I got a kick out of our district’s new e-newsletter, The District Dialogue. Despite the title, there is no way to comment on the articles. Maybe, as another parent said to me, “they are confusing the word dialogue with the similar word monologue.”
The newsletter directs people to the district’s engagement website to “join the conversation.” It’s a great site to go to if you want your dialogue to be channeled, micromanaged, and straitjacketed. (See posts here and here.) It’s the kind of “dialogue” you’d expect from people who really like multiple-choice tests. Unsurprisingly, the “conversation” at the site has dwindled to nearly nothing, only a few months after the site began.
Of course, the internet and social media provide endless opportunities for people to connect with each other and discuss issues in whatever way they like, sans the self-serving paternalism. Why go to the baby pool when the ocean is right there?
Karen W. has a great post up about what meaningful engagement does and doesn’t look like. Call me a Luddite, but I’d be happy just to have a bulletin board. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I were simply to post a sign on the wall at our elementary school. Nothing big – maybe just a sheet of paper protesting the short lunch periods, posted where parents dropping off their kids would see it. Do you think the school would let it stay up? If not, what would their rationale for removing it be?