A Department of Education staffer is protesting a new policy that bans employees from linking to their Web logs in their work e-mail signatures, saying the policy squashes "educator voice."
The policy also stipulates that all blog posts contain notes disavowing any connection to the Department of Education, the staffer, Lisa Nielsen, said.
"This particular decision I think will have tremendously negative ramifications," Ms. Nielsen said in an interview yesterday. "It's taking away what is very important, which is the voice that educators should have."
Ms. Nielsen works in the department's instructional technology office, and her blog, called the Innovative Educator, is about using technology to improve teaching. It is a personal blog that she maintains from home, but she regularly refers to it in her professional work with teachers and principals, she said.
One post is titled, "5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network." Another profiles a Bronx middle school Ms. Nielsen calls "a pioneer in embedding 21st Century tools into the way they do business to enhance education."
The latest posts, as of yesterday afternoon, were protests of the new city policy.
Ms. Nielsen said she launched the blog in February and added its URL to her work e-mail signature in April.
Ms. Nielsen said a supervisor called her this week to say that, per a request from the legal department, she would have to remove the link from her signature. The supervisor told her she would also have to add a disclaimer to every post on the blog saying that her views represented her own opinion, not the Department of Education's, Ms. Nielsen said.
She said she decided to take her objections public because having a professional "digital footprint" is not only a personal preference, but also precisely the practice she preaches from her perch inside the department that teachers and principals should follow.
A growing number of principals and teachers use blogs to share ideas and tools, and as a way to model blogging to their students, Ms. Nielsen said.
She said principals already worry about expressing themselves publicly, and a new ban on promoting the blogs would only exacerbate that.
The policy, she said, "is coming from a place of fear, instead of celebrating the expertise and voices of educators."
She added, "I think that if educators are doing great things, their voices should be shared and celebrated."
A spokeswoman, Maibe Gonzalez-Fuentes, said the Department of Education had no comment.