Urbana School District Board puts themselves under an "interesting" PR policy

Jim Dey of the News-Gazette takes a very interesting (and somewhat harsh) spin on new policies adopted in Unit 116:

http://www.news-gazette.com/opinions/editorials/2012-07-02/urbana-board-rules-insult-public.html

 

Jim Turpin talks with Jim Dey on “Penny for your thoughts”: http://assets.news-gazette.com/sites/all/files/audio/2012/07/02/penny_7-2-12.mp3

 

The general stance from both Mr. Dey and Mr. Turpin seems to be that this is really bad news, and a bad precedent for School Boards to be taking. Both gentlemen seem surprised that the Urbana School Board had the guts to put it in black-and-white – there is speculation that a lot of Boards seek this kind of “controlling the message” in an effort to unite the voice of the body.

 

More later.

For myself, I would want to read the said policies for myself before I form my own opinion. I have often wondered how best for a body to fulfill their purpose as a middle-man between the body of registered taxpayers that votes them into the position and the administration for whom they are ultimately responsible. Having one, unified voice (I hear “Lord of the Rings” in the background) certainly makes sense in one direction; but how does it help engage the public and “do discussion”? Obviously, in practice we have a hard time finding a balance.

6 Responses to “Urbana School District Board puts themselves under an "interesting" PR policy”

  1. Vav Says:

    It sounds to me like the “training” is paying off…

    For several years I’ve heard that the Illinois Assoication of School Board annual conference sponsors presentations and encourages this behavior in school boards. I understand that these presentations and suggestions are often made by Superintendents. The goal often sounds good like presenting a unified front or showing the public we are a unified board or something similar. To me it is against good government. In a representative democracy, the people what to hear from those they select to represent them. We already have very little public comment from our boards on their personal views. The public understands that boards are made of individuals andd that those individuals have opinions. If only more were willing to offer their “2 cents” in the public square

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    A question just came to mind. Show me an example of a really good, working government. This assignment is not just for you, Vav, but all the readers. Obviously “good” is subjective, so I expect subjective answers. Don’t just theorize on me, show me an example that you (again, “you” in the general, plural sense) uphold as a model.

    I’ll posit one example I like. It is not perfect, but I like the characteristics of people pointing out issues and those in authority address the issues in a very measurable way:
    SeeClickFix

    I’ll have to think of others.

    In the same vein of what you are saying, Vav, I fear other school districts might try to follow Urbana’s example. To me, again based on what little I know and have observed, it feels very controlling and top-down with less and less bottom-up involvement. To me, that spells community disengagement.

  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    Anyone have a link to the full wording of the new Urbana Policies (labeled “Press Plus Issue 79”)? It is not clear to me if this is a modification of Chapter 8:10 or 2:140 (or something else altogether).

    [edit]It is NOT “Press Plus Issue 79: – that is something completely different.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    And now I also finally remembered that tome on “decisionmaking” in the context of transportation. Yes, this is another positive example that I like.

    re: https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/news-budget-communication-still-meeting-at-houlihans/#comment-1376

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    Here is the PDF of the Urbana school Board’s policy (“expectations”), as provided by the NG:
    http://www.news-gazette.com/pdf/2012-07-03/pdf-urbanas-new-policy-board-member-expectations.html

  6. The Purpose of the School Board « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] that stung the Urbana School District Board of Education and I started exploring his article in a post. Over lunch today, I took some time to dive into this whole thing with both […]


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