Friday, January 23, 2015

"Community members seats" surprisingly hard to sell

I have been trying for awhile to explain to groups of people who feel left out of decision making, that they can have seats at APS school board committee meetings; that the seats are there for the taking.

It doesn't seem to resonate.

Part of the problem is the jump from endorsing the possibility of community member seats to the possibilities of failure; what if, what if, what if.  We lose sight of the forest for the trees.

The question is not;
can participatory decision making at the committee level be made to work?

The question is;

Do we want participatory decision making at the committee level to work? 
Do school board members and superintendents really want to sit at roundtables with representatives of communities and community members and engage in open and honest two-way communication with the communities and community members they serve?
If school board members really want to establish more seats at the table, you could ask them;
do you support community member seats
on APS school board committees?
they would answer "yes". I do.

Any answer except yes,
including not answering the question at all,
means no.

There is no time, no day, no place where communities and community members have the close attention of the leadership of the APS.  No venue where they can expect to engage in any open and honest two-way communication between the leadership of the APS and the people they serve.

There is no place where the leadership of the APS are expected to respond candidly, forthrightly and honestly to legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service.

There are two seats on the Audit Committee; already, in school board policy.

It was pointed out in the recognition ceremony for the newest community member on the Audit Committee, that she had gotten the seat by "raising her hand".

A perfectly reasonable prerequisite of taking one's seat
at the table where one's interests are at stake.

No comments: