311 Slices
Medium 9781475823790

School Public Relations: Helping an American Institution Pass Its Most Crucial Test

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: The professional discipline of strategic public relations offers many benefits to organizations. It helps them prevent and mitigate crises. It allows them to identify and manage issues that may interfere with their goals and objectives. It also leads them in building and maintaining quality relationships with strategic publics. However, can the influence of public relations reach beyond individual organizations to entire institutions?

One institution that has suffered ill effects from not effectively implementing the principles of strategic public relations is American public education. Research has shown that Americans have lost significant confidence in public education. The inability or unwillingness of educators to plan strategically has opened the door to increased competition from private schools, home schools, charter schools, and vouchers. Educators’ failure to address issues and concerns has led lawmakers to force them into becoming more accountable and more open with information. In virtually every area touched by strategic public relations, public education has failed to act effectively.

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Medium 9781475823813

Engaging Communities Through Vision Development: A Systems Approach to Public Relations

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: The implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal legislation in 2001 exemplifies extreme reaction to an escalating public unrest with educational systems over the past several decades of “educational reform.” Effective public relations and communication with stakeholders is threatened during this time of increased public scrutiny and demands for accountability, creating conditions where many educators are reacting rather than leading. Systems thinking helps education leaders see public relations as a continual, systematic process and is essential for education leaders’ understanding of public relations and the role it plays in engaging school community support for improving student learning.

The intent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal legislation in 2001 was to increase public school accountability, to provide more parental choice, and to allow greater flexibility for states and school districts (U.S. Department of Education, 2001). Regulations related to accountability reporting to parents and other stakeholders require school principals and superintendents to provide a plethora of information about complex factors related to student achievement, teacher qualifications, and parental options for school choice and additional tutorial services. Such mandated reports are often fraught with statistics that are ill conceived, overly complex, or simplistic. Although accountability reports attempt topresent a simple and clear picture of student achievement, the message relayed may misdirect schools, stakeholders, and, most importantly, students, leading them away from, rather than toward, improved student learning.

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Medium 9781475823929

Principal Leadership: Building Trust to Support School Improvement

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub



ABSTRACT: To develop trust, leaders must understand the determinants of a trusting organization. This study examined how an elementary school principal, new to a school that had been designated “in need of improvement,” reacted to this status and worked to develop trust in a climate of low trust and increasing public accountability. Hoy and Tschannen-Moran (1999), after having tested five facets of trust in their research of schools, present trust as a multidimensional construct. Using their model, this study examined how trust emerged between the principal and the teachers and between the principal and the parents. Specifically, this article describes and analyzes 10 practices that illuminate each of the five facets of trust. Ultimately, trust was found to be a powerful support for school improvement in this setting.

The adequate yearly progress (AYP) provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are complex and multi-faceted. For example, under NCLB a school must meet AYP benchmarks established by both state and federal governments. Moreover, 10 different subgroup populations in a school (e.g., students with disabilities, Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students) must meet the goals established as targets for a school. If any one of the 10 subgroups does not meet the target goals, the school will not meet AYP. If this were to occur for more than two consecutive years, schools receiving federal Title I funding (aid for schools in economic need) could face sanctions, such as being required to notify parents of the school’s status, allowing students to transfer to a school that made AYP within the same district, setting aside up to 5% of their Title I funds for transporting students, and/or implementing a 2-year school improvement plan. Furthermore, these sanctions increase in severity every year that a Title I school does not make AYP; thus, Title I schools are under increasing pressure from policy makers to close the achievement gap and to improve the education for all students.

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Medium 9781475824056

Summer Expeditions: A Messaging Content Analysis Through the Critical Race Theory Lens

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: This case study explores a public school district–private college program that has been designed to promote access to higher education for marginalized fifth and sixth graders. Through content analysis and a framework merging critical race theory with critical discourse analysis, we examined how a private college uses public relations to develop trust and communicate with stakeholders about the program and the college’s mission to serve marginalized stakeholders. Based on the findings, recommendations include the need to improve communication between the college and community. Foremost, the college should create future messaging that helps deconstruct the macrostructures that reinforce racism and the marginalization of students. Through public relations training and subsequent awareness, college messages can be sensitized regarding matters of race and racism.

In the summer of 2011, Columbia College promised at-risk, high-potential elementary students participating in the Columbia Public Schools Summer Expeditions program a substantial scholarship if they matriculated to Columbia College, creating in their parents hope and expectations of a brighter future for their children (Taylor, 2014). Columbia Public Schools defines “at risk, high potential” as students who are ethnic minorities and/or qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and do not qualify for the district’s gifted program. The amount of and the qualifications for this scholarship have not been defined as these students become rising 10th graders, yet messaging from the college promoting the program and discussions on the scholarship continue each year. Parents and guardians of these students continue to ask Columbia Public Schools officials about the scholarship’s qualifications, monetary value, and application process (T. Simmons, personal communication, July 11, 2014; Taylor, 2014), and the college has committed to define the scholarship and communicate the definition by the end of calendar year 2014 (Kate-man, 2014). By not doing so breaks a promise made three years ago and further marginalizes an underrepresented group with aspirations of a higher education.

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Medium 9781475823981

School and Community Relations: An Interview With Robert Taft—Distinguished Research Associate at the University of Dayton and Former Governor of Ohio

Relations, Journal of School Public Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: In the past, school and college administrators relied heavily on advice from colleagues, largely because they had an internal orientation toward their work. As the social, political, and economic influence of external forces became more apparent, they learned to value input from a range of stakeholders. Robert Taft, former governor of Ohio, is a person who offers unique perspectives on education and politics; he has an impressive background in both areas. In this interview, Governor Taft shares his convictions about school and community relationships and the importance of those associations to school improvement.

McGuffey: Please begin by briefly sharing your professional background, including a description of your current position.

Taft: Currently, I am the distinguished research associate at the University of Dayton. My academic background includes a BA from Yale University, a MPA from Princeton University, and a JD from the University of Cincinnati. I was a Peace Corps teacher, program officer with USAID in South Vietnam, assistant director of the Illinois Bureau of the Budget, an Ohio state legislator [state representative], a Hamilton County [Ohio] commissioner, and secretary of state and then governor of Ohio.

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