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PoliticsNCHS Superintendent’s Notes – March 2, 2016

By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m ready for this political season to be concluded. It amazes me that our state and nation is suffering financial hardship when we look at the money that is going toward putting folks in office.

According to, approximately $62 billion has been spent on elections since 1998. One can only wonder what kind of impact that amount of money might have had on the hungry and homeless.

It seems like with each year the business of politics gets nastier and more ridiculous. We try to teach our young people to be respectful of others and truthful in all matters. We encourage them to be honest even when nobody is watching. In other words, they should watch the Presidential campaigns and conduct themselves exactly the opposite way of the candidates.

An election is really a massive job interview where everyone who votes has a say in the hire. Campaigns should be used to tell the common voter why the candidate is the best person for the position rather than why the other gal/guy isn’t fit for the office.

I’ve never sat through an interview for any position where I bad-mouthed the other candidates. I wonder how a Board of Education would look at me if I sat down with them and said things like….”hey, this other guy you are about to interview is a liar. He doesn’t represent the values that you are looking for in a Superintendent. I believe he is about to be arrested for stealing district money. He beats his wife, and his kids are out of control. Oh, and by the way, he is dumb, fat, and ugly. I’m your better choice.” It always amazes me that after the various personal attacks, the candidate will refer to their opponent as their “friend”. Wow! If that is friend-talk, I would hate to make them my enemy! As a matter of fact, I can remember going to one interview for a positon and a good friend of mine was also being interviewed for the same job. I was interviewed first so I had opportunity to “sink” my buddy. When I was leaving the interview, however, I took the opportunity to speak favorably about my good friend. You would have thought this story would have had a heart-warming ending for one of us. No! Neither of us got the job. We later talked about the interview and agreed that, at least, we were friendly losers!

When being interviewed, prospective employers are looking for what the person being interviewed has accomplished in their lives and why their perceived assets will benefit the company. As an employer, whether that be in the fast food industry or in education, I looked for people who were trustworthy and were willing to be part of my team and focused on the goals of the organization. Our students need to enhance their interview skills. They need to be ready to talk about their strengths and how they can turn their weaknesses into opportunities for personal growth rather than the real or imagined shortcomings of the other folks competing for the same job. Building oneself up by tearing down another is a cheap way to get ahead. What goes around comes around.