Need for more transparency, participation in education

Photo by GPTwisted

As quickly as the financial bailout rescue bill was passed (for Congress anyway), it was remarkable in that legislators attempted an announced public markup period, as short as it was. I hope that all legislation will eventually go through this process.

School districts can learn from the Sunlight Foundation and involve the community earlier in the process. Some St. Louis County districts use BoardDocs to post agendas, minutes and supporting documents in an easy-to-access manner. (See Rockwood for an example)

I would like to see them go one step further and open up documents for a public markup period before they make it to the board presentation stage. For example, if a committee is going to recommend changes to content area’s curriculum, posting the proposed changes before the board presentation allows for more parent involvement than the one or two parents selected to be on the committee. This encourages buy-in or at least allows for time to work on consensus.

Openness and transparency can go a long way to bring our schools into the 21st century.