There’s another Groundhog Day tonight. You know it as a school board club meeting at which everything will be rubber stamped, no one in the club will ask any tough questions, no one will be held accountable for anything, the club members will waste our time telling us where they’ve been without making any connection to improving academic performance, and the superintendent, the guy they hired to be the leader, will sit there offering as few words as possible before he drives back to his home in Long Beach.

But there is one item on the agenda that I applaud. It is long overdue and if we strip away the usual attempt at a cute acronym – in this case “A.S.P.I.R.E.” – we get the start of a program to detect and treat mental health issues in our students.

The challenge for the program is using old mental health counseling in a new era. Kids are growing up in a completely different environment than, say 20 years ago, and the stimuli we have foisted upon them – urging them to bounce from screen to screen – plus the open communication they enjoy online – requires new tools and new approaches.

No one knows whether ASPIRE will work here, but at least there is an attempt and that is good.

After that, there is more rubber stamping of millions of dollars in your tax dollars with no discussion and approval of more programs with names so cute how can you possibly deny funding?

Peachjar, Lead the Way, and BrainPop – don’t  you just love it?!

Steve Smith

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