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“Vote School Board First” is a great campaign that is long overdue. Education, or the lack of it, is still the most important issue facing Black America today.

A+ Schools launched a campaign to help convince people to think education and the school board candidates first instead of an afterthought when they go to the polls.

When most of us vote, we think President, U.S. House and Senate, and all the other national positions first, then it’s the state positions, the county and then the city. After everyone else has been accounted for, then only 20 percent of us vote for our school board candidates.

How many of us actually know who our school board representatives are?

The school board slot itself has served as a launching pad or an after-retirement position for most. And even though they control a half-million dollar budget, the board members themselves don’t get paid, which is one of the main reasons the seat mostly attracts people at the beginning or end of their careers.

At one time, most of the City Council seats were held by people who got their start on the school board, especially the Hill District and Homewood. Valerie McDonald Roberts and Jake Milliones are the most noted. On the North Side, Darlene Harris started on the school board. She moved from school board to City Council and now is looking to become mayor.

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