TregoED Blog

Transparency: Looking Through the Brick Wall

You can’t escape it these days.

It’s everywhere you look: politics, government, social media …and schools.
“It”…  is the cry for business…both public,and,occasionally, even personal, to be conducted in an atmosphere of total and complete transparency.
A Facebook and Instagram culture expects nothing less than immediate access to anything and everything.
What does that mean to school administrators?
Well, it probably does NOT mean doing what one district recently did: selecting a superintendent after imposing a blackout about candidate information to the public by claiming that the board was acting both expediently and in the general best interests of all concerned.
It is no surprise that media reacted swiftly and with vigor– calling the actions reminiscent of the “cloak and dagger” kind of government that went out of vogue (and law) decades ago.
Was the behavior of the school board deliberately meant to “pull one over” on residents?
Whether it was or not…suffice to say this: perception was not positive…at all.
School administrators and board members benefit from realizing that appearance sometimes trumps intention. If people perceive that difficult and important decisions are made with analysis, with reflection and without bias, the results are more likely to be accepted– even if they are not completely agreed with.
How do you achieve transparency?
Process…especially decision analysis…allows constituent participants the ability to transact business in ways that are visible, defensible and …transparent! Decision Analysis , as a process tool, is easy to fold into every critical juncture that school administrators face. If used consistently, and as part of the regular culture, people quickly come to appreciate the fact that decisions made with substantive evidence underneath them are, usually, sound ones.
It’s too bad that the district described above did not recognize the inescapable fact of living in the media-saturated 21st century: nothing…absolutely nothing…can remain secret from everyone. And, once the “secret box” is opened, the struggle to convince folks that nothing awry happened is, indeed, very much like concentrating on getting a great home security system AFTER the burglary!
Process, like security systems, is your chance to protect the deliverables in your work environment BEFORE they…and you…are  compromised!
How do YOU achieve transparency?