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Re: Truth, Justice, and the American Way

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  • Ms. Ott
    ... way might still be alive and with a little prodding maybe those that are still the silent majority might wake up and participate. ... Dear Kevin, Thank you
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 23, 2006
      --- "Kevin Rivard" wrote:
      > reading your post showed me that truth, justice and the American
      way might still be alive and with a little prodding maybe those that
      are still the silent majority might wake up and participate.

      Dear Kevin,

      Thank you so much for your exuberant reply to my post. I actually
      think it will require a LOT of prodding and education to get the
      silent majority to first wake up and then act, but I sincerely
      believe it's possible.

      I also sincerely believe that communication is key to making that
      happen. For those of you who don't know, Thomas Paine (whose ideas
      from his pamphlet "Common Sense" inspired Jefferson's Declaration of
      Independence) was a printer who effectively marketed his ideas of
      democracy to the masses by using the best communication tool of the
      day – the printing press.

      I have no doubt that to get the silent majority to become involved,
      the smaller number of motivated activists must be very, very
      organized because, having extremely limited resources, they have to
      get the most bang for the buck. An organized system makes
      effective communication possible. Effective communication enables
      better information sharing. Better information sharing creates more
      informed masses. More informed masses become more involved masses.

      Once there is the solid foundation of an organized system of
      communication, all sorts of other changes are possible. Without
      that foundation, there will be great frustration and a lot of wasted
      energy. You will be blown about by the whims of others' agenda

      In the world of theoretical physics, there are chaotic systems and
      ordered systems. In an ordered system, one knows what to expect,
      and there are contingency plans for potential exceptions that may
      occur; it operates "smoothly." In a chaotic system, one cannot
      predict the outcome and it's a big mess. An ordered system is
      capable of doing a known quantity of work. A chaotic system, has no
      predictable outcome and little, if any, work is accomplished in
      spite of how much energy is poured into it.

      How does theoretical physics apply to our reality? Because what we
      have are a bunch of chaotic systems. So many of the complaints I've
      read here have no chance of being addressed much less resolved
      equitably. Why? There are several factors.

      First, whatever system of accountability exists, it seems to have
      large gaping holes in its implementation.

      Second, a large number of parents do not know what is going on nor
      what they really can do about it, and the large immigrant population
      adds to the number of uninformed masses because they probably
      weren't educated as children about the nuances of local and state
      governments in the U.S. To change this situation requires a better
      system of information sharing and education for parents.

      Another problem is that with everyone chasing after their own pet
      peeve, there is no coordinated effort to address any one specific
      problem before moving onto the next. Folks are flying about willy
      nilly in their activist efforts. Those who are like-minded are not
      organized and coordinated so little gets accomplished. (United we
      stand. Divided we fall.)

      Another significant factor that hinders and prevents positive
      changes is that those who really know what's going on in our
      classrooms and education system – the teachers – have no good way to
      make changes. They don't have the time (they're overworked
      already), and open communication and activism for a better way of
      doing things runs the very real risk of career suicide. Nobody
      should be expected to do this, and those who do are very courageous
      role models. Stressed out and sometimes unemployed role models, but
      very courageous ones, too.

      A 7-STEP PLAN

      I believe that if you want to be less frustrated and have more
      successes in WCCUSD, I strongly urge folks in this discussion group
      to work together to:

      (1) Agree to work as an organized group with your initial mandate to
      improve communication in the district by figuring out how to do it
      yourselves as a model for others.

      (2) Institute less chaotic, more effective mailing list procedures.

      (3) Create a web site to share reference information that doesn't
      change much (such as Board Meeting Procedures, MRAD funds allocation
      docs, links to CA Ed Code, etc.)

      (4) Market this communication system to the silent majority.

      (5) Choose an important issue to fight for and use this new,
      organized communication system to work on that problem. Set
      priorities and work on issues using the ordered system of
      communication, and improve the system where needed over time.


      (6) Help the teachers to create and manage a similar type of
      discussion group and web site.

      (7) Help teachers market the web site and discussion group so it
      becomes an effective (and secure way) of sharing information.


      Now, don't be deceived by the simple 7-step outline. This is a lot
      of work total, but with good organization, a good leader for each
      step in the process, and division of labor it can be achieved. Once
      achieved, you have a better district-wide communication system and
      this is the essential groundwork for making all other kinds of
      changes. It can be done. Don't you think it's worth the effort?

      Thanks for reading,

      Ms. Ott
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