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Guest Thinkers

Dear superintendent

[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]

Dear superintendent,

I lost one of my principals in our Principal Blogging Project today. I’m not very happy about it. You see, it’s your fault.

She was a fabulous blogger. She used her blog to share great things

that were happening in her school. She uploaded photos and graphics to

create student and parent interest. She hyperlinked to helpful

resources. She was a master at using her blog to enhance communication

with parents and build school community. Parents and students loved it.

She was even featured in the newspaper for her blogging efforts.

But then you came to the district. Its new superintendent. The

person who is supposed to lead the way. And you shut her down. Why?

Because of a few negative parent comments on a few blog posts.

You had the chance to do the right thing. You had the chance to hear

your principal tell you about the power of this new communication

medium. You had the chance to find out that every major corporation is

blogging and that there are numerous reasons why administrators should blog.

You had the chance to learn about the technology and the fact that

individual commenters could be blocked or that comments could be turned

off altogether. Sure, some interactivity would be disabled. Sure, some

of the power of blogging would be lost. But at least the principal’s

voice could have been preserved.

But you didn’t. Instead you had a knee-jerk reaction and shut her

down. Closed her off. Relegated her to the inefficiencies of a listserv

and a paper newsletter.

The irony is that you say on your district web page that you embrace

change. That you value the input of parents and the local community.

That you always want to do what’s best for kids. How do you reconcile

shutting down your cutting-edge principal’s use of modern communication

tools with your so-called values?

Shame on you. You’re supposed to be modeling effective leadership.

You’re supposed to be facilitating your building-level leaders’ use of

21st century technologies so that teachers and students will be more

likely to use them. You’re supposed to be the penultimate “lifelong

learner” in your organization. As someone who prepares superintendents,

I am not impressed.

Congratulations. You’ve moved your school system one step closer to

the 19th century. I’m sure your parents and community will thank you

for it. May your reign be short.                           


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