Public education has taken it on the chin in recent years. School districts around the country have been thrown on the defensive by the apparent widespread skepticism about their educational and managerial effectiveness and by the growing number of vociferous critics championing alternative approaches such as charter schools. Despite the impressive educational results being achieved by dedicated teachers in thousands of public school classrooms around the country, the widely held perception that the public educational enterprise is on the decline is living proof of the old adage that good works seldom speak for themselves.
Public school districts that want their educational accomplishments to be recognized and appreciated in their communities have no choice but to become actively, aggressively involved in shaping public perceptions and building positive relationships with key stakeholders like local governments, the business community, and civic associations To turn inward, sitting back passively and circling the proverbial wagons, is a sure-fire strategy for losing the battle for the public’s heart and mind to the highly vocal enemies of public education. Public school districts sorely need ardent, articulate, credible champions to get the message out in communities around the country, and, in that regard, the members of our elected school boards are a rich resource that we can’t afford to ignore.
The Charlottesville (Virginia) City Schools provide a superb example of a district’s taking full advantage of school board members as a rich resource in the external/community/stakeholder relations arena, as School Board Chair Amy Laufer and Superintendent Rosa Atkins tell in this informative new podcast.