In the midst of this horrible, rotten day, I was frustrated by the world spinning around me. Once I got home and worked through the day with my husband, I realized the source of my frustration: a lack of communication.
- Decisions were made of which I had no input,
- changes were made that directly affected me without warning, unaware that those changes were going to be peppered throughout my entire day,
- meetings were cancelled and changed at the last minute,
- policy was being decided and defined behind closed doors, and
- all I wanted to do was teach kids to the best of my ability – and I felt as if I were being sabotaged.
This got me thinking … I wanted to fight back. I didn't want to understand or be tolerant or see the good in everyone. I wanted to fight, blame and complain.
I often find myself experiencing this same frustration with the communication coming from our school district. It isn’t just my day job that lacks efficiency and effectiveness with regard to communication; it exists in my personal and family life, as well.
Emails from the district, articles written about our schools in local papers, events publicized around town, they all celebrate our district successes – and I love hearing the good news in a world full of bad – but when and where is the real work being done? When are policies being discussed? When are decisions about curriculum and student achievement being made? When is controversial law affecting students being debated before changes are being implemented on our campuses? How do the members of our community have chances to participate in talks about issues that directly affect them when their children have already graduated from the system? How can we ensure equity for all?
These are the issues that ultimately frustrate me and put me in a fighting mood, and I’m assuming these are the same issues that frustrate us all. I know there has to be a better way.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, board meetings are a public meeting and not a meeting for the public. So when does the public have the opportunity to have real discussion with the district leaders?
I would like to see:
- Community Forums started in our district to allow open communication and discussion
- More relevant communication with the community that discusses the tough issues and welcomes debate and input
- Invitations to information nights about educational law being mandated in the schools
- School News sections in all the local neighborhood papers written by school leadership to keep the entire community informed about more than just fundraisers and awards
Not every decision being made at the district level is going to make everyone happy. That’s the nature of public education and democracy, but I do know that I, personally, would be much less likely to fight against and more tolerant and supportive of the decisions being made and implemented if I were more informed. An understanding of the issues could make the difference for us all.
Our district has work to do, so let’s get down to business - and talk it out.