I have been granted an account on DocumentCloud; I am still setting it up, but I hope to make a repository of FOIA documents I have received.
As another experiment, I am going to try to embed a trial portion of documents right here (fail)
The FOIA and OMA laws/policies contain some very interesting verbiage. In a recent letter to some district administrators, I pointed out the following clause at the beginning of the Illinois FOIA:
The first paragraph if 5 ILCS 140/1 reads:
Sec. 1. Pursuant to the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of government, it is declared to be the public policy of the State of Illinois that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts and policies of those who represent them as public officials and public employees consistent with the terms of this Act. Such access is necessary to enable the people to fulfill their duties of discussing public issues fully and freely, making informed political judgments and monitoring government to ensure that it is being conducted in the public interest.
This is one of the main reasons why I push for obtaining the Kindergarten lottery data year after year. This also drives me to request other various documents, and I fully encourage others to take up this pursuit as well. To a degree, it would seem that the more information we can put out there the better off we are all. Yet, I find it perturbingly fascinating that Aristotle is credited with the following quote: “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”
During a talk I had with Dr. Wiegand and Stephanie Stuart last week, the idea of shared accountability came up. I believe the district realizes the value and worth of being held accountable, and I think we all realize how challenging it is to put yourself into a position of asking to be held accountable. While many people may find things to complain about (many of them valid to be sure), I firmly believe the district leadership is slowly moving down the right path towards accountability. Yes, of course I want faster progress! I am sometimes an impatient son of a gun.
But the kicker is that more people have to be involved in this slice of life. The FOIA is only as good as the people who are fulfilling their duties – if we are not pursuing and demanding the full and free discourse of public issues, nor making informed political judgments, nor monitoring government to make sure it is in the public interest, then we fail.
We have to work together on this. Are you on board? If not, why not?