Monday, March 19, 2012

Korte down on facilitation

School Board Secretary and darling of the Journal, Kathy Korte doesn't like the idea, link, of spending $4500 dollars on facilitation to break the impasse in the Student Health Advisory Council.

The need for facilitation is incontrovertible; a district task force on reproductive education has become so polarized, they have stopped making progress.

Korte, according to the Journal, said "the task force has become a drain on APS' scarce resources, and the money could be better spend elsewhere." She would like $4500 to be spent offering students more PE.

Nevertheless, here they are with a mandated advisory council that is dysfunctional; a council in need of facilitation. I can't speak to source of the $4,500, or where else it could be spent, but there doesn't seem to be many choices.

The leadership of the APS is generally averse to facilitation of meetings, and not because the money could be better spent elsewhere. If facilitation worked to their advantage, they would be pouring money into it.

The truth is, the leadership of the APS like to lead meetings; they like to control the agenda and the discussion. As long as they chair all their own meetings, they can steer the meetings in the direction that suits their interests.

The leadership of the APS has an agenda. Facilitation, if it is impartial and competent, represents a threat to any agenda that cannot stand on its own.

As to the efficacy of these particular facilitators; according to the Journal;

"Suzanne Gagnon, who chairs the health advisory council and is a member of the task force, said the outside advisers have helped keep meetings on track and narrow recommendations"
"Marcie May, a parent member of the task force, said the facilitators are stifling free debate ... She said she feels parents have been left out of the conversation."
There is a question of impartiality; APS picked the facilitators, people with whom they have history. It would not be the first time the leadership of the APS has appointed a facilitator of their own to "facilitate" their agenda in lieu of open and honest two-way communication.

photo Mark Bralley

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