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Mandated ignorance: A bad policy in Hooksett

Before the Feb. 5 Hooksett School Board meeting, member David Pearl wanted to learn about overhead projectors. So he emailed teachers to ask them. Boy, did he get in trouble.

Board chairman Trisha Korkosz said at the meeting that, per board policy, such communications are not allowed. Even the teachers union complained, saying that teachers can feel threatened if school board members seek their input. Remember that next time the union says the school board needs to listen to the teachers.

Hooksett adopted the policy on the recommendation of the New Hampshire School Boards Association. The policy states that "all official communications, policies, and directives of employee interest and concern will be communicated to employee members through the Superintendent, and the Superintendent will employ all such media as are appropriate to keep employees fully informed of the Board's problem, concerns and actions."

Surely a question by a school board member is not an official communication, policy or directive of the board. To assert such a claim would be to deny board members the ability to undertake any individual fact-finding. School board members have an obligation to be well-informed about the institution they govern. As interpreted, this policy hinders that duty. The board, and the public, ought to find that unacceptable.

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