Thursday, September 16, 2004

It was the Wrong Question.

The Cleveland School District is so broke this year that we cannot even afford to hold an Open House in the evening; the time when most working parents can come to the schools. There is no extra money to keep all of the buildings open at night.
Open House this year will be held during the school day.

At Max Hayes however, we are open until 9:00 every night anyway.
Because we house the district's night school program, we would be able to hold our Open House in the evening. This is, by far, the one school event with the most parent participation.

I am going to take a risk here, and share with my readers what I perceive to be a multi-leveled bungle on the part of our administration and the union leadership.

At some point it was determined the faculty should be given the choice of whether to hold our Open House during the school day on Monday, with the rest of the district, or on the traditional Thursday evening. A straw poll was taken by a union member, verbally asking; "Would you rather have Open House during the day on Monday, or come in Thursday night from 6:00 - 8:00?"

My first reaction was, "Cool, no extra hours."
But then I thought, "Oh..that would make it just like all the other daytime functions, where hardly anyone shows up."
I cast my vote in favor of Thursday night.

We learned the result of the poll at yesterday's department head meeting.
It was 2 to 1 in favor of Monday.
Both the administration and Union leadership were disappointed.
I was shocked.
I couldn't believe so many of my colleagues would be so selfish.
Never known for holding back an opinion, I commented that I found it hard to believe, with all the complaining we do as teachers about the lack of parental involvement in the schools, we would shut the door in the faces of our parents when we have the opportunity to invite them in.
After the meeting, three department heads told me that they originally voted for Monday, but my comment changed their minds.

This made me pause and think again.

Maybe my colleagues aren't all that selfish.
It was really just a bad question.
Had the question been phrased differently, referencing the fact that parents who worked would not be able to attend, I am certain the majority of the staff would have chosen the Thursday night open house.
Had I gone with my initial reaction of night vs day, without considering the consequences, I too would have picked the Monday option.
Combine this observation with the fact most people will not give as much thought to a question asked orally as they would a written question; Well, no wonder the response was self-centered.

I think I need to have a little chat with the boss tomorrow morning.


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