Friday, March 30, 2007

Board Debates Ethics of Blogging

If you are making your way to my site due to the article in today's Indy, WELCOME! Feel free to use this thread to comment and let me know how you feel. You can even leave comments anonymously :).
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Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Jennifer for all the effort you have put into this blog to keep us informed of your opinions and ideas.

I know that you have always pushed for more Board openess. I know that you have always tried to help the public stay informed. I know that you have never intended to cause any harm to any Board Member. I am saddened that anyone would think otherwise.

I am always amazed at how your efforts are so often twisted and stretched by others. I would find it maddening to be misunderstood as often as you have been. This is why it's so important to have this blog - anyone can find out from you what your positions really are.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for being my voice.

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Anonymous said...

Boo hoo boo hoo. read the story, checked out your site, re-read the story. bottom line bobbie wise didn't get to say she won the title of vice-prom queen first. apparently you beat her to the punch. boo hoo boo hoo. will politicians ever graduate from middle school. maybe if your meetings are televised the petty bickering will stop. btw your site is very informative. welcome to the 21st centruy Ms. Abell, and keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Ethics in question and Donald Wade is throwing stones at you? The same Donald Wade that told the paper he didn't spend more than $1000 on his campaign so he didn't need to file papers? Boy he must have gotten a great deal from the Independent with all those full page full color ads. I'm guessing one alone should have been several hundred dollars. There are lots of politicians with blogsites including our current speaker of the house.

Anonymous said...

After reading the posted comments, I am embarrassed to live in Charles County. Bill Fisher was right; there is no decorum or professionalism here.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled I supported your candidancy. How can you tolerate anonymous postings? Individuals with true concerns should not lack the courage to put names to their comments. Having worked side by side with you at Craik, I am truly disappointed. Instead of bringing our community together, this is widening the divide. You should know better.

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Jennifer Abell said...

Thank you for your support and I do value your opinion nd input but I felt the need to delete some of your posts that used foul language and name calling. As stated on my title page, some of our students visit my sight and I would like to set a good example for them by having healthy debates. I have kept copies of your posts, if you would like them, please contact me via email.

Jennifer Abell said...

Mr. & Mrs. Willimgham,
Thank you for visiting my site and I apologize for your disappointment. I do monitor the site daily and delete inappropiate material. Unfortunately some of the posts left by an "anonymous" person offended you and did not adhere to the guideline of the site. Anonymous posting allows people to vent and express valid concerns without fear of backlash.
Quite a number of CCPS teachers visit and post on my site and tey don't all necessarily agree with the EACC, CCPS, the Board or myslf. They can post anonymously without fear. If the comments get out of hand, I may have to chnage my policy. Hopefully we can all be adults and discuss these topics rationally.
As for causing a divide, I'm not sure I understand. Blogging IS endorsed by all the state and national educational organizations. My site has been in existence for approximately 9 months now. I am NOT the one to bring it to the publics attention. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone if you would like to discuss more in private.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Abell ... I visited this site after reading the article in the Friday newspaper. I am a relative newcomer to this county, having previously lived in areas where the school board meetings are televised. So, it surprised me to read that some Board members seem so adamant about controlling the release of information to the public.

Board members should appreciate that the system of waiting weeks to see approved minutes, or being content with whatever the newspaper may or may not choose to print, is not adequate. Or, at least, it is not adequate for many of us working parents who feel a responsibility to keep up with education issues, but who cannot attend board meetings.

How can an autocratic attitude about release of routine information be squared with the Board's stated belief that it desires a "collaborative relationship" with members of the community and that it has a "fiduciary relationship" with county citizens? That is the real question in any discussion of the "ethics" of this situation. Before the Board spends time defining rules for blogging it should first examine its obligations in a community where the board meetings are not televised and where there is no local media that publishes at least daily.

In this situation, a responsible blog is welcome. I hope you will continue your efforts. I plan to become a regular reader. Thank you for the space.

MikeB said...

There's a saying that goes something like "He who controls the information controls the people." This is less an argument over ethics and decorum than it is an argument over information control. you're a leak in the board's information dam and some don't like it. I think it's exactly what's needed and I hope you keep it up.

Perhaps your blog will put the onus on those opposed to it to push for far (far!) faster means of releasing information through the "official" channels. The best way to preempt your blog entries would be to televise the meetings. But some would rather waste their energies figuring out the best way to shut you up.

