I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It’s Time for School Board Members to Network

I want to fundamentally change the way School Board Members (and other governmental bodies subject to open meeting laws) around the country approach their jobs. 


Because the world is changing and we operate as if we are in the early 1900s.  Publishing hard-copy notices in newspapers, announcing meetings a month in advance, limiting communications on social media between policymakers, restricting discourse via antiquated agenda-posting practices, limiting discourse even during advertised meetings, etc. etc. etc. 

This inefficient, Jurassic method of operating is not serving policymakers and taxpayers well and it isn’t getting the job done in my opinion.

Every other category of professionals in the world has some mechanism to reach out to colleagues except for us, members of constitutional bodies subject to open meeting laws.  We have once yearly conventions that are fantastic, but I believe we need to be communicating more frequently about more subjects and I also believe newly elected Board Members need an “outlet” that they can access independently to learn and discover what their jobs are all about in “real-time”  with no distillation and dilution along the way.  And I realize that Open Meeting Laws and Open Records Laws must be obeyed--yet these laws severely restrict this sort of information sharing----.  So I’ve developed a potential solution….

Over the last two years I have worked, together with the input and help of 4 lawyers in three states, a graphic designer, and two computer programmers, to create MEYONTI.COM.

The word “MEYONTI” is an acronym that stands for “Many Eyes on These Issues.”  

I believe complex issues are best solved when many people look at the same issue and provide input and solutions and ideas. 

From such a concept to reality takes time, patience, and perseverance-  I totally understand and get this;  This is why I have slow rolled this idea out.  It is a radical departure from the norm, but one I feel is necessary.

So I will be advocating for Board Members around the state to start looking at this site for ideas, information, and knowledge sharing—and I am counting on the fact that some (hopefully many) Current Board Members, administrators, parents, retired school personnel, and others will take time to add content and participate in building the online community that will feed this site with valuable content.

  Because I know, as most will concede, that there are others out there doing the things we do better than we are.  And if those that are doing what we do better than we do are willing to share their best practices with us—we need to look at this and see if we can model their ideas and best practices in our local jurisdictions.

I feel so strongly about this need that I developed the site using my own resources to do so—because I could not find anything like what I’ve developed anywhere out there in cyberspace.   I have developed a patent (which is a very dry read, I must caution) which has been accepted by the U.S. P.T.O.

I have reached out to the Florida School Boards Association, and they have expressed a tentative interest in the idea. My game plan going forward is to “Beta-Test” this concept around the state, together with the FSBA if they choose to do so, to see if a site like this has a demand and to also work out any kinks in the software.

The next step, if things go well in Florida and I sense a level of acceptance among Board Members and the education community—Is I want to present this Idea at the NSBA conference in 2014 and get a lot more board members looking at issues together and coming up with solutions while at the same time not violating open records laws and/or open meeting laws.

I’ll be talking about this idea a lot more in the months ahead, Just as I did last May and also just today--- but for those who are interested in what the site will do, how it will work, and what I believe will be the site’s best attributes, additional information about the whole idea can be found here.

And for those who are ready to jump in now, go to MEYONTI.COM  (..or .ORG or .NET) and sign up and start participating and contributing.  Lets work together to make our system better and more efficient!

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