Miami School District’s Negotiation with Parents

Introduction

The Miami school district intends to engage in change its school’s boundaries for purposes of service efficiency. The move to redraw the boundary has been submitted for implementation but parents are not pleased with the idea. The parents are not happy with the suggestions and do not believe that there is any efficiency that will be achieved by this exercise. In this article, the stakeholders’ concerns are discussed and the way forward suggested on the issue may be solved. The paper will also include ethical and cultural values that surround the issue.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders are people or institutions that have vested interest in a given subject. The subject of the Miami school is educational since this is an educational center and the subjects who are affected by the decision to redraw boundaries are students. This can be identified from the impacts that parents have identified to be associated with the intended withdrawal of the school boundaries. Stakeholders in this subject matter are therefore educational stakeholders. The first category of stakeholders in the Miami district school case is the students. The students have vested interest in that they the immediate beneficiaries of the education system. Any change that is instituted at the school will most likely affect the students. The next group of educational stakeholders is the parents. The parents hold the interests of their children attending the schools and therefore by default will be affected by any changes that will be implemented at the school.

The general staff in an educational system are also considered to be stakeholders in the system as they daily input their efforts in the school for the attainment of particular objectives which can also be identified as their interests. Teachers for example impact knowledge to the students while a larger percentage of the non-teaching staff greatly contribute to the welfare of the students. The community at large always depends on school to help it in developing a young generation that has a focused development-oriented future. Government institutions are also partakers of the education system as an agency to implement government provision and support for an effective education system. Through its agencies, the government monitors and regulates the education system in states and the country at large. Other stakeholders in educational systems like Miami include: “retired citizens, citizens who no longer have children in school, higher education and educational agencies” (Michael, n.d., p. 1).

Negotiation strategy

One of the strategies that are of fundamental influence to the success of any negotiation is availing a variety of options to the parties involved in the conflict being negotiated. Since the aim of negotiation is to search for a compromising ground, a wide range of choices will increase the probability that the parties will settle on one of the options thereby leading to a higher chance of success in the negotiation. Another strategy in a negotiation process is the exposure of the benefits that the parties can get from given available options. It involves selling the options to the parties so that they can realize the benefits of a proposed solution to the conflict. The use of a persuasive tone will for example help the panel to convince the parties that the proposed solutions are not being imposed on them, but rather are being suggested because they are beneficial to the parties. The employment of the “what if technique” is also a fundamental tool to engage the parties in the conflict (Mehta, 2009, p. 92).

Negotiations being a move to search for a common ground require the participation and willingness of both parties in the conflict to find a solution. Silence or refusal to participate in the negotiations by either or both of the parties will be a significant hindrance to the success of the negotiation. Engagement of the parties in the talks by extracting their opinion will help them to open up and be cooperative in the negotiation process. This strategy will therefore help in breaking up hard lines that could have been formed by the parties to the conflict, by creating open-mindedness among the parties. Convincing the conflicting parties that their stands might not be the correct option is also a step to breaking a deadlock and securing a compromise for the conflicting parties (Mehta, 2009).

Supporting the school’s board

Intelligence and diplomacy will be required to convince the parents to support the school plans. The school’s board can explicitly, though persuasively, state the benefits that the students’ mobility that would be caused by redrawing the school boundaries will impact on students. The negotiation team can as well introduce these benefits in the negotiation to help the parents to focus on the positive impacts that mobility will have on their children rather than just concentrating on the negative impacts. Cases like the benefits of mobility to students can be highlighted to parents. The parents can for example be enlightened on the fact that a significantly higher level of competence as well as “academic knowledge and skills and general competence like adaptability, initiative, assertiveness, decisiveness, persistence, written communication skills, problem-solving ability, planning, coordinating and organizing” (Garben, 2011, p. 77) among others have been realized in students who have in the past experienced mobility especially at international levels and in higher education levels (Garben., 2011, p. 77). Influencing the parents that their children will be exposed to these beneficial traits will, for example, be fundamental in convincing them of the benefits of mobility, thereby advocating for the proposal to redraw the school boundaries. An argument that exposure that students get when they interact with new friends and groups also helps them to develop on interpersonal skills and convincing the parents that travel time and costs are not as important as developments that their children are bound to acquire through mobility can also be a fundamental argument in favor of the school board (Garben, 2011).

Application of culture and ethics

The above reasoning of convincing the parents into the board’s plan is based on the fundamentals of honesty which is ethical and based on the culture of morality. The argument is based on the culture of sincerity as the arguments are on their rights based on facts that were obtained from research and published as truth (Guasco and Robinson, 2007).

References

Garben, P. (2011). Eu Higher Education Law, the Bologna Process and Harmonization by Stealth. Alphen, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.

Guasco, M and Robinson, P. (2007). Principles of negotiation: strategies, tactics, techniques to reach agreements. New York, NY: Entrepreneur Press.

Mehta, S. (2009). 112 Ways to Succeed in Any Negotiation or Mediation: Secrets from a Professional Mediator. Bloomington, Indiana: House.

Michael, W. (n.d.). Creating the schools we need. Web.