12 Responses to “Letter to U4BOE and Dr. Wiegand”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    I was reading up on Paul Fallon since I have been influenced lately by Fishkin and others, and as such am very curious how this professional opinion polling thing is going to go down.

    About Paul:

    As a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, Fallon Research & Communications, adheres to its professional ethics and guidelines.

    AAPOR Mission and Goals:

    AAPOR is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the science and practice of survey and opinion research to give people a voice in the decisions that affect their daily lives.

    We strive to:

    Educate policy makers and the public at large to help them make better use of surveys and survey findings;
    Educate practitioners on new developments affecting our field;
    Advocate the highest standards of ethical conduct for survey and opinion research;
    Encourage and disseminate research and innovations that improve our methods;
    Encourage and disseminate systematic analyses of public opinion on the major issues of the day;
    Promote best practices in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting survey data;
    Provide opportunities for our members to exchange views and promote the values of our organization; and
    Act as an advocate for survey and opinion research and its practitioners.

    These all sound good. Really good in fact. So I will be keeping a close eye to make sure this is what we get. 🙂

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Response from Dr. Wiegand:

    I sent a message this afternoon to the assistant in the Business Office that oversees this and asked for [the RFP] to be uploaded to the website. I will check on the status on Monday.

    Representatives from Dejong will be in Champaign on Wednesday and Thursday and I will share your thoughts as highlighted below and get back with you on the response.

    Regarding the Educational Programming Team, members from this group will be included on a revamped Facilities Steering Committee. This committee will be one group that Dejong reps will work with. I am still working on the membership for this committee and once it has been determined I will post it on the website.


  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    Without having seen the RFP, yet, I find it interesting that the link to the DeJong proposal on Unit 4’s website is labeled “Proposal for Public Engagement/High School Site Selection”. All along I thought we were talking about Public Engagement only (as indicated in my letter to the Board). I am quite curious how “High School Site Selection” got tossed in there.

    Here is my fear (call me a conspiracy theory monger or whatever): I don’t want this to turn into a PR stunt. I don’t want a few people in administration to decide what the district is going to do and then try to get the community to buy into it. From my point of view, the school district and the community need to come together and together write a new script for our future, to deliberate, argue and otherwise hash it all out. Without those components, I don’t see the community taking responsibility or having any kind of ownership. This is pattern we have developed over the past few decades.

  4. Jackie Says:

    I’ve had opportunities to sit in/listen in on a number of community discussions and committees that involved either directly or tangentially the issue of high school site selection. It is my personal opinion that there are essentially a couple of options 1) create some sort of facility in town as close to center/north side as possible–this facility, even if brand new, will still not have the recommended amount of space for parking, athletics facilities, etc–though it could be a significant improvement from the current state of affairs; students and parents who rely on walking, rides from friends, public transportation, etc would be able to access and participate on the campus of what from its inception–there could be a sense that the school is in our community–a drawback is that is an inferior facility from the beginning; people who don’t have difficulties with transportation and communication would find it inconvenient and be frustrated that the building for their perfect children is anything less than perfect 2) build a new facility somewhere on the “outskirts” that includes recommended amount of space. It would be easy to access for those with easy personal transportation and time–for those relying on public transportation or borrowing rides from family or friends, this would be a NIGHTMARE–kid gets injured at school or you need to go meet with a school staff person, drop off forgotten permission slip, pick up a child for an appointment? No way–even if it did have public transportation, it would likely served only once per hour during the school day–you’d have to take off an entire half day or more of work just to get there and back.

    Opinions on these issues are STRONG and there really isn’t a compromise.It’s pretty much one or the other. There are valid advantages and disadvantages to either option, so it’s a “pick your poison” kind of situation. THere are differences in the SES and racial/ethnic composition of the communities that are relatively advantaged/disadvantaged in each option. I feel sympathy for the school administrators who will ultimately have to make a decision that will automatically make half the community angry. With either option, a groups of families gets its concerns marginalized . . so whom should we marginalize? Should we marginalize the people with comfortable and frequent access to the media? Or perhaps we should marginalize the concerns of a group of people that is less media-connected?

