Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Editors back Korte, don't need no stinkin' facilitators

The editors came out this morning, link, in support of APS School Board Secretary Kathy Korte and her "vigilance against bureaucratic waste".

She, and they, think it is a waste of money to hire facilitators to help citizens and administrators reach consensus on important issues.

Editors wrote, if citizens need help petitioning their government, they should get it on their own time and dime. And that, APS' job is educate students, not their parents.

This though, school board policy reads;

The Board of Education recognizes that constructive
study, discussion, and active participation by citizens
is necessary to promote the best program of education
in the community.
But only on their own time and their own dime?

A more fundamental waste is to create advisory committees in the first place, knowing they will become hopelessly mired in meetings that go nowhere because they can't stay on track, because they lack chairmanship with real meeting skills.

APS has for as long as I can remember, responded to stakeholder efforts to be included in the decision making process, by forming them into committees and councils with no attention given to helping them function effectively and efficiently. Just because a group of citizens are educated, experienced and energized, doesn't mean one of them has the skill set to keep a contentious meeting on the rails.

It is hard to imagine a more omnipresent cause of failed meetings than the absence of a chair who was a skilled and impartial facilitator.

The editors have struck a blow against meaningful community involvement in schools. It doesn't come as any surprise; these are the same people who don't see anything newsworthy in the school board denying due process to more than a hundred petitioners and their petition to enable open and honest discussion of important issues, between the leadership of the APS and the community members they serve.

No comments: