BOARDWATCH: Board members and expensive bureaucrats spend Board meetings texting -- and watching You Tube videos? -- rather than listening to public participants while the Board meets (only once a month)...

Bureaucrats during the May 2016 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Chicago students taking Drivers Education classes are now reminded that 'distracted driving' in 2016 includes people who are texting or using cell phones while trying to drive as well. Maybe it's also time that we have a ban on "Distracted Governing." Every month the majority of CPS administrators (and some of the seven members of the Board of Education) ignore people making public presentations to the Board of Education and spend their time with their portable devices instead.

FloridaToday News reported on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, that a Florida resident "says county commissioners should stop texting, emailing and looking things up on smartphones during meetings" It's an insult to democracy and to those who are trying to participate in democratic activities.

The same could be said and has been said by public participants to the Chicago Board of Education at their meetings. Anyone attending the meetings can witness Board members and staff members accessing their smartphones and using them during meetings.

Attendees at movies, operas, concerts, plays and churches are asked to turn off the devices at the beginning of performances and church services. At some of those events, security staff patrol to remind people who think that rudeness is their privilege to shut down their devices. Perhaps the same announcement should be made, not only to audience members, but also to Board members and staff -- and then enforced by the security people who evict reporters from the Board chambers as soon as the Board goes into executive session each month.

By the March 23, 2016 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, the newly appointed members of the Claypool bureaucracy knew that they didn't have to pay attention to the members of the public during public participation at Board meetings, so they didn't. Above, three of the five six-figure Claypool appointees demonstrate distracted democracy during the meeting. Substance photo by David Vance.Imagine how startling it would be to see a performer stop his performance to answer a call during a performance. Musicians and actors would be too professional to do that. Board members and staff members should be just as professional.