-tasking communications efforts throughout any given day, Ersoylu has shown the technological knowledge and leadership that will serve our students well.

It is time to pass the torch to these younger candidates.

The writer, a former Daily Pilot columnist, lives in Costa Mesa.

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