Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Being Impolite

Some of you may have a few concerns about this blog.  "If you are meeting with a small group like the curriculum committee, it is appropriate for you to discuss their workings in a public blog, rather than bringing them up with the group?"  Actually, I share this concern.

In fact, before reviving this blog, I proposed at a curriculum committee meeting that we have a online group forum, so we could have followup discussions in the long period between meetings.  But the district staff brought up the fact that this committee is required to have public meetings, and any online group discussion would be considered a non-public meeting.  I suggested making the online forum public, but apparently this did not alleviate their concerns.

This is especially ironic given that one of the major topics at the meeting where I had made this proposal was the fact that our committee's only power is to approve new course proposals, and there were no new course proposals this year, so we would not actually have any issues to vote on.  But they will be nice enough to present us information on curriculum plans and listen to our (non-binding) feedback.

So, in summary:
  • A poorly-publicized monthly 1.5-hour meeting, at an inconvenient time and location on a weeknight, which nobody but committee members ever attends, is public.
  • An online forum, accessible 24/7 by anyone in the district  (and at a public library anytime by those without PCs), is non-public.
  • Our public committee has no power anyway.
Ah, the joys of bureaucracy.

I do think it's important to be able to do online research following the meetings, and discuss the topics with others to gain a better understanding.  I'm pretty sure a blog is kosher, as former (elected) school board member Hugh O'Donnell published a regular blog on school board issues while in office.    And I think this blog is certainly in the spirit of public communication that seems to be required.

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