Archive for the ‘School Public Relations’ Category

Managing daily distractions

October 1, 2009

Today I spent about two hours chasing down facts to refute an erroneous story involving one of our schools that was aired by a talk radio station last spring. It popped back up today as yet another talk radio station, fed by blogs, recycled the story as part of its coverage of the latest “Obama song” flap, this time at a New Jersey elementary school. All of which left me wondering, what if we could capture all this outrage and focus that energy on tutoring kids in reading, mentoring teens or feeding the hungry? We might actually solve some important issues and do some good rather than spending limited time and resources managing non-issues and non-news events.

A moral imperative

September 19, 2009

During our school board retreat today, our vice-chairman called the need to dramatically improve our low-performing schools a “moral imperative.” We have the levers for change at our disposal: research shows that principals and classroom teachers can make a signficiant and lasting difference in improving student academic performance. His empassioned and eloquent call for change made me think of something another board member shared with me recently. If scientists studying a lake found only one or two fish of the same species dying they would likely attribute the deaths to natural causes. If all the fish in the lake began dying, or if one particular type of fish began dying enmasse, the scientists would raise the alarm about environmental factors and start assessing what is present in the lake that is so toxic to these fish. Her question to me, which echoes our board vice-chairman’s remarks, was simple. When the evidence is so overwhelming that students of color, particularly African-American children, and students who come from poor families, are not doing well in our schools, why do we assume this is caused by the students and their families and not by the school environment? The fish are dying. When are we going to quit blaming their parents and start looking at the lake? It’s a good question.