6 Ways Public Consultation Promotes Public Trust

Though new information and communications technology (ICTs) have facilitated unprecedented access between citizens,  governments and key decision-makers, public trust in government remains at near-historic lows. Low voter turnout rates and rising dissatisfaction with the democratic process have become all too common, reflecting an overall decline in public trust. From Occupy Wall Street to the rise of the Tea Party, a dearth in public trust has led citizens of all political stripes to mobilize against prevailing institutions in attempts to reclaim their agency.

While there are many factors contributing to declining public trust, there is a growing perception that governments are unwilling to listen and respond to public concerns. A 2003 Pew Research study on trust and participation indicated that only 39% of Americans believed that elected officials and government cared about the opinions of citizens. Ten years later, a study by Gilens and Page (2013) found that the overwhelming influence of economic elites, interest groups, and lobby groups means that the average citizen has essentially no impact on public policy decisions.

So, how do we fix it?

4 Cutting Edge School Districts Embracing Tech Solutions

When it comes to disrupting education, the Khan Lab Academy may be in a class of its own. However, some school districts are pushing the envelope by using technological solutions for issues ranging from bullying to consulting with parents.

Open Data in New York City

In 2012, the New York City Council approved Local Law 11, requiring all city agencies to open their data by 2018. As part of this initiative, NYC’s Department of Education has already released 182 open data sets — the most of any city agency by a large margin. All this enables parents, teachers and local residents to see data such as SAT scores by year or after-school programs in the city. That information — and more — is quickly available for their perusal.

Data Privacy Day 2016

It’s Data Privacy Day! As a Privacy by Design Ambassador, we are always committed to going the extra mile when it comes to protecting participants’ privacy and ensuring organizations engaging through PlaceSpeak fulfill their legal obligations.

4 Reasons School Districts Use PlaceSpeak for Parent Engagement

It is known in the education community that parent engagement is one of the single most important factors in helping students succeed in school. Parents, families, and other caring adults provide the primary educational environment for children.

The challenge for school officials is often, “How can we engage parents effectively, consistently and cost-effectively over extended periods of time?” While in-person interaction is an essential component to engagement, a greater number of schools boards are seeing the benefits of PlaceSpeak for building geo-verified, online parent engagement. Here we look at 4 of the most common reasons school boards select PlaceSpeak.

1. Know that you’re engaging relevant parents and receive location-based feedback

Many contentious issues facing school districts are location-based, such as changing school boundaries, closing schools, or school policy changes. It is especially important to ensure that public consultation participants are located within a specific catchment area so that decision-makers can hear from relevant parties — that is, residents and families actually living within the affected area.

PlaceSpeak Announces Strategic Partnership with Socrata

As the BC Tech Summit wraps up on Tuesday, one Vancouver-based civic tech startup is taking transparency in digital democracy to a new level. A pioneer in open and authenticated civic engagement, PlaceSpeak announced a strategic partnership with Socrata, a world leader in cloud solutions for open data and data-driven governments.

Socrata provides an open data framework for governments at all levels to open up their data in a machine-readable format. PlaceSpeak will partner with Socrata to make it simpler for governments to share information about rezoning and development applications in a way that can be leveraged by any business or civic group to build apps or services. PlaceSpeak will also become an early user of that standardized data, delivering timely, localized civic notifications to users in any city with a Socrata platform.