Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mandate Against Professional Blog URLs in NYC DOE Signature

Apparently I prompted a mandate by the NYC DOE that no employee can have their blog url in their email signature. I find this particularly upsetting because as the PD manager for the Office of Instructional Technology for the NYC DOE I think having a blog is a great way to get the digital footprint conversation going as well as model best practices for using 21st Century tools to build professional learning communities and personal learning networks that support the work we do. In fact, I think it would be terrific if all educators with professional blogs celebrated and shared their work in their email signatures. Heck, I think it would be great if educators were just consumers in the blogosphere and if we held them accountable to standing behind a blog url in their signature…that would be a fantastic professional learning vehicle for them and modeling tool for their students and/or staff.

But alas, as of today I received a call informing me that as a follow up to the standardization email I received last month, legal has advised that if you work at the NYC DOE your blog url must be removed from your signature. Additionally, I will have to add a disclaimer to all posts and comments (that I will receive soon from legal) that goes something like...the views expressed here are my own and do not represent that of the DOE. What happened to the idea of celebrating the successes among us and promoting the idea of authentic publishing and sharing and collaboration of ideas? I'm okay with a disclaimer on my blog (although I think a disclaimer on comments is extreme), but not so happy on the mandate to squelch the sharing of the existence of my blog ideas by eliminating the url from email signatures.

I'm well aware of other ways to share my blog url, but putting it along with my contact information helps identify me with more than just and email and phone. It enables me to connect my name to my ideas in a signature which enables my network to learn and grow as well. Yes they are my ideas, but so are all my emails. If people want to brand themselves (with a professional blog or an ethical quote for that matter) and share and establish their safe, appropriate, and acceptable professional digital footprint...shouldn't they be able?

Thoughts? Opinions?

Follow the Classroom 2.0 conversation on this topic here.

Further Reading from Joyce Valenza.

What Not to Blog Part 1

What Not to Blog Part 2


  1. I commented on this on Classroom 2.0. See that little dot left of the Caspian Sea? That's me. (At least it will be when your cluster map gets updated. I'm teaching at the International School of Azerbaijan.

  2. Not only does the DOE exhibit paranoia about blog urls, they also blocked me from going to the original discussion...I really believe that there needs to be a drastic change in policy. How are we to bring our students fully into the world as expressed through rapidly changing technological innovations when the
    DOE blocks educators as well...It's very frustrating!

  3. Innovation and shared practice are core to our work as progressive educators. Sadly, the DOE has another perspective on these ideas.


  4. Fortunately, my blogging hasn't yet caused any consternation among School Board of Department of Education types.

    While I have had limited success in brining teachers into the blogosphere as a personal professional development practice, they have been very open to using blogs and other web tools as platforms for classroom management and student content creation.

    While it is hard to shift the educator mindset from teacher to learner, it is necessary to not just promote global connection and conversations through blogging, but mandate it. If I were a Principal...??

    The real question isn't should teachers be blogging, but why aren't senior Departmental staff and school administrators blogging?

    Conversations are powerful learning tools...ah...maybe I just answered my own question.

  5. Imagine, someone who wants to make her blog while NOT being anonymous is discouraged from it. So i guess we all have to go underground. LOL..that woudl be worse.

  6. @anonymous 10/25...
    Agree. Several colleagues and I were/are blog-evangelists and enjoyed promoting our professional blogs in various ways including through our email signatures. Your point is well taken. If they discourage educators from publicly sharing and celebrating 21st Century prose, we'll all go underground with the likes of NYCEducator.

    I agree that the powers that be would be better off with employees who are proud to openly share, be responsible, and stand up publicly for thoughts and ideas.