WCPSS solicits feedback on "Parental Involvement" Policy
The district is using the platform "ThoughtExchange" again despite parent criticism
Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) wants feedback on its draft of Policy Code: 1310/4002, "Parental Involvement."
Here’s why the feedback the district is getting is problematic.
First, the draft policy is 14 pages long and can be viewed or downloaded on my documentcloud.
Second, WCPSS is soliciting feedback on the policy through ThoughtExchange, a platform that only allows 200 characters - not words - of input, which is hardly enough given the length of the policy. And you only get one comment; ironic given this policy is about parental involvement.
For context, the previous statement is a total of 237 characters.
Third, pretty much anyone can comment on the policy, parent or not:
Wake County Community Member
Principal or Assistant Principal
Other Engaged Citizen
Fourth, the fact anyone can use ThoughtExhcange to comment on the policy aside from parents is contrary to the recent WCPSS book challenge policy where one must be a parent of a student currently enrolled in order to make that challenge.
More To The Story
I now see why parents have complained so much about ThoughtExchange; it in no way can obtain meaningful feedback.
In fact, it does the opposite by poorly mimicking the comments of social media platforms like a Facebook post where "likes" or emoji reactions make each response a popularity contest.
There were 1,115 entries when I checked out ThoughtExchange on the evening of Nov. 15 according to the dashboard, which also listed 3,195 participants and yet there were 32,489 ratings.
What kind of Common Core math is this platform using?
Based on those dashboard numbers, it appears as if the "ratings" are being crowd-sourced to influence the popularity of a post.
Who has the time to go through all of those entries and rate them?
No one - which I suspect is a feature and not a bug of this platform.
I did take the time to through at least 100 of them, many of which contained statements that were not Germaine to the policy, general opinions, or political/ideological statements.
A number of the remarks I viewed thought kids, not parents, should be in charge, especially on the topic of “pronouns.”
One remark, arguably made by a teacher given its content, openly says they will disobey the Parents’ Bill of Rights law and would do so “at the expense of my job.”
Another remark finds it upsetting that kids as young as five won’t be receiving controversial gender identity ideology indoctrination. The commenter seems to be unaware sexual topics, with the exception of introductory concepts in fifth grade, are banned until students take health classes starting in 7th grade of middle school.
At the time I concluded rating some of the remarks, the first of which seemed to be the ones that had the most ratings already, and as such would seem to indicate the remarks presented to any given user are skewed and not random.
A Little More To The Story
ThoughtExchange calls itself, “The world’s most trusted engagement and survey platform.”
The company is also invested in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and “anti-bias” in decision-making, yet its rating system inherently biases the feedback.
ThoughtExchange’s website has limited information about who really runs it. By accessing its “about” link and then its legal and privacy statements, it shows who runs the show and it is a company named “Fulcrum Management Solutions Ltd.”
There is not a lot out there about this company other than it looks like it was started with venture capital, has a handful of employees, was founded in 2009, and is located in British Columbia, Canada.
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