Friday, July 3, 2009

Community Engagement

Seattle Public Schools has an acknowledged problem with community engagement.

The District has made a number of commitments to community engagement that have not been met. There is a Community Engagement Protocol for each project of the Strategic Plan, but none of them are following it.

The Board's community engagement practices are particularly bad. They don't actually engage. The people who take time and effort to speak to the Board at Board meetings should get a response.

The public is going to have their say. If the public gets to speak before the decision is made, then their are giving input. If they speak after the decision is made then they are making complaints. The District gets to choose whether they get input or complaints by setting the timing of public input. Oddly, they appear to prefer complaints to input. That needs to stop.

Every motion brought before the Board has a Board Action Report. There is a place on the Board Action Report form for Community Engagement. The Board should insist on authentic community engagement for every motion that is brought before them just as the Board should insist that the staff collect data to support the motion and consider the fiscal consequences of each motion.

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