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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Local No Child Left Behind (Unless His/Her Parents Use Gmail)

After the fourth unanswered, unacknowledged sending of the same email, I got it: WSFCS has blocked gmail again, sometime since last Wednesday night when the oldest's Language A teacher received and replied to one.

So I went to the WSFCS webpage and attempted to find contact information for the IT department. Hey, guess what... they only have email addresses listed. Email addresses that cannot receive my gmail.

I finally called the general line and asked to be connected to IT. Joyce told me very courteously that they "simply cannot whitelist the entire domain", so I asked if she could simply whitelist my gmail. Having been told she could, I provided my gmail. Whether or not teachers will now actually receive my gmails and for how long remains to be seen.

I cannot understand why an announcement is not made that we need to provide email addresses to be whitelisted. Why can't it be done through Parent Assist? This is at least the fifth time in two years that this has happened to gmail users, and still no system is in place?

In any event, currently most gmailers will be unaware; their gmails will not bounceback, no notification that the destination domain has rejected the gmail will come through. Instead their missives will just disappear into cyberspace, ignored, unnoticed, and unremarked.

On the teacher's side, their emails to gmailers will appear to go unanswered. Think this doesn't matter? Let's try on this scenario.

TEACHER EMAIL: I am concerned that Tim seems to be falling behind in math. Please let me know if you can meet one day next week to discuss this.

(PARENT GMAIL: Of course! I can come any day during your planning period or after school. Just let me know when.)

TEACHER EMAIL: As I emailed you last week, Tim appears to be struggling with math. His grade is now falling. I would very much like to meet with you about this. Please let me know what time and day would be good for you.

(PARENT GMAIL: Can we say next Monday at 2:30?)

(PARENT GMAIL: As it is Monday and I have not heard back from you, I am assuming 2:30 today did not work for you. Please let me know when we may meet.)
But the teacher will never get any of those gmails. By the time this is sorted out, how much time do you think will have gone by? Do you think the parent will be frustrated at the teacher's seeming lack of response? Do you think the teacher will be frustrated?

One hopes this isn't truly the future of parent-teacher-administrator communication.

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