Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Day/Bad Day: School board forum gadgetry

At the risk of entering Fogeyville, we were a bit skeptical about the novel use of technology at the Mecklenburg County school board candidates forum Wednesday night.

The event was held at Central Piedmont Community College, but attendees and those following online from home used their cell phones to help decide the first two topics of discussion. Later, a couple of candidates answered questions submitted through social media.

That kind of gadgetry is fine and all, and our corner of the newsroom has its share of smartphones and iPads. But did the use of technology add anything to the meeting, or would it have rolled along just as well or better without the electronic hand-raising and smartphone gazing?

Turns out, one possible byproduct of the technology was participation by students. Certainly, some were there because of class assignments, but young questioners seemed to embrace the techy format and brought a different perspective to the questions. One student asked about the adoption of a 10-point grading scale instead of the 7-point structure currently in place. Incumbent school board member Tim Morgan said he'd never been asked that. (He'd also never been asked about dirty high school restrooms, but hey, the questions can't all be gems.)

We'll call it a good day for the students and candidates. Morgan told the editorial board Thursday that he appreciated the freshness students brought to questions, and he wouldn't mind seeing at least one candidate forum a year be student-only.

We think students might benefit just as much from a question-and-answer forum each year with the elected board. One thing we've heard often from candidates and board members over the years is how it's all about the kids. So let's hear more about what they want to know.


5dollarfee said...


I thought this opinion article was going to be about the one candidate that made himself a human electronic billboard.

Fortunately, from where I sat in the back of Overcash his red flashing lapel sign wasn’t a distraction. I couldn’t figure-out whether he was trying to be a Christmas tree or if it were a streaming message that read; “Hi, I’m Larry the unable guy.”

In either case, that wasn’t technology. He was just a nervous candidate who lacked respect for the level playing field MeckEd tried to establish.

PS: At the end of the forum I went up to greet the Christmas tree/candidate. I was finally able to read the flashing message. It read, “Do you want fries with that.”

Larry said...

It is funny how I was able to retire about ten years ago and now live and do what I like and will donate my board salary back all due to technology.

So if you do not like technology then you will have to talk with my employees who bought my company and are doing well.

But sorry I did not have the fries you needed.

But I do have the expertise to get our schools up to standards so we can get past our miserable standards we have and get past our picky attitudes we have in this society that keep us back from competing in the world.

So all the best. It was great you have the same mentality as Lloyd Scher it was so funny to watch his campaign manger ask him a question during the event that night.

He has often said this hamburger joke over and over and over and over over and over and over but as I suggested it might not be that funny and could be something he is doing for other than comical reasons.

So all the best and good luck.