Communication is a 2-way street

Opinion: Editorials

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The Oak Park District 97 school board is once again issuing a call to action — a brief, 5- to 10-minute survey allowing Oak Park residents to chime in on how effective (or ineffective) the district is at communicating and reaching out. 

It doesn't require much effort and meets most people where they're at. Low input, high impact in managerialese. 

The survey is the work of both the school board and the relatively new Committee for Community Engagement, created last year to help enhance dialogue between the district and residents. On the surface, this is the sort of thing people say they want — especially when something like a referendum or new swimming pool is proposed. 

But it's also the sort of thing people will claim to have heard nothing about when they complain about how badly the district communicates its big plans and projects, or how they have been hijacked by a few interest groups.

That critique of school districts is often all too easy and misleading. It often becomes a straw argument, allowing critics to demonize those who actually do take advantage of these easy opportunities to make their voices heard (anyone heard the term "pool lobby"?). 

So this time, let's not wait until something big happens before joining the back-and-forth that's needed for effective dialogue. Now is the time to do your part. In the case of D97's latest survey, it's as easy as a few clicks of a mouse and some keyboard strokes.

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