Monday, April 21, 2014

Guest Post: MCCPTA wants to shut down communication with members, again...

Years ago, the MCCPTA Yahoo listserv group was open to all Montgomery County PTA members.  
Over the years, MCCPTA has restricted who can participate in this group. Tomorrow evening the latest proposal to shut down communication will come up for a vote at the April MCCPTA meeting. If passed, this resolution will create the most restrictive group since the group began in 2003.  The minutes from the March MCCPTA meeting aren't online yet so this resolution has been forwarded to the Parents' Coalition for Montgomery County PTA members to review before the Tuesday evening vote. 

Motion on the Function and Composition of the Delegates eList
April 22, 2014
Proposed by MCCPTA eCommunications Committee
I move that the MCCPTA Delegates eList henceforth become a two-way communication and discussion vehicle open to current members of the MCCPTA Delegates Assembly.  This change would align the Delegates eList with other MCCPTA eLists (Presidents, Treasurers, etc.) already functioning in such a manner.  MCCPTA information will be available to all PTA members and the public via our MCCPTA website and open enrollment to the MCCPTA newsletter.  To accomplish this, I move to:
1.     Open the opt-in membership to this eList to MCCPTA Delegates Assembly delegates, PTA presidents, and all members of the MCCPTA Board of Directors, for the given MCCPTA fiscal year; 
2.     Instruct the eCommunications chair or eList administrator to open membership of the eList on July 1 of each year;
3.     Allow postings by all members of this eList, with the intent of spurring discussion; and
4.     Requesting all members treat the Delegates eList messages as internal discussions and not forward or repost messages or threads, unless expressly labeled otherwise (ie in the re: line if marked “PLEASE SHARE” or “FOR LOCAL CONSIDERATION”).

If approved by the MCCPTA Delegates Assembly, I move that this change be effective as of July 1, 2014. 
Deb Lang (2013-2014 eCommunications Chair)


  1. Deb Lang has been continually trying to close off open communication from MCCPTA since she took over the listservs. She likes to unsubscribe folks that are minding their own business, not posting anything, just quietly reading and passing the info along to their school communities. She must not have enough to do since she does seem to have time to harass others. Her work is clearly in line with the secretive style of MCCPTA leadership for the past 4 years.

    Let me leave you with this thought - in an age where people want more accountability and transparency from their leaders, is it really wise to exclude a large group of people that are just looking for info to share with their communities in a timely manner?

    What exactly does MCCPTA have to hide?

  2. And here is the explanation:
    ------ Original Message --------
    Subject: [MCCPTA_Delegates] Motion regarding Delegates eList - - fact
    vs. fiction
    Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:57:49 -0700 (PDT)
    From: Debra Lang
    Reply-To: Debra Lang
    To: MCCPTA Delegates

    Below, *in bold*, please find the motion on which you have been asked to
    vote tomorrow.

    You work hard to be an MCCPTA Delegate for your school - you attend
    meetings at night, in Rockville and in Annapolis - this tool belongs to
    you. Cluster reps don't (they have their own job, and resources).
    Gifted Child Committee Chairs, SSL liaisons, Cultural Arts Chairs,
    Reflections Chairs and, Treasurers don't (they have their own jobs, and
    yahoo groups). Book Fair Chairs/Giant Gift Card Chairs/International
    Night Chairs/Membership Chairs and all other PTA chairs aren't
    Delegates, you are. You do your job, within MCCPTA, and this is a
    communication tool for you - - a tool that has been watered down with an
    extra 400 people reading, posting and even sometimes mocking the work
    that we invest our time to do together. I propose that the open
    enrollment stop and that this eList become a tool that allows two-way
    communication among all eligible to speak at the Delegates Assemblies.

    It does not CLOSE the communication, it makes it less open to the
    general public- in my opinion, that's a good thing. You will vote on
    this, and on your new leadership tomorrow. I just wanted to ensure that
    you knew what the voting was really about. Thanks!
    - - Deb Lang (2013-2014 eCommunications Chair)

    1. Oh, my, "it makes it less open to the general public - in my opinion, that's a good thing." Indeed, what does MCCPTA have to hide?

  3. Let's have a show of hands - how many people that subscribe to the Delegates list never get anything forwarded by their PTA President? If I were not subscribed, and if this passes, I won't be anymore, then my school will never get the information sent out. Their once monthly newsletter does not take care of the in-between events and individual announcements of events that are easier to pass on as single messages!

  4. Ms. Lang did not "take over" the listservs. The DA is a 'representative' body of delegates from the various PTAs. Obviously Ms. Lang is who the representatives, and the PTA members countywide want to be the listserv manager. PTA members, step up and take some responsibility. Stop blaming other people. This is your responsibility.

  5. Committee Chairs and others like the Listserv Manager are appointed by the Executive Committee, without input from the Delegates.

    1. And who put the Executive Committee in place? The members of the PTA through their delegates. Sorry, that is no excuse. Take some responsibility. Start your own damn listerv.

  6. The Delegates listserv has never actually been used as a discussion forum. Every attempt to raise even the lamest issue is usually promptly shut down. MCCPTA has become a cheerleader organization for MCPS and clearly the latest move to restrict parent access to information is the best example of that. During my many years at MCPS I hardly received any news from MCCPTA on school listservs. In fact when I was a delegate myself I was specifically asked by the PTA president not to use the school listserv for disseminating any MCCPTA related information. I ignored that request because I thought it was outrageous that the information was to be restricted only to the ten people that normally showed up for the PTA meetings. There was always this underlying fear that a post on the listserv would spur a discussion and calls for MCCPTA to be more accountable.
    Danuta Wilson

  7. On behalf of the Eastern MS PTSA, I would like to summarize our opposition to this proposal.

    First, we see this as a solution without a problem. I've been subscribed to the Delegates' List for four years as a BOD member, Committee Chair, and/or delegate. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have seen a post on the list or a comment on a post from the list by anyone who would not continue to have membership rights in the list after the proposed change.

    Second, even if there were more, so what? The work of the Delegates is not private.

    The role of the Delegate is to be a conduit of information between MCCPTA and its member local PTAs. We receive information from the Delegates' List and the DA; we take it to our local PTAs for discussion; we represent our PTAs' views in the group discussion on the List and at the DA before votes are taken. The Delegates are not elected/appointed to take private or personal positions. Anything that is legitimately the business of the Delegates is legitimately the business of every member of every PTA.

    Therefore, while I can see a (limited) argument for having closed lists for the BOD and the Presidents, who are elected/selected to some degree to exercise independent discretion and judgment when acting on behalf of their constituents and therefore may sometimes need a forum for internal discussion in which they can speak their minds without exposure, that rationale does not apply to the Delegates. Anything we Delegates say directly represents our PTAs' positions, and should be open to any member of our PTAs to see.

    Third, as has been made clear by others, the most likely result of closing the list is that the PTAs with fewest volunteers and resources will risk having no representation on the Delegates list for significant periods of time, and be hampered in both their knowledge of and ability to participate in MCCPTA's discussions and decisions. This result would weaken the entire body. We are only as strong as our ability to represent everyone as fairly and completely as possible.


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