Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Worth Tweeting About?

Amherst Regional Public School Twitter account

One of the sillier ideas floated at last night's Amherst Regional School Committee meeting is to rely on Twitter as an official "repository" for questions and information dissemination concerning the controversial Regionalization effort expanding the current 7th - 12th grade four-town Region all the way down to Pre-K through 6th grade.

Yes, in this digital age two-thirds of Americans use Social Media but only about 16% are on Twitter.  Facebook is still the king, with well over half of all Americans participating.

The Amherst Regional Public School Twitter account, with 261 followers, does not have a stellar following of parents/guardians considering the total enrollment at ARPS is 1,441 students -- over five times that.  (And presumable a fair number of students have two parents or guardians.)

Maria Geryk does not have a Twitter account, but there is a parody account

And unlike Facebook, with Twitter there's a 140 character limit per tweet, which kind of limits complicated discussions.  Although Twitter is absolutely awesome for breaking news.

Interestingly, one of the many complaints the Regional School Committee heard last night during "Public Comment" came from Janet McGowan concerning transparency and public outreach over this important, expensive endeavor, which one RSC hilltown member aptly described now as a "race to Town Meetings."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Larry for posting this. Forums with Amherst residents have been promised over and over by the RSDPB and later the RAWG. Only one was held in Amherst almost 2 years ago. RAWG promised information and meetings over the summer and then again in the fall. All-Town meetings also were promised, so residents from all the towns could get together. It's been hard to get information on what they were talking over and the general issues around regionalization.

We are a community and communities. Regionalization issues affect the education of all our elementary children and our taxpayers. Let's get together and sort this one out together.

It's easy to send information out to parents by email, PGO newsletters and backpacks. It's not hard to schedule several meetings. But there needs to be ways for residents who can't get to a meeting to particiapate and share information and questions. At no point in history information sharing been easier.

There also needs to be time. When ideas and concerns emerge, the Regional School Committee needs to have time to think things over and incorporate needed changes into the agreement, if the Regional Committee sees fit to do so. The current re-re-re-revised schedule doesn't leave enough time to have citizens meaninfully participate. It does feel like "a race to town meeting." Without any clear reason why.