News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Karen Jett can change school board atmosphere

The Decatur school board did the right thing in appointing Karen Jett to fill in for her husband who is part of an Alabama National Guard call-up. She attended her first meeting as a board member this week and promptly set the tone for the kind of member she expects to be.

"I tend to think about things, and I'm a little more private," she said, at Tuesday's board meeting.

"It will take a while, but I'll talk more when I know more about what's going on," she said.

Her husband, Dwight Jett Jr., is a lieutenant colonel who is in Wisconsin preparing for duty in Iraq. Mr. Jett isn't a quiet person. He tosses out opinions with ease. As an attorney, he never seems uncomfortable in a confrontation. That is his style. Still, it created unneeded tensions on the school board.

Her philosophy about public education will, no doubt, mirror that of her husband in some fashion. But whether she is an independent thinker or sees her role as a stand-in for her husband, Ms. Jett can strive to work better with the board.

School board members considered appointing someone else to serve until Mr. Jett returns or until his term ends in 2008. Yet, appointing her seemed to have public support as the right thing to do.

Hopefully, she will couch her disagreements with the board in softer language, and her husband will return home safely from the war.

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