I just posted this response on tictech, a list I moderate on my own for folks interested in technology in the Seattle Public Schools:
Justin, Amen! Thank you for saying it so well.
The Seattle School District currently blocks Technorati. Interesting that Wikipedia makes a special note in its entry on Technorati - that it is blocked in China. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technorati
Edublogs.org is blocked in the Seattle School District.
David Warlick is blocked in the Seattle School District.
Anyone who participates in and sees the potential in web 2.0 would shake their heads in disbelief hearing such things. I have mentioned it to a few people, and they thought I was joking. Why this has happened in Seattle is a mystery. If the above three examples do not mean anything, I would suggest a crash course on web 2.0 with one or more of the following. Will Richardson's book is amazing http://weblogg-ed.com/book-info/ There's a downloadable pdf pamphlet put together by some of the truly genius minds in educational technology: Coming of Age: an introduction to the new world wide web - http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2006/04/coming_of_age_a.html And people are probably tired of hearing this, but check the blogging of my third graders last year http://classblogmei ster.com/blog.php?blogger_id=5655 The latest edition of Interactive Educatorhttp://education.smarttech.com/ste/en-US/Ed+Resource/Community/I.E.+Magazine/Current+issue.htm has two wonderful articles about web 2.0 stuff - and mentions my class and school.
Dozens of domains carrying millions of web sites, blogs, and wikis - with incredible educational potential - are blocked in Seattle Schools - whitelisted, as Justin says. Saying a site can be unblocked if you request it is not necessarily true. My school's wiki is blocked within the district, and with the current whitelist policy, it cannot be unblocked. What do I tell the parents who have put in tons of work on their school wiki over the summer? http://arborheights.wikispaces.com/
I second Justin's suggestion that educators be actively involved in decision making on district filtering. It is about education, after all. There are a few of us educators who also happen to know a few things about technical stuff.
... I also happen to know what a wiki is... and rss... and a blog (that it is NOT just a journal, for goodness sake)... and tagging... and a mobcast... and a Skypecast... and so on... - and I have seen what they can do in a classroom.
I would hope educators involved in decisions on district filtering be directly involved in the revolution that is sweeping through the education community worldwide, web 2.0. You know I am available if somebody asked. I bet Justin would be too. Anybody else? - Mark