Following up on Miguel's post today, it is essential that we (collectively) have some legal advice on the implications of The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As Miguel alludes to, a big part of the seemingly out of control fascist filtering and blocking that is taking place in our schools is due to a strict interpretation of the rules for maintaining records in case of a civil lawsuit. I'm perfectly willing to entertain the idea that this is just an excuse for a deeply held desire by your IT and legal staff to maintain fascistic control of your school's network, but that's irrelevant.
- We can produce authoritative arguments for a more sensible and lenient interpretation of the law than many districts have taken.
- Federal law essentially precludes just about all use of offsite "Web 2.0" tools in schools and therefore:
- We need to lobby for a change in the rules;
- and present a united front in advocating for making equivalent functionality (as much as possible) available to students and teachers in a way that is compliant with the law.
For the past six years I've been advocating for quality open source wikis, weblogs, and other read/write web tools that can be hosted by schools because I knew that these issues would come down the pipe sooner or later. I don't know why anyone with much experience with school administration would have ever thought otherwise.