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    Jackie, this is exactly the situation I want to embrace; not because I am masochistic (I don’t think so, at least), but because we must acknowledge that there will always be differences of opinion, and we must deal with them.

    Your 2nd paragraph is something that concerns me greatly. Yes, when all the dust has cleared, some folks are going to be happier with the final decision than others. But why is it that the school administrators are stuck in a lose/lose and “have to make a decision that will automatically make half the community angry”? It is my sincere hope that the community is not being an armchair quarter in this game – I personally see a huge value in getting these discussions into open spaces so that those who strongly favor Option A can hear and understand the reasoning for Option B, and vice versa. I foresee this being a tougher challenge for those with high social capital because there is a looming threat of the perception of losing some of that capital (I might relabel it as “entitlement”). Your statement about whom we should marginalize is a very common perspective – I want to change the game. I am of the belief that if we appropriately and wisely empower and lift up those with low social capital we, as a whole will gain, much more than if we continue to throw more social capital at those who are already benefiting from it. There is a perception of loss if we go that route, hence I think it would be helpful to educate everyone about the holistic and long-term costs of these actions.

    It is laughably easy (although quite sad) to make a comparison to the recent Occupy movement and their slogan about the 1% vs the 99%.

    This is the way I see it. I see a win/win situation. We have to shrug off the notion that “my child” deserves a perfect education (whatever that is). We have to acknowledge that we are all in this fight together, and thus together we will do good. Some people call this “paying it forward”, others “social justice”, others still call it simply “love”. It doesn’t matter what you call it, we have to stop thinking about what is best for me and mine, unless your arms are so big you are including everyone in your family. 🙂

    Before you call me a hypocrite, I’ll confess it – these things are a challenge and I know for myself, I struggle mightily with being selfish and wanting what’s best for me and my small family. I am no master at thinking of everyone else. But I am working on it.

  6. Jackie Says:

    People have different values (and their own values inform what feels to them to be “correct” action). My personal belief is that “dialogue” sessions won’t be effective at changing values. Dialogues may allow people to stake a claim and speak about their own values, but even as they listen to what someone else says, they are filtering it through their own version of right/wrong. I do not think it’s feasible to actually change peoples’ values in any sort of community engagement discussion/conversation.

  7. Karen Says:

    IMO dialogue can lead to recognition of the need for compromise without people having to change their (core) values. Just as people want their ‘interests’ considered front and center, so, too, do others with competing interests (the rest of the people in the equation, so to speak). What will do the most good for the most kids? Many people will not get what they want but contextualizing the reality of the situation (money?) might lead to the recognition of what is/is not possible, realistically vs. ideally.

  8. Karen Says:

    @Jackie–what is comfortable access to the media and who do you characterize as getting it?

    You wrote:

    ‘. . so whom should we marginalize? Should we marginalize the people with comfortable and frequent access to the media? Or perhaps we should marginalize the concerns of a group of people that is less media-connected?’

  9. pattsi Says:

    I am now confused as to why a PR firm has been hired to help site a new HS. Is that not the job of an urban planner? These people are trained to plan, facilitate discussons to plan, and create win-win situations. A PR firm is hired to get the money issue passed.

  10. Public Engagement/High School Site selection RFP « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] to older posts (1, 2) ShareShareEmail Pin It Posted in Community, research. Tags: dejong, high school site selection, […]

  11. DeJong responds to my questions « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] regards to questions I have posed to the Board and the Superintendent, Dr. Wiegand has passed along responses from DeJong (et al) and […]

  12. Fallon Research is making the phone calls « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] Fallon is all about engaging the public and collecting opinions, I am very curious how they do that. They have rented out the UofI Tech Plaza are offering light […]

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