On page 18 of this 21 page document, is a section titled "Board-Superintendent Communications". Under this section is this set of guidelines for communication between the Board and the superintendent:
Communications between the Board and the Superintendent will be governed by the following practices:
a. Exercise honesty in all written and interpersonal interaction, avoiding misleading information
b. Demonstrate respect for the opinions and comments of each other
c. Focus on issues rather than on personalities
d. Maintain focus on common goals
e. Communicate with each other in a timely manner to avoid surprises
f. Criticize privately, praise publicly
g. Maintain appropriate confidentiality
h. Openly share personal concerns, information knowledge and agendas
i. Make every reasonable effort to protect the integrity and promote the positive image of the district and each other
j. Respond in a timely manner to request and inquired from each other
Nestled in there, among all of the talk about honesty, openness, and respect, is the direction to "criticize privately, praise publicly". This practice would, of course, be intentionally deceptive to the public, and intentionally opposed to honesty and openness, and intentionally disrespectful to the public. This practice would create an alliance between the Board and the superintendent against the public. This practice would hide from the public the Board's work to hold the superintendent accountable for performance and require, instead, a constant stream of happy talk at Board meetings, work sessions, and oversight reviews. Imagine how those oversight review sessions will go if the Board is prohibited from publicly criticizing the staff's work. They will have to claim that everything is rainbows and lollipops all the time.
The practice is re-inforced further down the list where the Board and the superintendent are directed to "Make every reasonable effort to protect the integrity and promote the positive image of the district and each other" It is not the Board's job to promote the superintendent's positive image. It is not the Board's job to protect the superintendent's integrity - whatever that means. It is the superintendent's job to earn a positive image and to protect his or her own integrity (as if someone else can damage a person's integrity).
Why and how is it okay for the Board to advocate for a policy of deceiving the public?