No one, not even Mr. Manhas, is blind to the dysfunction in Seattle Public Schools. Unfortunately, no one, particularly Mr. Manhas, has done much to address it. Perhaps they don't have any ideas about how to address it.
Well, I'm all about solutions. It's not enough to complain; one must also offer remedies. You may not think these remedies are any good; in which case I welcome opportunities for improvement. I don't know if anyone in a position to do so can or will take these ideas forward, but I will offer them anyway. Let no one suggest that these problems can never be solved.
IDEA #1 Contributor Column.
If you take a look at any Board Action, such as the sample shown here, you will see that the format includes a three-column table with the headings: Options, Pros & Cons of Each, and Fiscal Impact & Revenue Source. I propose that we add another column called "Contributors". In the contributors column, the person writing the School Board Action Report will list the names of those who contributed to the action item. If they are District staff, they should be listed by name and department (or school). Moreover, there should be some description of the nature and extent of each person's contribution.
This would directly address several of the District's fundamental dysfunctions.
It would disclose the collaboration - or lack of collaboration between departments, thereby contributing to the breakdown of the notorious "silos" within the JSCEE - a known area of dysfunction in the District.
It would disclose the collaboration - or lack of collaboration with the community and student families, thereby contributing to meaningful community engagement - a known area of dysfunction in the District.
It would name the names of the people responsible for District decisions, thereby contributing to increased accountability - a known area of dysfunction in the District.
When this information is present, the Board can use it to ask: were the people in this affected school or department consulted? And if the Board doesn't believe that the action item reflects sufficient collaboration between departments or with the public, or doesn't adequately disclose the people who are driving the idea, they can ask for that prior to the vote. Moreover, the Board can directly their questions to the people involved in the decision, included those who prefer alternatives.
So, what do you think? Would this innovation result in improved collaboration, improved community engagement and improved accountability? Would it be worth the time, cost and effort? Could this idea be improved? Is there a better way to accomplish the same ends?