Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A touring we will go, a touring we will go, heigh-ho, the derry-o , a touring we will go

APS Supt Winston Brooks likes to "gather community input".  He loves to tour the district "gathering input", link, link, link, and link.

On his list of achievements, he claims "dozens of community meetings to gather input ..., link.

Brooks has let us know in his monthly Journal column, link, he has plans for more input; this time on school closings due to budget constraints.  Oddly, a few days later, the budget problems that would cause the school closings, seem to have evaporated, link.

We’re hoping to put together a committee this summer to begin the strategic planning process. We’ll need everyone at the table: the business community, parents, teachers, principals, students. These tough decisions aren’t just ours to make, they’re the community’s. We need to come together to figure out how to best serve our students.
The Journal editors think, link,
Brooks is smart to get “everyone at the table: the business community, parents, teachers, principals, students” to vet ideas.
For what purpose, exactly?  What does "community input" mean to Brooks and the leadership of the APS?

The community members who give their input, believe their input influences the decision making process, either by adding new information, or by changing the minds of policy makers.  Neither happens.

In the first place, there is no new information to add.  They're not going to stumble onto the silver bullet no matter how much "input" they gather.  And, gathering input doesn't come for free, link.

What about the recently completed forums on bullying, what did they really learn, link?  What about all the goal setting meetings, where are the notes about what they really learned?

The real tell; if Brooks' interest in "input" were genuine, he would be soliciting input from teachers who between them share almost 100,000 years of current teaching experience.  Instead, he squeezed them out of the decision making process.  Never, not once, during Brooks entire tenure, have teachers been surveyed.  Not once have they been asked what they need, or what they perceive the real problems to be.

Brooks is not looking for new information; he is not looking to have his decision making influenced.  He is giving interest holders a shoulder to cry on and misleading them about the impact it will have.

photo Mark Bralley

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