Back in the olden days of this spring, our office of the state superintendent of education (OSSE) announced a deadline of May 4 for obtaining feedback on its state report cards in a variety of public meetings as well as online surveys.
At the OSSE session I attended, we looked at mock-ups of report card web pages–only to be told that the content of most of the pages was already determined. The session was, instead, to discuss the arrangement of the elements on each page of the school report card, as well as anything else we might want to have on the report cards (without, of course, any promise that it would ever be there).
(Ed. Note: Ever get the feeling that sometimes life imitates a Seinfeld episode? “So you can arrange the elements–but you cannot change the elements.”)
Well, seems everyone in the city (except wards 3 and 5) gets another bite of that apple–now with pay!
(Just who is paying–and why–remains a bit unseen.)
Starting tomorrow, Monday June 4, and continuing through the month of June, a private advocacy organization, PAVE, will be conducting feedback sessions on the state report card–and providing participants with $25 gift cards. A spokesperson for PAVE told me that the organization is “partnering” with OSSE for these sessions–and that OSSE will host additional ones in June.
(No word on why wards 3 and 5 were left out of PAVE’s $25/head party–but then, I guess it’s a private affair, right?)
So, you can get richer via a $25 gift card sourced (possibly?) from your tax dollars or (possibly?) from unknown private sources (well, not exactly unknown–mainly charter advocacy groups like the Walton Foundation and CityBridge) for providing feedback to a private advocacy organization that has no actual public responsibility (and is not subject to FOIA) except as that responsibility has been delegated to it without public notice by OSSE–which, as we have seen, is not exactly, erm, politically independent. (And for a larger overview of the lack of political independence of OSSE and other DC educational agencies, see this.)
Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?