The Saint Paul Public Schools are discontinuing TV broadcasts of the “public feedback” segment of school board meetings.
Let’s make sure we’re clear on what we’re talking about here; the public feedback part of the meeting is about half an hour, starting at 5:30 (which is a brutally difficult time to make, for people who have day jobs), during which the School Board deigns to allow commoners to address it, in slices of three minutes, while they converse amongst themselves or pretty visibly try to fight nodding off. I did it a few years ago; you could tell that most of the board would rather have been getting a root canal.
But people watched those session via cable -and occasionally they drew blood:
…a May 2014 appearance before the St. Paul school board by five district teachers pushing for greater expectations of students and consequences for those who misbehave is credited with sparking a Caucus for Change movement dedicated to unseating board incumbents….
Board Member Anne Carroll [Who else? – Ed] argued that the change is part of a series of moves related to the collection of public comments that should give citizens a greater voice. She cited a new policy of taking online submissions that will be documented in the same way as in-person comments.
Board Member John Brodrick, who opposed the move in what was a 5-1 vote, said that having people speak to the board but not to the public via broadcast “betrayed the meaning of public comment.”…
…Currently, the comment period begins at 5:30 p.m., and when finished, gives way to an agenda item recognizing the “good work provided by outstanding district employees.”
Which sounds – I kid you not – like deputies in the old Supreme Soviet of the USSR rising to congratulate one of the collective farms in their district for meeting their five year plan with sufficient socialist fervor. Seriously; these recognitions sound like competitions to see how many times you can fit the words “Diversity” and “Multiculturalism” into sentences while still maintaining a sentence structure.
Anyway – a school district that already hides out in its Stalineque bunker on Colborne Street, above, beyond and away from its constituents, is trying to become even more so.