Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Forum Probes Board, District

On July 11, someone using the nickname “Offshore” asked on the nj.com Plainfield forum whether readers thought suburban schools held students to higher standards than urban schools.

The post set off exchanges on the state of education here that continue to the present. Many are very detailed and thoughtful. One poster appears to be a board member and another is surely a veteran teacher. Recently, someone questioned whether postings from three to five main contributors mean anything for the larger community. True, many people “lurk” and read without ever venturing into the debate, so the size of the audience is unknown.

Still, a fast spin through the active forum and the previous set of posts back to No. 1532 reveals some interesting viewpoints on the district. There may be some topics that people would like to raise in person at the school board microphone.

Meanwhile, the day is getting closer when city residents will see what a state monitoring team found in the district based on visits earlier this year. No matter what the locals think, the focus will then become dealing with the state findings.

At least the online forum gives the public a voice that was largely lacking at the so-called public forums organized by city officials – heavy on “show” and lacking time for people to “tell” what they think.

Thanks to Offshore for kicking off the discussion and to all the posters for taking part. Maybe after the NJQSAC report comes out, the forum will attract even more thoughts and comments from a broader range of posters. Get a nickname and give it a try.

--Bernice Paglia


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