Our school district has now “closed” the school lunch discussion thread on its new public engagement website. Before it closed, several people had submitted posts in favor of giving kids more time for lunch, and those posts had received far more “seconds” than any other proposals on the site – one of them receiving 32 votes. My own proposals, “a more humane environment” and “less emphasis on reflexive obedience to get material rewards,” also received a higher-than-average number of seconds – 11 and 12, respectively.
Through some mysterious process – the engagement website is particularly convoluted – the district can put some ideas into the “Great idea!” or “Recommended to Schools” categories. Even though the school lunch thread attracted far more participants than any of the other categories, the district did not designate any of the lunch ideas “great” or “recommended.” The only “great” idea was “More Bike Racks,” and the only “recommended” idea was one promoting National Walk to School Day. Those ideas received 9 and 7 seconds, respectively.
The district did post a non-committal statement thanking people for the lunch suggestions and saying that “The district is assessing this situation and has implemented some changes in buildings to improve the situation.” None of those changes, however, involved lengthening the lunch period. Nor did the district put any of the lunch ideas into the “researching” category.
The district has still not opened any threads on curriculum, or on the proposed bond issue, or on the controversial plan for a new high school.
The public engagement site was hard to take seriously at the outset. It’s not getting any easier.