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AI – ready for prime time in Grimes County?

May 24, 2023 - 00:00
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This week I’ve watched a number of programs about AI, aka artificial intelligence. From what I hear, it’s another pig in a poke being embraced by techie elites who either don’t realize the potential ethical problems associated with AI or they have no ethics, ergo, what ethical problems? But then again, Covid did a really good job of planting the seed that it’s OK for someone else or some ‘thing’ to do our thinking for us.

Looking at the official Navasota Independent School District voting statistics I received from Grimes County Election Administrator Rachel Walker, it appears many Grimes County voters may be more than ready for AI to take the wheel! To be honest, we had a poor turnout all over the county where there was an issue to vote on but I’m focusing on the NISD school board race because school boards, school choice and vouchers are what have been making the national news the last 2-3 years. Our own Texas legislature is currently battling over school choice plans and if they can’t come to an agreement May 29, there will be a Special Session.

According to Ms. Walker, NISD has 12,420 registered voters in the 362 square mile district but only 599 bothered to vote. I may sound harsh but I find that insulting to every veteran, living or dead, draftee or volunteer, who served so that we can continue to have a say in who represents us. It’s also a disservice to our teachers who are directly impacted by the policies adopted by these elected school boards. And on another note, if you don’t show up to vote, why should you expect those of us who do to fund your voucher?

Citizens may not realize this but elections are not free. Gone are the days of the little old ladies volunteering their time. Election workers are paid with taxpayer dollars, and for various reasons I think are subject to debate, our cities, counties and school districts have been forced to bend over backward to provide and fund multiple days and locations. This election cycle was no exception. We had seven early voting days plus a Saturday Election Day. We had multiple locations at which to vote, and yet 11,821 voters couldn’t find the time or their way to a polling place to vote for school trustees.

It may be that voters were happy with all of the candidates so they decided to sit this one out but liking them all doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of voting. Not that NISD is doing this but it’s apathy that got us where we are today with Drag Queen Story Hours, boys in skirts committing sexual assault in girls’ restrooms, curriculums which perpetuate racial divisiveness and lax policies which allow school shooters to enter through open doors.

The disintegration of American education didn’t happen overnight and I admit to being part of the problem. As a parent back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, I didn’t pay attention to school board races. I left those decisions to people who seemed to know what they were doing. While relinquishing my voice didn’t have an immediate impact on my children, it has had and is currently having a major impact on my grandchildren in other school districts. The only hope I have that this insanity doesn’t happen here is to vote!

So, if the whole idea of AI electing your school board members is a little far-fetched, think about it this way. We’ve already seen the development of Pecan Lakes Estates which, when complete, will have added about 700 homes and at least as many registered voters. A proposed development east of Navasota will add 400 homes. Plantersville has the 1,000-acre Cedars Subdivision knocking on its door and Todd Mission…well it’s exploding as I write this. All of this development is in the Navasota Independent School District. These new residents will come from parts unknown with values unknown. The trustees we elect in the present set the standards for the Navasota ISD of the future. Please engage and don’t sit the next one out!

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.