Thursday, June 08, 2006

Happy Holidays

I just want to join Cheryl in wishing the JIS community a lovely and re-energizing break.

We'll soon reach the 3-month anniversary of the blog. I hope we've laid the groundwork for more open and spirited discussion of education issues in the 2006-2007 school year. We look forward to serving the community "IRL"also as President and Vice President of the PTA. At the bottom of this web page, you'll find a blue box noting that the opinions expressed on the blog are personal, and do not represent those of the PTA.

During the summer months, we'll be posting only occasionally from various points on the globe. If you are traveling, stay well and safe...and don't stray too far from a computer screen.

Thanks to our readers and especially to our commenters. You've enriched and educated us.


At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can the President and VP of the PTA publish a Blog and still say that this is an independent publication that does not represent the views of the PTA?

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Catherine Quoyeser said...

You raise an important concern, Anonymous.

We are following the lead of some of the best newspapers, the most powerful organizations, and the most highly respected leaders in the world. Any opinion-editorial page of any great newspaper regularly features guest opinions written by leaders of organizations. When those guests are voicing their personal opinions, there will be an editorial notation to that effect at the bottom of the piece.

In the world of book and journal publishing, working professionals are free to publish their own ideas, research, and opinions unless they have signed a contract with their employers stipulating otherwise. Of course, the PTA is a voluntary organization.

Free speech is so precious and valuable in policy making -- educational or otherwise. We are confident that a sophisticated and highly educated readership such as the JIS community can distinguish between our personal opinions on the blog and those of the PTA.

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The opinion-editorial page is reviewed by the news paper editor before it is published.

You are able to publish your own views here. But, those same views and opinions will be part of the agenda that you will pursue as members of the PTA. Thus, without the consent of an editor you are able to push your own agenda without review and label it as independent of the organization you are a member.

Free speech is important as the integrity behind the agenda. Thus, you should probably increase the size and location of your disclaimer to make sure that every post informs readers that these are independent thoughts.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Catherine Quoyeser said...

The wonderful thing about blogs is, anyone can create one and anyone can comment, anonymously or otherwise. Also, anyone can tune out. In fact, you have to make a concerted effort to tune in. We're happy that so many people have visited the blog.

Why? We believe the technology has great potential to facilitate and widen participation in educational policy discussions. However, it is no substitute for the hard work of governance and democratic due process.

Happily, the PTA Constitution does not allow individuals to push through personal agendas. Decisions are made by a majority vote of the Executive Committee at regular open meetings. Most Committee members are elected by parents who cast ballots at the Annual General Meeting.

We were elected by 86 percent of those who attended the last AGM although we urged PTA members to vote "no" if they did not support our vision or had other reservations about our leadership. We specifically mentioned our commitment to the blog. Though other candidates were encouraged to step forward before and during the AGM, none did.

In the world of journalism, guest authors and the organizations they work for -- just as much as editors -- insist on disclaimers in part to protect themselves from legal liability. For our part, we insist on the disclaimer as a matter of principle across our multiple voluntary roles: blog managers, blog contributors, and PTA officers.

Cheryl is our technical expert. Perhaps she can unlock the mystery of how to move the disclaimer to a more prominent location. To date, it has also proved impossible to move the Site Meter from the very bottom of the home page.

We hope we win your confidence in our integrity, Anonymous. Thanks for your comments.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger Cheryl van Tilburg said...

Technical expert? Catherine, you oversell my capabilities. But indeed, I'm trying to figure out how to reconfigure our blog template to improve the disclaimer's placement. If Anonymous, or anyone else, knows HTML code and would like to help me, please let me know. Thanks!

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