Anonymous said...

Personally I find it laughable that some would try to make it seem as though YOU are the one "wasting" board time and the cause of the friction. I think it's abundantly clear that you are simply doing somethng you were encouraged and taught to do by the National School Board Association and as a citizen as well as a board member you have the right to have a voice in the community - so any friction or time-wasting occuring is by those who would seek to strip you of your rights and also us of ours by only allowing the information to trickle out of "official" channels.

I could swear that Wise said in her campaign that she wanted more transparency - it seems that this need to punish and control goes against that sentiment.

As to the Willinghams - Mr. Fisher needs to look at the websites of the organizations he's affiliated with before saying they don't support members blogging. So, no, he isn't right - he's quite wrong and it is simply his OPINION that it is unprofessional to blog - one many do not share. How professional is it for you to come on this blog and say derrogatory comments to Jennifer? Well, I think it's fine - but if you disagree with this blogs existence, why are you posting your voice on it? You have every right to come on here and disagree with what she is doing, you did so in clean language - to me, that is professional and no different than what Jennifer is doing. I think it's sad that you would belittle her for standing up for her rights, doing what she said she would do in her campaign (presumebly why you voted for her) and for siding with the information Gestapo mentality as being somehow superior and high minded and professional when it's merely a desire to to make the board a club of them against us and control all the members and by default, us too. You Willinghams had better hope your message, feelings or desires never are contrary to what the board wants if you have your way, nobody will have a voice other than Wade and possibly Wise. In fact no other board member will even be allowed to tell us, the public, what is going on because it will get them in trouble, even if it's public information. Even if it's a personal opinion and they state that it's a personal opinion.

I know that the EACC sent out emails and fliers in the past during election time - right? How is THAT any different than blogging? Do you Willinghams find that unprofessional? To send out fliers and emails?

As for the anon posts - it allows people to post their feelings without fear of retribution. Yes, there is a question of accountability - but if you were under a Chair and Vice-Chair who wants to control every single message that comes out and seeks out punishment for doing what is your right to do, wouldn't you be a bit worried too if your message was different than what they would want it to be? Since you are AGREEING with with their sentiment, maybe that's why you feel fine and dandy putting YOUR name up. How would you feel if say you thought Mr. Fisher was doing a terrible job and the board was making a huge mistake? How free would you feel then to put up your name?

I think it's a real shame people don't feel free to post their names, but I do understand why they feel that way and I think for now, it's the way it has to be.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I think it's great what your doing and I encourage you to keep it up. Bill Fisher and the EACC get upset over anything they can't control. Unfortunately, Mr. Fisher failed to realize that his own union, the NEA, encourages blogging for every Teacher in America. Just check out their website and you will see plenty of blogs. I would also like to see more local Teachers participate in this blog.
Your information is timely and accurate and better than waiting a month for the minutes. Please continue to push for TV coverage of the meetings.

LegalBeaglette said...

Like thousands of others, our family traveled to Washington, D.C. to enjoy the cherry blossoms, and we stopped at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. As I read the inscriptions, I recalled the current debate about blogging.

Consider this:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” -- Thomas Jefferson

I am sorry that Ms. Wise is “offended” by blogging, but I don’t understand why. Is it really the complete control of information that she wants? She may trust the “spokeswoman for the school system” and consider the board’s chairman as the “spokesman for the board” -- but to compel me to rely on either of these individuals is not, and should not be, within her power.

Consider this also:

“I am certainly not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” -- Thomas Jefferson

Mrs. Abell, I have found your site to be a wealth of information over the many months that I have followed it. You have provided timely board news, helped clarify issues the board addresses, and focused on a wide range of topics related to education. It is truly unfortunate that a few who “tuned in” as a result of the newspaper article were upset by some of the newly posted comments (which apparently did not adhere to the protocol you require, which were inconsistent with the nature of the comments usually posted, and which you have since removed). I wish they had taken the time to actually explore your site.

Anonymous said...

The ones who suffer are the children who have special education needs. Unless you have money and can hire a Lawyer then you might go some where.If not you are out of luck.They recive the funding and give nothing in return.They are all on there own program.They also hide to many things from the public.At least there is some new blood in the special education.